California Proposition 1: A Bitterly Contested Divide over Funding Homeless and Mental Health Care

Outcome of California prop 1 remains undecided.

Proposition 1, a measure to restructure the funding of mental health and homeless support, was too close to call with only half of Californian’s votes counted as of Wednesday morning. Although the measure is not expected to substantially change the number of unhoused people in California, it had bipartisan support to address the state’s lack of housing and a mental health crisis that has been brewing for 75 years. However, with just under half the state’s primary ballots counted, voters were nearly evenly divided, with 50.5% supporting Proposition 1 and 49.5% voting against it.

The division was largely geographic. Populous counties along the state’s Pacific coastline generally supported the measure, while inland counties, where problems of homelessness are less visible, generally opposed it by much larger margins. The money would be borrowed against income taxes already imposed on people who earn over $1 million annually. Now, that money is allocated entirely by counties.

If passed, Proposition 1 would allow the state to receive a larger share of tax dollars and require the 58 counties to spend about two-thirds of those funds on housing and rental assistance for the unhoused who are chronically homeless and have mental health or addiction issues. The bond, borrowed against that promised tax flow, will go toward adding 11,150 new treatment beds and supportive housing units, as well as adding more than 26

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