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A look at Proposition 1

Posted at 8:51 AM, Feb 07, 2024
  • Prop 1 will fund a $6.38 billion bond for mental health treatment facilities and supportive housing for homeless, including $1 billion for homeless veterans.

In 2004, California passed the Mental Health Services Act, which set aside millions for mental health systems at the county level. Now, Proposition 1 on the March ballot is looking to make changes to how those funds are allocated in favor of addressing homelessness and substance abuse.

Prop 1 will fund a $6.38 billion bond for mental health treatment facilities and supportive housing for homeless, including $1 billion for homeless veterans.

“Any expansion that we can do to support that specific population, we know it continues to be underserved," said Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Director Alison Burrowes.

Burrowes said the department — along with mental health systems across the state — are watching Prop 1 carefully as the new measure looks to move 30% of MHSA funds towards housing.

“It will impact the types of services and the extent of services that we’re able to provide," said Burrowes. "We’re doing a lot of planning right now to see what the impact to our system will be.”

The plan says the measure would reportedly build 11,150 new treatment beds and supportive housing, create 26,700 outpatient treatment slots, as well as recruit and train 65,000 mental health workers.

Burrowes said when it comes to substance use disorder, funding and treatment has always been harder to come by so more money towards addressing substance abuse and homelessness is beneficial to their line of work.

However, they’re still waiting for more information on how these changes will impact current services.

I think it’s important to realize that housing alone is not the only thing these individuals need, they really need to wraparound services to be successful in the housing," Burrowes said.

Opponents of the measure argue its vague, with funding decisions left to be made by the legislature.

Proposition 1 is the only statewide measure on the March 5 ballot county behavioral health directors across the state are working to build the framework the new law would require should it pass.


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