Housing | November 18, 2019

Reflection on the Milken Institute’s Homelessness & Housing Town Hall

Last week the LA Times, CalMatters and the Milken Institute held a town hall conversation in sunny Santa Monica to discuss what’s driving the intractable affordability and homelessness crisis across the state and what we can do about it.  Leadership from the California Community Foundation (CCF) was pleased to participate.

Ann Sewill, Vice President of Housing and Health for CCF, discussed how philanthropy can help the private sector absorb critical new funding sources like Prop HHH by expanding pre-development loan programs and supporting nonprofits’ operational  capacity through strategic grantmaking. Miguel Santana, President and CEO of the Los Angeles County Fair Association and CCF Boardmember, called on public officials to remove politics and discretion from their decision making so that housing production can be more predictable for developers.

But it was the headliner conversation that really stood out, when “Gimme Shelter” podcast hosts Matt Levin and Liam Dillon hosted a conversation with the co-chairs of Governor Newsom’s Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force,  LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.  You can see for yourselves how this conversation transpired on the CalMatters website here.  We were left feeling hopeful about both politicians’ promise to pressure our State leaders to take bold action that will put a roof over every person’s head that is experiencing homelessness in California. To get there, both elected officials are advocating for California to establish some sort of “Right to Shelter,” “Right to Housing,” or a hybrid of the two.

Whatever the “right” spot we land on, this initiative will surely require the State to make permanent, annual investments into the housing and homeless safety net at levels we’ve never seen in any state across the nation. Neither Mayor Steinberg nor Supervisor Ridley-Thomas seemed to worry about the price tag. They had some ideas for funding the new mandate, like repurposing existing funding (e.g. the Mental Health Services Act) and potentially floating another ballot initiative in a statewide election, but that discussion is a little premature. Today is about consensus building–getting our community to coalesce around the goal that everyone deserves a decent, affordable place to call home.

Learn more about CCF’s Home LA Loan Fund, an innovative, no-risk charitable investment option that allows CCF donors to pool their funds to create three- to five-year loans to spur the production of housing for the chronically homeless.


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