Newsom, firefighters back Prop. 1 to tackle homelessness, mental health crisis

ByLeticia Juarez KABC logo
Thursday, January 4, 2024
Prop. 1 on March ballot aims to tackle homelessness, mental health
Proposition 1 on California's March ballot calls for a $6.38 billion bond to tackle the homelessness and mental health crises.

LOS ANGELES -- This March, California voters will get to determine how money will be spent addressing the state's homeless and mental health crisis under Proposition 1.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom and other local leaders came together to rally support for the ballot measure dubbed "Treatment not Tents."

"The reforms in Prop. 1 will expand access to care for hundreds of thousands of Californians, fund substance abuse treatment, and help set those suffering from mental health crisis off the streets and into care," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis.

If passed, Prop. 1 aims to overhaul the state's mental health system, refocusing existing money on housing along with services for people who are chronically homeless and mentally ill. In addition, those dealing with alcohol and drug abuse will have access to services.

"We're reforming the Mental Health Services Act of 2004 to reconcile the fact that in 2004, it never envisioned housing. And it never envisioned substance abuse as an eligible use for the Mental Health Services Act money," Newsom said.

The proposition calls for a $6.38 billion bond to build 11,150 new treatment beds and supportive housing, create 26,700 outpatient treatment slots, and set aside $1 billion for veteran housing along with recruiting and training of 65,000 mental health workers.

Fire and law enforcement personnel are also throwing their support behind the measure.

Both are on the frontline of the mental health crisis.

"When you see people in the street, they're covered in urine or covered in feces, and they're dirty and they're pacing and they're talking or screaming at each other, at anybody ... what you are witnessing is human pain and suffering. That's why firefighters are all in. We can't keep doing this," said Brian Rice with the California Professional Firefighters Association.

Prop. 1 will be on the March 5 primary election ballot.