CHA Supports Bill Addressing Alarming Rise of Homelessness in California Older Adults & People with Disabilities

homelessness, SB 37, adult hands holding wooden house

California Health Advocates submitted a letter of full support for SB 37 (Caballero) which addresses the alarming rise in homelessness among older adults and people with disabilities. Indeed, California accounts for about a third of the nation’s homeless people, and among this population, older adults are estimated to be the fastest-growing group. One key indicator is the state’s tally of people accessing homelessness services. From 2017 to 2021, California’s overall senior population grew by 7% but the number of people 55 and over who sought homelessness services increased 84% —  more than any other age group —  according to the state’s Homeless Data Integration System

SB 37 (Caballero) – Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities Housing Stability Act – will create a three-year housing stabilization pilot in up to five diverse counties or geographic regions for older adults and people with disabilities who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) would grant state funds to local housing and aging and disability agencies based on competitive factors and would include funding for underserved communities. The program would serve over 900 households at any one time during the pilot.

SB 37 will fund targeted rental assistance that meets the specific needs of eligible households. Those living in low-cost areas may need only a small or “shallow” subsidy to exit homelessness or remain housed, while those in high-cost areas may need deeper subsidies to exit homelessness or remain housed. The bill would also require HCD to work collaboratively with local housing authorities to bridge to federal Housing Choice (“Section 8”) turn-over vouchers, to ensure this three-year program can sustain participants in housing over the long term. 

SB 37 is thoughtful, strategic, and predicated on data and best practices. We support this needed legislation and urge you to voice your support as well. 

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.