Senator Chang Fights for the Homeless, Urges Governor to Support the Homeless Emergency Aid Program

Thursday, April 4, 2019

SACRAMENTO – As part of her on-going efforts to advocate for the homeless, Senator Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) has delivered a letter to Governor Newsom requesting support for the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP).

“California is home to one-quarter of the homeless population in the United States,” said Senator Chang. “This crisis requires decisive and compassionate action, and I stand ready to work with local leaders and the administration to help our homeless neighbors.”

Since her tenure, Senator Chang has fought to alleviate California’s expensive housing market, homeless epidemic, and housing shortages.  Senator Chang co-authored SB 248 which would increase California’s renter’s credit for the first time in 40 years and her office deployed with experts to canvas and collect information on the unsheltered homeless population.

Below is the full letter to Governor Newsom: 

April 3, 2019

Dear Governor Newsom:

I respectfully request your support for the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and ensure it continues into both the next fiscal year and the near-term out years. By supporting this successful program, we can truly address California’s homelessness needs.

I would like to thank you for drawing much needed attention to the growing homeless population through your January budget.  In my community -- North Orange County in particular -- this crisis is especially acute. As you know, California has been struggling to address its homelessness crisis for quite some time. As of last year, approximately 130,000 Californians are homeless. This is especially problematic because while California accounts for only 12 percent of the nation’s population, it hosts nearly a quarter of the entire nation’s homeless population.

Last year Governor Brown proposed $500 million in one-time funding from the general fund, creating the Homeless Emergency Aid Program block grant. HEAP was designed to address California’s homelessness needs by providing direct assistance to cities, counties and Continuums of Care (CoCs). After the close of the HEAP grant application process, 100 percent of applicants were approved for funding. I am personally grateful for three Continuums of Care: Los Angeles City & County, Santa Ana, Anaheim/Orange County, and San Bernardino City & County. These CoCs were awarded approximately $106 million and include the three counties I proudly represent. Because of this support, three new homeless shelters opened in just three months in the City of Anaheim.

Given the program’s success across the state, I have proposed that we continue funding the HEAP block grant through the general fund. We can continue assisting communities that use awarded funds to better serve their homeless populations. Through Senate Bill 573 and a Senate Budget Committee request, I have proposed an annual appropriation of $250,000,000 from the general fund to the Homeless Emergency Aid Program. Just this week the Senate Housing Committee endorsed this proposal to ensure we continue providing communities with the resources necessary to reduce homelessness. Your support for this program would be paramount.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and for showing leadership on this issue. I stand ready to work with you and other legislative leaders to successfully resolve this statewide crisis.  Should you or your staff have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Sincerely,

Ling Ling Chang