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Senator Wilk’s homelessness program accountability measure clears 2nd hurdle

Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) announced that his legislation to add clarity and accountability to California’s efforts to address homelessness has earned bipartisan support and recently passed 4-0 out of the Senate Committee on Human Services.

“I am pleased to see this measure receive bipartisan support. There seems to be a growing consensus that throwing billions of dollars at California’s homelessness crisis is not the solution,” Wilk said. “The Newsom administrations’ efforts have lacked accountability and transparency, which is one of the reasons the problem continues to grow. My bill will bring more accountability to our efforts and help state agencies direct funding to programs that actually work.”

Senate Bill 1353 would require local governments to report information on homeless populations and all expenditures on homelessness programs from local, state, and federal funding sources, by January 1, 2025. It would require population information to be provided on age, gender, use of services, shelter status, foster youth status, veteran status, criminal justice history, how they came to being homeless, where they resided prior to being homeless, and length of time of being homeless, among others. The California Interagency Council will collect the above information, conduct a data-driven assessment, report to the Legislature and post it to an online dashboard.

This bill was inspired by the findings and recommendations of two state auditor reports from last year.

–State audit report 2020-611 found that the state “does not report outcome measures that describe whether its actions were effective in reducing the number of individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.”
–State audit report 2020-112 recommends that the Legislature require the state to “collect and track funding data on all federal and state-funded homelessness programs, including the amount of funding available and expended each year, the types of activities funded, and types of entities that received the funds.”

SB 1353 is the first bill in the Senate and Assembly Republicans combined homelessness solutions in a package titled ACT on Homelessness. (A) stands for Accountability, (C) for Compassion, and (T) for Treatment. You can view the other proposals here.

SB 1353 will next be referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a hearing next month, which will consider its fiscal impact on the state.

This article was released by the Office of Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk.