Jan 5, 2016 5:22 PM by David McVicker
California is home to 20 percent of the nation's homeless population. Some state senators are now proposing to a bond that would allot more than two-billion dollars on permanent housing for those unfortunate individuals.
Brad Montgomery, Executive Director of the Torres Community Shelter in Chico, said he is optimistic of what the bond would be able to do for the homeless population.
“I am pleased that they are recognizing program supported housing is one of the image models we really need,” he said. “It can help a lot of people from living on the street to living stably”
Montgomery applauds state legislators wanting to pump two billion dollars into permanent subsidized housing for the state's homeless. The problem, according to Montgomery, the bond money would be repaid with funds collected through Proposition 63, a one percent tax on incomes over a million dollars that are designed to go toward mental health services, something many homeless are in dire need.
“If we're cutting the mental health services in order to pay for housing,” he said, “what is the end result? Somebody who is in a house who doesn't have the mental health services they need to be successful in that house.”
While Montgomery admits that it's unlikely that enough money can be found to fully fund both programs, a housing program and a work program to get the homeless back on their feet, will continue at the Torres Community Shelter. Last year, the shelter housed and counseled almost 720 people and had 47 percent success rate in guiding people back to a productive life.
“Many folks have a complex set of issues,” Montgomery said, “and certainly not all their problems solved when they leave us. But, they've become stable enough that they can no maintain a home.”
The latest figures show that there are about 1,700 homeless in Butte County with more than 1,000 of them residing within Chico’s city limits.
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