What Others Are Saying About the “No Place Like Home” Initiative

To assist local communities in preventing and addressing homelessness, a bipartisan coalition of members from the California State Senate have introduced a strategic and first-of-its kind “No Place like Home” initiative at press conferences on Monday both at The Star Apartments on Skid Row in Los Angeles and at Mercy Housing in Sacramento. This unprecedented policy framework amounting to over $2 billion in support builds on years of research and best practices and is guided by the core belief that no individual or family in California should ever experience the uncertainty and pain of living without a home. Background Information

What Others Are Saying:

Jan Masaoka, CEO, CalNonprofits

"As homelessness has increased in every corner of the state, nonprofit organizations have been on the front lines providing basic needs for people who are homeless and to help prevent people from becoming homeless - operating shelters, mental health clinics, food pantries and much more. Reducing homelessness not only helps these individuals, but it betters the lives of everyone in the communities that nonprofits serve. We know we can’t do it alone and that’s why the California Association of Nonprofits supports this initiative. It’s time to act together to ensure that all Californians have a place to call home."




Leron Gubler, President & CEO, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce: 

"We applaud the Senate for this effort to be proactive in addressing homeless issues. Our Chamber has long been supportive of permanent supportive housing for the homeless, which has a proven track record of successfully helping homeless individuals get off the street.  The State funds will be helpful in providing this needed housing here in Los Angeles."




Senate Minority Leader Emeritus Bob Huff (R-San Dimas):

“Announcing a major effort like this in front of The Star Apartments on Skid Row in Los Angeles should demonstrate the depth of this problem and the resolve of lawmakers to address it with innovative strategies that haven’t been pursued as strongly in the past. It’s a travesty that a state as rich as California, with the 8th largest economy in the world, is also home to the nation’s largest homeless population. 114,000 men, women and children are homeless in California. Los Angeles County has earned the dubious reputation as the nation’s homeless capital, with nearly 42,000 homeless residents.”


Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco:

“San Francisco shares a commitment to do everything within our power to address the growing crisis of homelessness and housing affordability in our communities. Without a doubt San Francisco has changed many lives for the better, pioneering models of care like the Navigation Center that provides every service needed in one place, and we are setting a goal of helping at least 8,000 people off our streets in the next four years. We are grateful for the level of support we have received from our Federal and State partners who understand the urgency of this issue. We are grateful for the leadership and support of Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León and our State leaders for a housing-first model in California that aligns with proven successful strategies that will get people off the streets, breaking the cycle of poverty and getting them into housing and services they deserve. All of us are called upon to do more to his homeless crisis, and San Francisco joins the rest of the State to help overcome the growing challenge of homelessness together with compassion and care.”


Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles District Attorney:

“I believe that we must do a better job of helping people who live with a serious mental illness. I support the efforts of the Steinberg Institute to create permanent supportive housing. Permanent supportive housing has proven to be a cost effective method of reducing recidivism rates for those who routinely receive treatment within the confines of jails or prison.”




Maggie Merritt, Executive Director, Steinberg Institute:

“The Steinberg Institute is proud to partner with Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon and the ever growing, bi-partisan group of legislative leaders that are joining forces in support of the boldest proposal addressing homelessness in a generation, if not longer.  The message is clear.  This social condition called chronic homelessness does not have to be our reality.  We no longer have to be numb and shrug our shoulders and say there is nothing that we can do.  By using a small percentage of existing MHSA funds in a legal, dynamic and creative way, we are able to create $2 billion dollars that can be leveraged to create $10 billion or more for permanent supportive housing.  We know what works and it's far past time we make this a priority.  This is California's opportunity to ensure that the most vulnerable among us receive the care and support they need.”


Rusty Selix, Executive Director California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies and Mental Health America of California & Co-Author of Proposition 63 (2004) - The Mental Health Services Act: 

"As co-author of the Mental Health Services Act (prop 63), it was our intent to ensure that people who live with mental illness receive the care they need. In our view, that includes housing. It's very difficult to deliver care to the most vulnerable citizens of our state when they live on the street. I applaud The Steinberg Institute and Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León's effort."




Karen Larsen, Branch Director Adult & Aging Services for Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency:

“As the Mental Health Director for Yolo County, I wholeheartedly support this effort. Permanent Supportive Housing allows people with mental illness to obtain and maintain independent housing in their community, while simultaneously receiving flexible services targeted towards their individual needs. We are grateful for the Steinberg Institute and Pro Tem De León’s push toward a statewide initiative to increase PSH options for persons living with mental illness.  This is the first statewide initiative of its kind and Steinberg and De León should be commended for their commitment to improving the lives of millions of California’s most vulnerable citizens.  Our partners throughout the state in health care, law enforcement and other sectors should take note of this initiative and consider similar movements.  Homelessness results in exorbitant costs to society nationwide and unimaginable human suffering. This initiative is not a political one, so much as a human rights issue.”


Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles:

“Solving our homelessness crisis requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and financial support from the state is essential to getting people off the street and into homes. I know that our partners in the Legislature — under the exceptional leadership of Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León — understand the urgency of this issue, and we are grateful for their support of an expansive housing-first model that aligns with strategies that we know are the most effective at getting people out of cycles of poverty and despair. The sooner we house our most vulnerable population, the faster we can ensure better opportunities and a more stable future for all Angelenos."




Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento):

"The homeless suffering from mental illnesses on our streets could be our friend, our parent, or our neighbor. By opening up more doors to permanent housing for the mentally ill, we open up access to essential support services that can improve outcomes for patients and their families. This initiative to increase funding for permanent supportive housing in California is an important step forward in our overall efforts to help patients at whatever stage they are in their mental illness."




Ruth Schwartz, Executive Director, Shelter Partnership, Inc.:

“Senator Pro Tem Kevin de León's "No Place Like Home Initiative" is the most ambitious effort in California's 30-year history of addressing homelessness among persons with mental illness by providing significant funding for the evidenced based approach---permanent supportive housing using the Housing First approach. We applaud him for his leadership.”





Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Budget Chair:

“Our nation’s looming income inequality crisis knows no boundaries. From San Francisco to Los Angeles, the lack of access to affordable housing, in the worst case scenarios, has forced everyday people into shelters and onto the streets. The situation has only been exacerbated by the state’s inability to restore funding to social services programs that aid homeless and unemployed people who are disabled or need mental health assistance. We cannot possibly cure this epidemic with one legislative proposal, but we can make a dent in the problem, and that alone could significantly and positively change the lives of numerous Californians.”


Al Rowlett, LCSW, MBA, CPRP, Chief Executive Officer, Turning Point Community Programs:

“I enthusiastically support the efforts of the Steinberg institute and Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León's proposal to utilize revenues generated by the Mental Health Services Act to leverage a 2 billion dollar revenue bond for permanent supportive housing. Recent surveys point to an increase in the State's homeless population and a serious shortage of permanent housing options, particularly for those individuals with mental illness and alcohol/drug dependency. The bond offers renewed hope towards the effort to eliminate homelessness in California.”




Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles):

“Homelessness is one of the most devastating forms that poverty takes – but eliminating rather than trying to make it tolerable, is what decency demands of us. We can’t continue to stand by and watch while Black and Brown women raise children in poverty. Utah’s Housing First formula offers an example of success in housing the homelessness from which we can learn."




Sharon Rapport, Associate Director, California Policy, Corporation for Supportive Housing:

“Steinberg and De León’s bold action embraces a housing intervention we know works for parents and their children, for people with disabilities, and for people experiencing long-term homelessness: supportive housing. This budget package will end homelessness for hundreds of families and reunite children now in foster care with their parents. Through our Keeping Families Together supportive housing initiative—the basis for the Bringing Families Home pilot Senator De León is promoting—CSH has demonstrated how housing and vital supports for families improve the health, education and safety of children who could otherwise face instability in the child welfare system. On the whole, the proposal will go a long way toward ending the cycle of despair for Californians who struggle with chronic and mental illnesses and have experienced homelessness for long periods. Supportive housing is a proven solution to homelessness and is advancing the resources we need to address the housing-homelessness crisis in California.”


Mike Herald, Legislative Advocate, Western Center on Law and Poverty:

“Homelessness has reached epidemic proportions in California. It is appalling that tens of thousands of Californians with mental illness, veterans, and poor families do not have housing in our state. We applaud Pro Tem De León for starting off the new year with a package of proposals to address this crisis. We encourage the Governor and the Legislature to enact concrete policies to address homelessness and poverty as soon as possible. The time to act is now.”



Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose):

“The ‘No Place Like Home’’ initiative makes sense.  Many of the chronically homeless suffer from mental illness and require the safe familiarity of a home to stabilize their lives. It is far more humane – and fiscally prudent – to invest in Californians’ lives than condemning them to jail cells or perpetually cycling them in and out of emergency rooms.’’




Frank Mecca, Executive Director, County Welfare Directors Association of California:

“Prioritizing families who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness is crucial to fighting poverty in our communities and bringing economic stability to all Californians. We are excited that the Senate is proposing these needed investments to tackle homelessness, particularly in the CalWORKs Housing Support Program and Bringing Families Home – two programs focused on ensuring children and their families have a safe place to sleep each night.”



Kerry Morrison, Executive Director, Hollywood Property Owners Alliance & Commission, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority: 

“Out of crisis comes opportunity, and I applaud State Senator Kevin DeLeon and the Steinberg Institute for advancing both the funding and the right ideas for this time.  I am heartened to see our state leadership stepping forward at the same time our local government officials are coming together in an unprecedented collaboration.  Saying “no more!” to people living on the street is not a political issue, it is a moral issue and this is the type of action we look for in our elected leaders. The situation we face in Hollywood today is unlike anything we’ve experienced in 20 years and we have been particularly challenged trying to assist those who are homeless and suffer from severe mental illness.  The policy changes associated with the dismantling of our nation’s mental health systems have relegated our neighbors suffering from mental illness to prison, jail or the streets.  This is the time to reverse that trend and this bold package gives me hope.”


Jack Hadjinian, Mayor of Montebello:

“Homelessness affects all of the eighty-eight cities in Los Angeles County and I appreciate the State Legislature for taking the leadership to address this problem for all of Californians. As one of the strongest economies in the world, we should have the ability to shelter our men, women and children that are homeless.”





Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys):

“As chair of the Senate tax committee, this plan is innovative tax policy. Instead of just raising new taxes, the plan appropriately borrows against existing tax revenues, which both provides important work for construction workers, as well as critical housing necessary for the mentally ill homeless.  Studies show that finding housing for someone who is mentally ill in most instances is an effective gateway to better medical care, employment and stability. It is just common sense.”



Chauncee Smith, Legislative Advocate for the ACLU of California, Center for Advocacy & Policy:

“By investing in permanent supportive housing, the state would make significant strides in prioritizing human dignity and treatment for Californians suffering from debilitating mental illnesses, chronic homelessness and over-criminalization. Providing shelter and treatment to those who need it could also help us avoid the often-deadly interactions between law enforcement and people suffering mental or emotional crises – particularly people of color, who frequently bear the brunt of police violence and harassment when they have no other option but to sleep outdoors.”



John J. Bauters, policy director for Californians for Safety and Justice:

“Housing and public safety are inextricably linked. Advocates for public safety understand that stable housing is critical for reducing recidivism and improving community health, and the "No Place Like Home" initiative takes an important step toward achieving both."




Jennifer Loving, Executive Director for Destination: Home (destinationhomescc.org):

“No Place Like Home is a tremendous opportunity to end the suffering of our state’s most vulnerable homeless men and women. Ending homelessness not only alleviates suffering for the individual on the streets, but will lessen the strain on our public safety net system and our communities.  Since the disbanding of RDA, the state has largely been silent on this issue, while the number of people experiencing homelessness continues to grow. It’s way past time for the state to partner with the many counties in our state who are working tirelessly to end homelessness.  We applaud Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León’s commitment to championing this issue.”


Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland):

“As chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety and longtime Bay Area resident, I’ve seen firsthand how homelessness hurts the economy, dilutes public health and impacts public safety. Chronic homelessness, especially among the mentally ill homeless, impacts families, neighborhoods and the whole community. This first-of-its kind initiative, announced today, is a creative approach that will be key to helping prevent and address homelessness by providing jobs and decent housing to those who need help the most.”




Andrew Cheyne, Policy Director, California Association of Food Banks:

“We are thrilled to see the Senate’s leadership on tackling California’s housing and homelessness crisis includes the critical steps of addressing low grant levels as well as our low participation rate. Because of cuts to SSP grants in California we know that the more than 1 million recipients are at greater risk of hunger and homelessness and we look forward to working with the Senate to prioritize this issue in the upcoming budget.”




Ardy Kassakhian, Glendale City Clerk, City of Glendale:

“Homelessness is a crisis that affects every community across our state.  It affects men and women, individuals and families, the young and the elderly and it is something we should not have to accept as "the norm."  Because this affects us all, it makes sense that we have a statewide solution to this problem and I applaud our State Senate leadership for spearheading a comprehensive solution to this humanitarian crisis.  Let this be our collective New Year's resolution to have no Californian without a roof over their head and place to call home.”



Patti Berman, President of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council:

"I want to sincerely thank Senator Pro Tem Kevin de León for taking on the elephant in the room. As a 16 year resident of a Skid Row adjacent neighborhood and President of the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council for seven years, I know what a daunting issue Homelessness is. It is only with the leadership and forward thinking of people like Senator De León that we have a chance to help those in need and provide a cleaner, safer environment for all."


Shamus Roller, Executive Director of Housing California:

“It’s going to take bold policy decisions to solve California’s homelessness crisis. Other cities in the U.S. are declaring success, drastically reducing veteran and chronic homelessness, meanwhile Los Angeles has seen such an increase, that it has declared a state of emergency on homelessness. It is time that homelessness and mental illness are top priorities in the Legislature. As the state’s policy experts on housing affordability and homelessness, Housing California supports “No Place Like Home.” This initiative will mean the difference between life and death for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities -- people with mental illness who are living on the street. The state has a crucial role in protecting and caring for these people. “No Place Like Home” puts us on the right track and reinforces what we know, that homelessness is a solvable problem.”


Shahera Hyatt, MSW, Director of the California Homeless Youth Project, California Research Bureau, California State Library:

"As someone conducting research and informing statewide policy on homelessness in California, I’m incredibly pleased to see such a coalescing of legislative leadership to respond to the crisis of homelessness in our state through the targeted allocation of Prop 63 funding. While the plan focuses largely on chronically homeless adults experiencing serious mental health issues, it’s important to remember the diversity within the homeless community, and ensure that solutions are developmentally appropriate for youth and young adults too. A 2011 report by the California Homeless Youth Project found that 2/3rds of California’s counties had no programs specifically designed to meet the needs of homeless youth. With no new state investment, it’s likely that those figures are about the same, while the number of youth experiencing homelessness has increased. California public schools counted 300,000 homeless students at some point during the 2014-15 school year – more than any other state in the country. We need to respond in a thoughtful, strategic way, and I hope that the Senate plans to enlist the support of youth advocates in these efforts."


Mike Alvidrez, CEO, Skid Row Housing Trust:

“The Board and staff of Skid Row Housing Trust are inspired by this major effort by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, former Senate Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg, and a bi-partisan coalition of California legislators to find new resources to prevent and end homelessness by helping individuals struggling with mental illness to secure the housing and supportive services they need to stabilize their lives. As one of the largest providers of permanent supportive housing in Southern California, Skid Row Housing Trust relies on local, state and federal support to serve thousands of formerly homeless and low-income adults in Los Angeles each year. By successfully accessing housing as a first step to achieving wellness, our residents break their cycles of homelessness, reduce their rates of emergency room visits and other costly crisis services, and are able to address their mental illnesses and addictions – outcomes that save lives and save public systems millions of dollars. We are therefore honored to support the No Place Like Home Initiative.”



Letters of Support for "No Place Like Home" Proposal