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    No Place Like Home Initiative Now Law

    1-MarcyAdelmanGovernor Brown signed into law AB 1618, the “No Place Like Home” initiative. This measure will provide $2 billion dollars to local communities for the construction and rehabilitation of permanent housing with services for homeless individuals with mental illness. (The “Aging in Community” column first reported on the No Place Like Home Initiative February 11, 2016.) Local governments will be provided with the resources to create permanent stable housing and services to help people integrate themselves back into their communities.

    One third of the nation’s chronically homeless population lives in California. There are 28,200 chronically homeless individuals in California. San Francisco accounts for 7,539 homeless people. In San Francisco, LGBTQ people have higher rates of homelessness than heterosexuals. An estimated 15% of the city’s homeless population are LGBTQ, according to the San Francisco Homeless Point in Time Survey, 2015.

    Contrary to the myth that San Francisco’s homeless come from somewhere else, the majority of our city’s homeless individuals—more than two thirds—were living in San Francisco before they became homeless. Many homeless are longtime residents of San Francisco’s LGBTQ communities who lost their jobs, could not continue to pay their rent or mortgage, and who were evicted with no place to go. Vulnerable LGBTQ individuals will benefit directly from this legislation.

    The legislative package spearheaded by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon will provide a systemic solution by providing the following:

    Financing of a safety net program with re-purposing bond money from the Mental Health Services Act to provide a $2 billion bond fund to construct permanent safe housing with wrap around, supportive services for chronically homeless persons with mental illness. Note that the No Place Like Home legislation allocates monies from Proposition 63, the 2004 Mental Health Services Act, which imposes a 1% tax on California residents with million dollar-plus incomes a year to pay back the bond;

    $45 million in the current budget for rent subsidies;

    $22 million in the current budget to create housing programs for homeless families or families at risk for homelessness;

    An increase to Supplemental Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) program grants for poor elders and people living with disabilities;

    A one-time infusion of $45 million in the current budget to assist local governments in expanding outreach to more eligible people to enroll in the SSI/SSP program.

    This legislation is a significant step forward. While it is important to be grateful and acknowledge progress, we also need to keep in our minds and in our hearts that more needs to be done.

    Marcy Adelman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice, is co-founder of the non-profit organization Openhouse and was a leading member of the San Francisco LGBT Aging Policy Task Force.

    LGBT Resources
    for Seniors

    • Openhouse: 415-296-8995 openhouse-sf.org/
    • Family Caregiver
      Alliance: 415-434-3388
      www.caregiver.org
    • Institute on Aging: 415-750-4111, www.ioaging.org/
    • National Resource
      Center on LGBT Aging
      www.lgbtagingcenter.org/
    • Project Open Hand
      San Francisco: Nutrition
      Services, 415-447-2300
      www.openhand.org/
    • SAGE: 212-741-2247
      www.sageusa.org/about/
    • Shanti Project, Inc: HIV Services and Life Threatening Illnesses, 415-674-4700
      www.shanti.org/

    Alzheimer’s Association Programs and Services:

    • 24/7 Helpline: 1-800-272-3900, www.alz.org/norcal/; Online Community: www.alzheimersblog.org/lgbt-forum
    • Memory Clinic, Kaiser
      Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center: 408-530-6900, mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/facilities/region/santaclara/area_master/departments/memoryclinic/index.jsp