San Francisco Chronicle and Sacramento Bee Support AB 639

Speaker John A. Pérez

Help us by signing the petition at Change.org to show your support for Assembly Bill 639: Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act that easily passed both the California Senate and Assembly: http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-brown-support-ab-639-the-veterans-housing-and-homeless-prevention-act

In case you missed it, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee both wrote recent editorials encouraging Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. to sign the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act authored by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). Assembly Bill 639 will allow California voters to have the opportunity to repurpose existing bond funds to expand housing options for veterans, cost-effectively leverage public dollars and reduce the number of homeless veterans, putting California at the forefront of our nation’s efforts to end veteran homelessness by 2015.

In an editorial by the Sacramento Bee “Give voters a chance to help homeless veterans” published on Thursday, September 19, the Bee writes that homeless veterans “need all the help they can get” when it comes to having access of affordable housing options:

“Gov. Jerry Brown can take a crucial step in that direction by signing Assembly Bill 639, which would let voters decide next June whether to redirect bond money to build affordable housing for homeless and low-income veterans.

An estimated 19,000 veterans in California are homeless, about one-fourth of the country’s entire homeless vet population. There’s also a danger that the number could grow as the military demobilizes with the end of the Afghanistan war….

The most recent source of home loan money is Proposition 12, approved by voters in 2008 to authorize $900 million in bonds. Because so few loans have been taken out, none of those bonds have been issued. Another $230 million in bonding authority is left over from a similar 2000 ballot measure.

Under AB 639, authored by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, $600million of the Prop. 12 bonding authority would be shifted to help build apartments and transitional housing for vets – if voters give their consent.”

San Francisco Chronicle also calls for the Governor to sign AB 639 in their editorial “Welcome our vets home” published on Sunday, September 22. They state that Proposition 12, which was passed by voters in 2008 to allocate $900 million in bonds for veterans, was too narrow to properly serve our veterans:

“As our overseas operations wind down, what many of these vets need is access to multifamily housing they can afford and to units equipped with community support services such as mental health counseling, substance-abuse treatment and help with physical injuries.

The most significant state bill designed to help homeless veterans, AB 639, was pushed by Assembly Speaker John Pérez, who has been visiting hospitalized service personnel recently. The bill would fill in the gaps left by the original ballot measure.

The bill is on the governor’s desk. Approval in both houses of the Legislature was almost unanimous. For reasons that should be obvious, the governor should sign it. Vets who served us and returned home to find that civilian life doesn’t necessarily guarantee a place to live deserve a better welcome.”

In addition to the Chronicle and the Bee, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial as well last week encouraging the Governor to sign the Act.

More than $1 billion of voter-approved funds has been put aside for single family homes and farms, while the need for multifamily, transitional and supportive housing has greatly increased. AB 639 expands on proven and cost-effective supportive 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).

View the full San Francisco Chronicle editorial here:

http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/Veterans-housing-plan-needs-renovation-4830970.php

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker


Source: Press release from Speaker John Perez, September 24, 2013

Feature image from asmdc.org