Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Recommendations of the Governor’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors

Governor’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors at the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. Photo by Carl Castas / Board of Supervisors

Statement by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Recommendations of the Governor’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors, released January, 13, 2020

“I want to thank the Governor for his leadership on this issue. I also want to acknowledge my co-chair, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who has pushed us all to think more compassionately and courageously about how to end homelessness across California. Additional thanks go to the Governor’s staff, especially Mark Ghaly, Jason Elliot and Mark Tollefson, for all that they have done supporting this Council. Finally, thank you to my fellow Council members.

“What you will see today reflects collective action at its best. The latest data shows that more than 150,000 people are homeless in California. In my home region, Los Angeles County, there are almost 60,000 people who are homeless. Without a doubt, we face a crisis. And if we accept that we have a crisis on our hands, then it warrants an urgent and comprehensive crisis response.

“In the Governor’s September 26th letter to this Council, he focused on three areas:

  • ending street homelessness;
  • breaking down barriers to building more housing; and
  • getting more people into treatment.

“The Council’s interim report and 40-point Comprehensive Crisis Response Strategy does this.

“Urgency has driven these recommendations.Organized according to the Governor’s three focus areas, the Comprehensive Crisis Response strategy provides a package of legislative and budgetary actions.

“Here, I want to acknowledge and thank the Governor for his recent budgetary and executive order announcement. They implement many of the recommendations in the Comprehensive Crisis Response Strategy. And his actions reflect a true partnership with the Council over the past five months. Indeed, the Governor is scaling up models we’ve seen piloted in Los Angeles that will now be expanded statewide, for example:

  • LA County’s Flexible Housing Subsidy;
  • LA County’s Office of Diversion and Re-Entry; and
  • LA County’s Whole People Care pilots.

“And today, as a Council, we deliver a complementary roadmap that will:

  • Bring people home by expediting the building of permanent housing and service-enriched interim housing;
  • Capitalize on the use of public land;
  • Keep people housed, once they are housed with flexible subsidies and services;
  • Break the vicious cycle between jails, hospitals and homelessness;
  • Use state mental health and Medi-Cal dollars to better target vulnerable populations.

“These actions will demand the full weight of our collective resources, engagement, and know-how.As leaders of this great state, let’s put our shoulders to the wheel, so that all who reside in California may attain lives of dignity and worth. Thank you.”