Sen. Scott Wilk’s measure to bolster California’s efforts on homelessness cleared the Assembly Housing and Community Development committee Wednesday, Wilk’s office announced.
Senate Bill 792, if passed, would strengthen the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council, which was created in 2016 to coordinate the state’s approach to homelessness but was never allocated the funding necessary to hire staff or accomplish its intended purpose.
Wilk’s funding request will pay for itself as the council is able to help local agencies get more organized and receive additional funding from the federal government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
“The state has been very lax in helping to address homelessness, so I’m very proud of Wilk for introducing SB 792, which will, if passed, allow local government to be able to address, homelessness as well,” said Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean, a member of the homeless ad hoc committee of the Santa Clarita City Council.
The measure stems from a report by California State Auditor Elaine Howle, who, at the request of Wilk and Assemblyman Tom Lackey, investigated California’s efforts to solve the homeless problem and found inadequacies detailed in the report.
“The auditor outlined glaring deficiencies in California’s approach to homelessness,” said Wilk in a prepared statement. “This bill will begin to correct some of those issues and steer our state in a better direction in addressing our homeless crisis. We cannot just give lip service to this issue. California needs to do something to help the homeless and our communities struggling to address this growing problem.”
Among Howle’s recommendations was that the state’s homeless council be funded fully. Wilk’s request for funding earlier this year was included in the state budget. The auditor’s next recommendation was for the Legislature to require the council “to develop and implement a statewide strategic plan for addressing homelessness in California, including goals and objectives and timelines for achieving them, and metrics for measuring their achievements.”
SB 792 fully implements that recommendation. The bill will now go to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a hearing in August.