Thank you for your recent communication about homelessness. I understand that you would like to see a Homeless Bill of Rights passed in California. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
In 2011, I voted in favor of AB 312 (Lowenthal), which had similar provisions to what you are suggesting. Governor Brown vetoed the bill on August 5, 2011, stating that existing California laws had sufficient protection for the homeless community. In my many years of public service I have strongly supported programs and services for the homeless. You may or may not be aware, but more than 20 percent of homeless people suffer from mental health difficulties. The first bill that I introduced in the Legislature, and which I am most proud of, was AB 34, which instituted programs for the mentally ill homeless. It eventually lead to Proposition 63, a landmark statewide initiative, to increase mental health community- based services. Proposition 63, approved several years ago voters, brings in approximately $55 million each year to California’s coffers. Treating the mentally ill with appropriate services, including housing, will go a long way to decreasing the number of homeless people who walk the streets in Sacramento and across the state. I have in the past and will continue in the future to work with our locally elected leaders to help solve Sacramento’s, and California’s, homeless difficulties.
Thank you for your compassionate and thoughtful concern about California’s homeless population. You may wish to research other bills on this subject online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html . While you are online, please check out my website, www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg, to learn of community events and other issues in which I am involved.
Please continue to express your views to me so I may best represent you in the state Senate. If you need my assistance or have concerns about any other matter, please do not hesitate to call my office at (916) 651-1529, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
President pro Tempore
6th Senate District