What to Know Before You Vote 2018: Proposition 2

A recent study completed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, revealed that California shares 22% of the homeless population, the largest percentage of homeless people in the United States. As of 2017, almost one third of that population suffers from mental illness.

Proposition 63, also known as the Mental Health Services Act, was passed in 2004 which imposed an additional 1% tax on people with an annual income of 1 million or more. The state provided mental health services to those in need with the revenue collected.

Over a decade later, state legislatures are now proposing to use a portion of the revenue from the Mental Health Services Act to fund the newest measure that will combat the correlation between mental illness and homelessness. Proposition 2authorizes the state to use up to $140 billion in bonds to ensure permanent housing for mentally ill homeless through the state's program, No Place Like Home. Governor Jerry Brown enacted the program in 2016, dedicating $2 billion to the development of permanent housing for people in need of mental health services.

Proposition 2 is endorsed by several organizations, including the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation and Mental Health America of California. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is currently the only organization to oppose the proposition stating that California should not take away funds for mental illness treatments to support housing.

According to California’s Department of Housing and Community Development, the program’s sole purpose is to “acquire, design, construct, rehabilitate, or preserve permanent supportive housing for persons who are experiencing homelessness, chronic homelessness or who are at risk of chronic homelessness, and who are in need of mental health services”.

If you are a student suffering from mental illness and housing insecurity the authorization of this bill can affect you. However, Proposition 2 will not affect taxpayers because it is an amendment of Proposition 63.