On Wednesday, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma announced an additional $450 million in funding for the state’s No Place Like Home, or NPLH, program to address housing issues.
NPLH was signed into law in 2016 and approved by voters in 2018 for the purpose of providing housing and assistance to homeless people in California, according to a press release from the State Treasurer’s Office. Funding for the program comes from the sale of revenue bonds by the California Health Facilities Financing Authority, the press release added.
“The No Place Like Home awards are meant to take urgent, meaningful action to address California’s homelessness crisis,” Ma said in the press release.
Voters have approved a total of up to $2 billion in bond sales through NPLH to fund supportive housing, more than half of which was awarded during the first two rounds of funding.
According to Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, NPLH has been “essential” in providing funds for affordable housing development in Berkeley. Over the past two years, NPLH has helped fund a total of 264 supportive housing units in the city.
Berkeley’s Maudelle Miller Shirek Community was awarded $5,694,327 from this round of NPLH funding, Arreguín said in an email. Individuals making 20%-80% of the median income in the area will be eligible for the units, and 12 units will be reserved for those with a mental illness struggling with homelessness.
In 2019, Berkeley was awarded $10 million from the first round of NPLH funding, according to Arreguín. Of that, $5.5 million went toward Berkeley Way, which he added is the “largest affordable housing development in Berkeley’s history.” The remaining $4.5 million went to Jordan Court, a 35-unit development that will provide affordable housing to seniors.
According to Igor Tregub, vice chair of the Berkeley Measure O Oversight Committee and a Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board commissioner, NPLH will be “critical” in supplementing investments in affordable housing.
“(NPLH) could well be the difference that allows major projects that provide opportunities for Berkeley’s most vulnerable populations to pencil out and move forward,” Tregub said in an email.
According to Mark DeSio, spokesperson for the State Treasurer’s Office, NPLH is paid for through bonds whose main source of payment comes from a part of the Proposition 63 tax, a 1% state tax on income exceeding $1 million that was approved by voters in 2004.
“The government needs to take an active role in addressing homelessness,” said Leah Simon-Weisberg, vice chair of the Rent Stabilization Board. “It is not enough to keep spending money on band-aids, and permanent housing is what everybody needs.”