Addressing the Homelessness Crisis

As California faces an increasing statewide housing and homelessness crisis, SYASL has been at the forefront of policy and budget discussions to address these issues.

As advocates for two of the state’s largest and most impacted cities, as well as for a suite of other local governments, our firm was integral in securing half a billion dollars to help local governments address homelessness in the 2018-19 State Budget.

Our advocacy was also critical to ensuring the passage of the Building Homes and Jobs Act [SB 2 (Atkins), Chapter 364, Statutes of 2017], which generates hundreds of millions of dollars per year for affordable rental or ownership housing, supportive housing, emergency shelters, transitional housing, and other housing needs.

Our team was a driving force that ensured the passage of the No Place Like Home Program [AB 1618 (Budget), Chapter 43, Statutes of 2016] to dedicate $2 billion in bond funds to invest in permanent supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness who are in need of mental health services.

The success of SB 2 and the No Place Like Home Program provide long-term support, but in 2018, local governments on the frontlines found themselves in need of an immediate infusion of funding to address the growing crisis. And SYASL delivered for our local government clients.

What began as a push by the “Big 11 Mayors,” the coalition of Mayors of the 11 most populous cities in California, resulted in more than $600 million in new funding to address homelessness, focused on planning, prevention, and emergency aid.

SYASL’s lobbying efforts resulted in the allocation of $500 million of the final package in the 2018-19 State Budget for bridge funding to assist local governments in addressing immediate needs. Designated the Homeless Emergency Aid Program, it provides block grant funds to jurisdictions that declare a shelter crisis and commit to local coordination, with some minor exceptions. Of these funds, $350 million is distributed through Continuums of Care and $150 million is distributed directly to cities with populations greater than 330,000.

Our team’s strategy, persistence, and relationships with key decision makers has ensured the infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars in both one-time and ongoing support to help local governments throughout the state address an unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis.