Signed into Support! Two New Pieces of Legislation to Potentially Impact Homelessness in LANEW legislation has the potential to help move forward the goal of ending chronic and veteran homelessness in a real way! Below are brief descriptions about these pieces and links to further resources on these exciting opportunities for our LA community and those chronic and veteran homeless potentially impacted by the funding and services these pieces could bring to our local community. AB639 Welcomes our Brave Veterans Home the Right Way
Veterans living in California may finally be able to return home with the passing of AB639. This legislation, recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown, will help reallocate funds to target California’s homeless Veteran population. As stated by Assembly Member Al Muratsuchi, co-author of the legislation, “Our veterans have risked their lives and fought for our freedom and it is only right that we now fight to protect them. Once approved by the voters [in the June 2014 primary election], [AB639] will get the resources moving to help our veterans and their families.”
Almost one fourth of the nation’s Veteran homeless population resides in California and although Proposition 12, which was passed in 2008, was meant to remedy this housing situation, there were structural issues that did not allow many Veterans to access the $900 billion in bonds available through the program for the purchase of single family homes, farms, and mobile homes. AB 639, which was introduced by Speaker John A. Perez, makes these funds more accessible by expanding the types of housing supported, including permanent supportive housing, and repurposing $600 million of the bond in support of “affordable multifamily housing and services for veterans and their families.”
AB361 Relief for MediCal Enrollees with Chronic Conditions
AB 361 impacts United Way’s community partners and their clients by providing care coordination for MediCAL patients suffering from chronic medical conditions. Chronically ill patients make up about 25% of the homeless population and yet utilize about 75% of public resources . The CA State Department of Healthcare Services will administer AB361 to address the needs of chronically ill patients enrolled in MediCAL, who have been accessing medical care through urgent care or emergency facilities, by establishing preventative healthcare measures through a specialized care coordination system called “health homes.” The Health Homes program will assemble teams of primary, clinical, and community medical and mental health providers to work collaboratively in providing the most effective care for each chronically ill patient. This program will allow for the health community to catch medical conditions before they worsen prompting visits to emergency care facilities. Overall, AB361 will be implemented to promote better outcomes for both patient and public resources by providing a continuum of care for chronic patients.
For more general information on Health Homes Program and eligibility requirements, please visit: http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Long-Term-Services-and-Support/Integrating-Care/Health-Homes/Health-Homes.html
Thank you to all those who sent out letters and contacted your representatives to push forward these policies. Please continue to follow our blog for more legislative updates, and keep advocating for change!