Wilk takes step to fund California council for homelessness

Scott Wilk. Dan Watson/The Signal

State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, announced a move to fully fund the California Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council on Monday.

Wilk submitted a formal request to the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review requesting $750,000 to fund full-time staff for the council, which currently has no staff. It will be heard by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review on May 10.

The request comes on the heels of a report released last week by the California State Auditor who, under Wilk’s direction, investigated California’s efforts to solve the homeless problem.

There had not been significant action or funding, the report said.

It concluded that the state should increase its efforts to better address homelessness and better review applications to provide homeless services.

“California must do more than pay lip service to solving our state’s homeless crisis and we cannot sincerely say to the people we are doing that if we allocate no money to the very council charged with that task,” Wilk said.

The Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council was created in 2016 to coordinate the state’s approach to homelessness, but has not been allocated funding. Wilk said the request for allocation will benefit the state and ultimately pay for itself as the Council is able to help local agencies get more organized and receive additional funding from the federal government through its Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Based on 2017 information from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, California leads the nation with both the highest number of people experiencing homelessness—about 134,000, or 24 percent of the nation’s total—and the highest proportion of unsheltered homeless persons (68 percent) of any state.

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