Santiago Launches Fight to Restore Dignity to Californians Experiencing Homelessness
Los Angeles, CA – Today saw the passage of three bills authored by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), aimed at preventing homelessness and boosting disease prevention and mental health services for Californians currently experiencing homelessness. Each of the measures: AB 728, AB 1711, and AB 1275 passed without opposition.
“As chair of the Select Committee on Los Angeles County Homelessness, it is encouraging to see so much support for these commonsense measures,” said Santiago. “As our work to develop housing solutions and provide wraparound services continues, we have a moral responsibility to shore up our public health and fight the root causes of homelessness however we can.”
Current law limits communication between county agencies about populations at a high risk of becoming homeless, making it harder for those agencies to connect at-risk populations with the services they need to keep their homes. AB 728 aims to effectively reduce the growth of homeless populations throughout the state by allowing counties to take a more robust early-intervention and prevention approach to mitigating the causes of homelessness.
Medieval diseases have no place in our modern society, especially when we have the capacity to control outbreaks. Up and down the state, Californians experiencing homelessness have borne the brunt of countless disease outbreaks that pose a significant threat to public health. AB 1711 would require local governments provide free and voluntary disease testing and vaccination within the effected population, clean streets and sidewalks as needed, and develop a systematic plan to reduce the likelihood of future outbreaks. The measure will help keep homeless individuals and families healthy while the state works on increasing permanent supportive housing and wrap-around services.
An outsized segment of California’s homeless population suffers from severe mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders that go largely untreated. In Los Angeles County alone, some 30 percent of the homeless population suffers from a serious mental illness, and in 2017 - over 800 homeless individuals died on the street from illnesses that could have been prevented with targeted outreach. AB 1275 will require certain counties to establish outreach teams tasked with providing services to homeless individuals with a history of mental illness who are unable to secure urgently needed medical care. The measure also allocates $68 million to county public administrator, public guardian, and public conservator programs in each county to improve the quality of services and care for homeless individuals under a conservatorship.
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly’s Communications and Conveyance Committee, and a member of both the Assembly Public Safety Committee and the California Latino Legislative Caucus. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.