SACRAMENTO — Eleven mayors from the largest cities in the state, including Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, gathered Wednesday morning at the state capitol in an effort to address the state’s homeless crisis with new legislation — Assembly Bill 3171.
The bill, formally introduced Wednesday, gives $1.5 billion from California’s budget to finding a solution to the widespread homeless crisis.
Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) expressed concern and frustration, likely felt by many, when it comes to the growing homeless population.
“We’re seeing people sleeping in front of our homes,” said Ting. “I had a homeless person sleep in my car.”
Steinberg heads the group of 11 mayors and said homelessness is every city’s priority.
Last year, the Sacramento mayor cobbled together $108 million for resources for the homeless, including mental health, outreach and a host of strategies to keep people off the streets.
The additional state money funded by the newest assembly bill will boost the mayor’s efforts.
“We have some of the tools, but we need more tools and if we get them we wont cure the problem, but we’ll make it much better,” said Steinberg.
It’s not just big cities that are affected by homelessness, according to the mayor of West Sacramento.
“We’re seeing the impact on our communities both for the individuals who are homeless, but also safety and health for all the other residents as well,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christoper Cabaldon.
The neighboring City of Stockton is no stranger to homelessness either and recently dedicated $300,000 to house those in need.
“Not just Stockton, every city has allocated those dollars to homelessness,” said Michael Tubbs, mayor of Stockton. “A one to one or two to one match from the state will help those dollars go further and impact more people.”
What makes Assembly Bill 3171 feasible is the state’s more than $6 million budget surplus — which will be the target of other projects looking for funding.
Cities say solving the homeless problem should go to the top of the list.
Governor Jerry Brown’s support is key to the proposal.