Today's Law As Amended

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AB-344 New Beginnings California Program.(2019-2020)



SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) California’s homeless crisis has reached emergency proportions. According to the latest federal Department of Housing and Urban Development report, California’s homeless population, as of 2018, has surged to 129,972 persons, accounting for roughly 24 percent of the homeless population nationwide.
(b) In the last three years, dozens of city and county governments in California have declared homelessness an emergency. Despite increased efforts and resources to reduce homelessness in California, homelessness has remained a significant issue. Further, it has often been difficult for service providers to connect with homeless individuals and identify the services they need.
(c) Cities and counties throughout the state have started pursuing additional strategies to aid those in need, with several implementing programs that provide homeless individuals with work while providing easy access to services. These programs are loosely based on the There’s a Better Way program in the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, launched in 2015, that connects homeless individuals with work and has been widely lauded as a success. The City of Denver, Colorado, launched one such program in 2016 called the Denver Day Works program, and the reported numbers are very promising. In the program’s first year, nearly 284 people were matched with work opportunities and 110 of these participants have found permanent employment, either with the city or county, or with private business hiring partners.
(d) Given the promising results in other cities, the state should provide incentives to cities and counties in California to pursue holistic approaches to aiding those experiencing homelessness by creating programs that offer these individuals employment while matching them with other necessary services.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 7.5 (commencing with Section 8270) is added to Division 8 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

CHAPTER  7.5. New Beginnings California Program
8270.
 (a) The New Beginnings California Program is hereby established in the Department of Community Services and Development for the purpose of providing matching funds of up to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) annually to cities or local continuum of care programs to implement, expand, or continue employment programs for homeless individuals.
(b) A maximum of 50 grants annually may be awarded to cities or local continuum of care programs for the purposes specified in subdivision (a).
(c) A city or local continuum of care program shall be eligible to receive grant funding pursuant to this section if its homeless employment program meets all of the following requirements:
(1) Connects individuals living in supportive housing with work opportunities. Employment offered through the program may be with the city, a contracted service provider, or a private entity that chooses to participate in the employment program.
(2) Program participants are paid an hourly wage that is at or above minimum wage.
(3) Assists individuals who are not yet ready for employment with services and resources that will enable them to be prepared to work as soon as is feasible.
(d) A city or local continuum of care program that contracts with a service provider to implement a homeless employment program shall be eligible for a grant pursuant to this section if the program meets the requirements specified in subdivision (c).
(e) Grant funding awarded pursuant to this section shall be matched by the recipient city or local continuum of care program. A city’s or a local continuum of care program’s matching funds may be provided by charitable contributions or other grant funding.
(f) There is hereby established in the State Treasury the New Beginnings California Account. Upon appropriation, moneys in the account shall be apportioned by the Department of Community Services and Development to cities and local continuum of care programs with employment programs that meet the requirements specified in subdivision (c), not to exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) annually per city or local continuum of care program.
(g) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “City” means a city, county, or a city and county.
(2) “Supportive housing” has the same meaning as set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of 50675.14 of the Health and Safety Code.
8271.
 This chapter shall become operative only to the extent that funding is provided by express reference in the annual Budget Act for the purposes of this chapter.