Counties Deliver Unified Message on Homelessness Crisis
February 5, 2020
CSAC and numerous county associations have formed a coalition to send a clear, unified message on homelessness to the Governor and legislative leaders: innovative policy changes are required to make substantial, immediate, and sustainable progress to reduce homelessness. CSAC and partner organizations are taking a lead role with the state, cities, and other key stakeholders to develop workable solutions to address this critical issue.
“Homelessness is the most pressing issue facing many communities in California,” said CSAC President and Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. “Counties commit to making significant improvements in the lives of the most vulnerable Californians through shared responsibilities and collaboration among federal, state and local government.”
A letter sent to the Governor and legislative leaders by the coalition reinforces that counties are committed to playing a vital role in discussions regarding the responsibilities, tools, and resources that will be needed to address homelessness. Counties also want to ensure that there is explicit clarification on the roles and responsibilities of the state, counties and cities. If counties are to receive new responsibilities, they must come with sufficient and protected funding, as well as the local authority and flexibility to implement solutions that fit each community.
“This is the year to make substantial progress by building and stretching beyond what’s already working in our communities,” said CSAC Executive Director Graham Knaus. “There are strong public expectations for all levels of government to address street homelessness. We must ensure there are clearly defined responsibilities for the state, cities and counties in order to deliver results.”
Counties are already on the front lines of providing vital services to homeless individuals or those at risk of losing housing. But they cannot solve this crisis alone; it cannot be done with current available funding and progress is dependent on shared responsibilities that include the state and cities. This coalition letter builds upon CSAC’s initial response to the recommendations from the Governor’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors (Council). CSAC’s Officers and Executive Committee have declared addressing homelessness as the top priority for the association in 2020.
Over the coming weeks and months, the Legislature will hold budget hearings to evaluate proposals from the Governor, the Council, and other stakeholders. Counties are developing a comprehensive set of proposals and policy changes that build on what is working, encourage innovative solutions, and bridge to the Governor’s and Council’s recommendations. With the leadership and guidance of CSAC’s Officers, Executive Committee and Board, CSAC staff will work closely with the Administration, the Legislature and other stakeholders throughout the year.