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California mayors push state for funding to address homelessness

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The mayors of California’s 11 largest cities are pushing for $1.5 billion in state money to address homelessness.

“Homelessness is the single biggest quality of life challenge we face in our cities,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who is leading the group of big-city mayors. “Cities cannot do it alone.”

The pitch comes in new state legislation, Assembly Bill 3171, which would require local governments to match the state dollars, resulting in $3 billion to fund homeless shelters, rental assistance, permanent housing and other efforts.

“We cannot continue to allow people to sleep on our streets every single night,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, the author of the bill.

State senators also released legislation Wednesday, Senate Bill 912, that would allocate $2 billion to help house homeless residents and other low-income Californians.

The cities behind the push are San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, Fresno, Bakersfield, Long Beach, Anaheim and Santa Ana.

State lawmakers said the funding for their plans should come out of the $6.1 billion tax revenue windfall Gov. Jerry Brown is anticipating in the coming year’s budget. Warning of a potential economic slowdown, Brown has proposed banking nearly all that money for reserves or in case of unexpected costs, such as wildfires.

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