Cities front and center of mental health modernization

Oct 18, 2023

Long-term funding for behavioral health housing and treatment will go on the March 2024 ballot

The League of California Cities was once again in the limelight for its behavioral health and housing advocacy. Late last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 326 (Eggman) and AB 531 (Irwin) into law at a signing ceremony in Los Angeles attended by Cal Cities staff, along with the mayors of Riverside, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Long Beach, over a dozen state lawmakers, and other key stakeholders.

Cal Cities supported the two bills as part of an effort to secure ongoing funding to address the homelessness crisis. Cities across the state are weaving together limited funding to develop creative solutions that prevent and reduce homelessness.

The two-part legislative package will modernize the Mental Health Services Act and provide long-term funding for behavioral health beds. The package also includes a $6.38 billion bond for thousands of new community behavioral health beds and supportive housing. In a win for cities, the bond measure targets $1.5 billion specifically to help cities and counties fund new treatment beds.

Sections of AB 531 and SB 326 will appear on the March 2024 primary election ballot as Proposition 1.

After the ceremony, the Governor announced the California Mental Health Movement, a sweeping plan to address the mental health and substance use disorder crises. The plan focuses on four key pillars: housing, services, workforce, and children. Cal Cities looks forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to support California's most vulnerable residents.