What is Prop. 1? Explaining California's ballot measure to tackle homelessness, mental health crisis

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Friday, February 2, 2024
California Prop. 1 explained - what you need to know
The ballot measure would authorize more than $6 billion in bonds for mental health care and substance abuse treatment. It would also provide housing for the homeless.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Proposition 1 is the only statewide measure on the ballot in March. It proposes treatment facilities for those with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is featured in a new ad stressing it helps veterans.

The plan says it would build 11,150 new treatment beds and supportive housing, create 26,700 outpatient treatment slots and set aside $1 billion for veteran housing. It would also recruit and train 65,000 mental health workers.

Proponents say it could take the assistance directly to those who need it.

"That funding prioritizes outreach and engagement for people to go out and to provide the support and give them the support and help that they need - stigma reduction and prevention, getting into the school system, changing the narrative so that this is something we all are doing together," says Erin Ryan of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Westside Los Angeles.

To do all this the state would issue nearly $6.4 billion in new bonds. The proposition doesn't indicate exactly where the money will go. The legislature would decide.

"The voters have to look at the track record of the state of California on these bonds, across the board, and realize that the state of California, the legislature, under Democratic control and the governor are not responsible with these funds," State Sen. Brian Jones from San Diego said.

Proponents say there is a shortage of about 8,000 in-patient adult treatment beds and more than 171,000 Californians live on the streets - 6% of those are veterans.

"It provides additional resources for housing, including both community and acute care settings. That addresses the unique challenges also faced by our veteran community," Ryan said.

Prop. 1 would also move about $140 million from counties to the state. Some providers of mental health care say losing money at the local level could mean they would be forced to offer fewer services.

"One of the things that housing providers and people trying to find housing have advocated for years is to get more supportive services to help keep people in housing, and there's nothing with Prop. 1 that does that," said Jason Robison from the Self Help and Recovery Exchange.

Ballots are scheduled to be sent out next week. Election Day is March 5.