No on Prop. 1
Proposition 1, which is labeled as a way “To Build Mental Health Treatment Facilities for those with Mental Health and Substance Use Challenges: Provides Housing for the Homeless,” starts on page 10 in the Primary Election Voters guide and concludes on page 105. If you were to read the pages and pages of what it entails, you might give up and just vote for the suggested idea that this will get the homeless of the streets by building mental health treatment facilities.
But once again the label is tricky, focus on the cost. The amount borrowed will be $6.4 billion, the average repayment cost over 30 years will be $310 million annually. It changes the Mental Health Services Act that voters passed in 2004 with a focus on how the money can be used.
Prop. 1 has been called another version of Project Roomkey (housing in hotels) and L.A. City’s Measure HHH (building apartments), because it supports the “housing first” concept. Although well meaning, Roomkey and HHH have done little to alleviate the large number of homeless on the streets.
If Prop. 1 passes, it promises 4,350 housing units will be built. It supposedly will also accommodate an additional 6,800 people for mental health/drug issues. The cost? It will add $6.38 billion to the state’s $80 billion bond debt (California’s homeless population as of January 2022 was 171,500.)
The measure will require counties to spend their mental health funds on housing programs. Counties will also forfeit federal matching funds for health care because the money would be spent on housing.
Prop. 1 does not provide mental health help nor substance abuse treatment.
Who is joining Newsom in supporting this proposition? Building and construction trades, California Correctional Peace Officers, and the Kaiser Foundation.
(Editor’s note: Why would Correctional officers support this? Maybe because they just signed an agreement, negotiated with Newsom’s administration, that is expected to cost more than $1 billion over three years, according to an August 2023 CalMatters story. Basically Newsom helps them, they help him.)