Proposition 2 would use funds for mental health to build housing

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) Statewide ballot measure, Proposition 2, amends the Mental Health Services Act to fund the No Place Like Home Program. 

It would allow the state to use up to $140 million per year of county mental health funds to fund housing for those with mental illness who are homeless.

“This is one of many funding streams that go into the capital and the production of supportive housing,” said Gail Gilman, CEO of the Community Housing Partnership.

She is urging voters to vote 'Yes on Prop 2' to help the estimated 134,000 Californians who are homeless. 

“This is one of many funding streams that go into the capital and the production of supportive housing,” said Gilman. 

Currently, the money that Prop 2 proposes to use is from a fund that has already been earmarked for mental health services and are issued to counties around the state. 

“In my opinion doing that approach means that you’re taking treatment dollars away,” said East Bay mental health advocate Gigi Crowder, L.E. “Major types of depressive orders are debilitating and a person must first have the treatment and the skills needed to live independently.”

Crowder is part of the 'Vote No on 2' campaign. 

“Taking a homeless person off the streets and assuming that you can just put them in housing and it solves all their problems. That doesn't make sense.”

Whether a person who is homeless and suffering from mental illness should be given shelter before treatment or after - is a topic of debate among supporters and opponents of Prop 2.

“I really say that’s backwards thinking,” said Gilman. “Folks don’t need to be ready for housing. What folks need to recover from their experience of homelessness, from mental illness and drug addiction is a home.”

Crowder says she’s also concerned about the money that is being taken away from mental health services.

“We get phone calls at the agency I work for from loved who would like to get support for their loved one who might even have their loved one in a space where they want help and sadly the services are not available.”

Gilman counters that claim by saying that 6% of the fund will be used for housing the mentally ill and that other 94% would go to its intended use. 

While Crowder is concerned about accountability when it comes to the use of the money. 

“If we’re going to build this housing. What should the housing look like? What services should go along with it? Who should be a part of planning it.”

Voters will decide the fate of Proposition 2 during the midterm election on Nov. 6th.