Newly Adopted State Budget Puts Housing at Forefront

California’s recently adopted budget calls for significant investments to address homelessness and increase housing production, boost mental health services, invest in education and expand health care access. The $214.8 billion budget, the largest in the state’s history, was signed by Gov. Newsom on June 27. Among the budget’s key measures:

HOUSING: The budget includes $2.4 billion to combat the state’s housing crisis, including $650 million in grants to local governments to construct and maintain emergency shelters, $100 million for wrap-around care for at-risk populations, hundreds of millions in funding for cities to update

outdated housing plans, and $500 million to quintuple the size of the state’s affordable housing financing fund. Also included are incentives and penalties designed to push cities and counties to more quickly build homeless shelters, and an additional $20 million will provide legal aid for renters and assist with landlord-tenant disputes.

RELIEF FOR WORKING FAMILIES: More support for poor residents and working families, including a new $1,000 tax refund for low-income working families with children under age six; expansion of paid family leave from six to eight weeks for each parent or caretaker of a newborn child, potentially allowing a child to benefit from as much as four months of paid family leave; and sales tax exemption on menstrual products and diapers.

EDUCATION: More than $100 billion for public schools will fund expansion of daycare and preschool slots, recruiting and retaining qualified educators and facilitating tuition freezes at the UC and CSU, according to the governor’s office. Funding includes $90 million to recruit and retain qualified educators and address California’s teacher shortage, $43.8 million toward training and resources for classroom teachers and paraprofessionals; and a 19.3 percent increase in funding for special education. The budget also increases support for higher education, including increased enrollment slots at both the University of California and California State University systems for the 2019-20 school year, funding two years of free community college tuition for first-time, full-time students, $96.7 million to support the living expenses of student parents with dependent children, who are eligible to receive grants of up to $6,000; and $50 million for child savings accounts for future higher education expenses.

HEALTH COVERAGE & ACCESS: $67 billion toward health coverage protections for Californians designed to reduce costs and increase access, including an expansion of Medi-Cal to low-income young adults ages 19 through 25 regardless of immigration status, increased health coverage subsidies to middle-income Californians to buy health coverage; $1 billion to support increased rates to Medical providers, expanded family planning services and payment structures that encourage more effective treatment of patients with chronic conditions, expanded health services for seniors, and higher Medi-Cal income-eligibility limits for older Americans. Read more

News courtesy of Los Angeles TimesCalMatters.

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