Gov. Gavin Newsom To Spend Nearly $1 Billion On Housing For Homeless With Drug Addictions, Mental Illness

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced this week the availability of the first tranche of $907 million in funding for the Behavioral Health Bridge Housing (BHBH) Program to provide short and mid-term residential options for homeless Californians with drug addiction and serious mental illness.

The funding, provided by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is part of a $1.5 billion funding to county behavioral health agencies and Tribal entities to operate bridge housing through June 30, 2027.

DHCS Director Michelle Baass said “Housing and treatment are necessary first steps on a journey toward sustained recovery and stability.”

The program assists with ”bridge” housing in the form of tiny homes, rental assistance, interim housing and assisted living settings and the supportive services to manage symptoms of serious behavioral health conditions, recovery and wellness. All bridge housing is required to encourage participants to obtain and retain housing.

California Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly stated, “This flexible program will allow for the creation of new, deeply supportive housing settings that will help Californians who are struggling the most to find safety, stability, and a path to longer term housing stability and recovery.”

Other payouts will include $50 million to Tribal Entities in late Spring of 2023, and two tranches of $250 million each in late summer of 2023, and fiscal year 2024-25 to be paid out to Behavioral Health Agencies and Tribal entities.

Applications to operate a BHBH Program requires that 75% of funding be used for housing with 25% allotted for administration, outreach, and engagement and bridge housing start-up infrastructure, and must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. PT on April 28, 2023.

“California accounted for half of all unsheltered people in the country (115,491 people). This is more than nine times the number of unsheltered people in the state with the next highest number, Washington,” a point-in-time estimate revealed. “California also had the highest rate of homelessness, with 44 people experiencing homelessness out of every 10,000 people in the state.”

“Along with treatment and supportive services, access to a safe and reliable place to live is a basic necessity. My Administration continues to work tirelessly to ensure that more Californians have the support they need to get out of and stay out of homelessness,” Newsom stated.