We seek your support for AB 639, the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act, authored by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. This legislation is slated for a vote in the Senate this week.
California is home to almost 2 million veterans -- more than any other state in the nation. Unfortunately, California also leads the nation in the number of homeless veterans—approximately 19,000, with some estimates reaching as high as 50,000. Twenty five percent of homeless veterans in the nation reside in the state.
To address this issue, California voters approved Proposition 12, a $900 million bond in 2008 to fund the Veterans Farm and Home Loan Program. Most of the money has not been spent in part because the funding is restricted to the purchase of single-family homes, farms and mobile homes.
Assembly Bill 639 allows for a portion of the existing funds for veteran housing to be spent on multi-family and supportive housing. Restructuring the use of these funds will better respond to the housing needs and changing demographics of the current California veteran population. It will focus on housing for veterans who are homeless, at risk for homelessness, and in need of services such as mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, job training, and/or struggling with physical injuries and unemployment.
The Act will expand on proven cost-effective housing and service models that will reduce veterans’ homelessness, leverage public and private dollars, and decrease other public costs (e.g. health care and incarceration expenditures). We ask that you show your support and ask Governor Jerry Brown to expand the use of the funds for veteran housing needs.