Wilk homeless bill passes finance committee

Sen. Scott Wilk

News release 

Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced Thursday that his legislation to add clarity and accountability to California’s efforts to address homelessness has earned bipartisan support and passed unanimously 5-0 out of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance. 

As amended by the committee, Senate Bill 1353 would require local governments to report information on homelessness populations, including all expenditures on homelessness programs, by Jan. 1, 2025. 

“California is clearly doing something wrong,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. “Since 2018, the Newsom administration has allocated $17 billion to tackle a problem that has worsened by 24%. Having more germane data on our homeless populations will allow agencies to effectively target services to programs that work. This will bring much-needed accountability and analysis to our efforts.” 

Among other things, SB 1353 would require information be provided on age, gender, use of services, shelter status, foster youth status, veteran status, criminal justice history, how they came to being homeless, where they resided prior to being homeless, and length of time of being homeless. The California Interagency Council will collect the above information, conduct a data-driven assessment, report to the Legislature and post it to an online dashboard.  

This bill was inspired by the findings and recommendations of two state auditor reports from last year. State audit report 2020-611 found that the state “does not report outcome measures that describe whether its actions were effective in reducing the number of individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.” 

State audit report 2020-112 recommends that the Legislature require the state to “collect and track funding data on all federal and state-funded homelessness programs, including the amount of funding available and expended each year, the types of activities funded, and types of entities that received the funds.” 

SB 1353 is the first bill in the Senate, and Assembly Republicans combined homelessness solutions in a package titled ACT (Accountability, Compassion and Treatment) on Homelessness. 

SB 1353 will be heard later this month in the Senate Committee on Human Services. 

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