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    New State Budget Helps LGBTQ Community

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting–

    State budgets are statements of our priorities and provide a framework for us to strengthen and uplift our communities. They are the most powerful tool California has to ensure that economic prosperity and social justice are shared by all people.

    With decisions from Washington, D.C., constantly threatening our California values, I’m proud that this year’s new $200 billion state budget, just signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, prioritizes progressive investments. As Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I fought to ensure that our revenues address our homeless crisis, invest in our youth and help families in poverty.

    Working with a team of California’s mayors, we were able to secure $500 million for the Homeless Emergency Aid grant program to provide shelters, services and supportive housing. San Francisco will be eligible for almost $28 million. This critical funding will go a long way in helping people to get off of the streets faster, including the 30% of our homeless population identifying as LGBTQ.

    We also heard from community organizations, like Larkin Street Youth Services, urging that emergency grant funding be set aside to meet the unique needs of homeless youth. On any given night, more than 1,300 youth in San Francisco don’t have a safe place to call home, with studies showing LGBTQ young people are 120% more likely to become homeless than their straight peers. Our budget requires that at least 5% of emergency grants be dedicated toward homeless youth.

    Additionally, universal health care access remains one of our top priorities. Towards that goal, we invested nearly $10 million in HIV prevention programs and other health initiatives intended to keep drug costs down. This funding will boost eligibility for PrEP and PEP assistance programs and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (known as ADAP), while staffing up those programs to handle the new enrollment.

    Lastly, I’m proud to have worked with Senator Scott Wiener to secure $250,000 for a proposed Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture in San Francisco. The museum’s vision is to have a 35,000 square-foot space that incorporates exhibits, events, retail and dining. The GLBT Historical Society is championing the project and says it would be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. For far too long, the stories of the LGBTQ community have remained unknown or marginalized. This museum would be a destination where those stories could reclaim their rightful place in history.

    I’m excited about the progress made in this year’s state budget. As we begin work on next year’s proposals, I look forward to hearing from you about how we can keep building a more equitable California.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.