January 25, 2019 Edition

Assembly Holds Joint Informational Hearing on Homelessness in California

On Wednesday, the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and the Human Services Committee held a joint informational hearing on homelessness in California and federal, state, and local responses to the issue.

The hearing featured panelists from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (CDHCD), and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to discuss federal and state efforts to address homelessness. Local responses were discussed by representatives from the Kings-Tulare and Alameda County Continuum of Care entities and the City of Los Angeles. A panel was also convened on current gaps and challenges in responding to the ongoing homelessness crisis throughout the state.

Members of the two committees had an opportunity to make comments and ask questions of the panelists, which largely focused on current safety net programs, affordable housing efforts, innovative opportunities in addressing homelessness, and the budgeting and financing of such initiatives.

Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula in his comments underscored the chronic disease conditions and acute illnesses that are disproportionately experienced by individuals experiencing homelessness. Arambula discussed the role of the CDSS and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) in meeting current service demands of homeless individuals throughout the state, as well as challenges experienced by rural California jurisdictions in addressing homelessness and housing issues.

Toward the conclusion of the hearing, Housing and Community Development Committee Chair David Chiu and Human Services Committee Chair Eloise Gómez Reyes indicated the topics discussed during the informational hearing will continue to be prioritized during legislative and budget committee hearings throughout the coming months. The hearing agenda is available here, panelist biographies are available here, background paper is available hereand current program funding chart is available here.

Burke Harris Named California’s First Surgeon General, Perry Named to CHHS Role

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom named Dr. Nadine Burke Harris as California’s first-ever Surgeon General. Burke Harris is the founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness (CYW) in San Francisco and is trained as a pediatrician. Burke Harris leads the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health, a partnership between CYW and the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Advisory Board for Screening, a committee member of the National Academy of Medicine, and an expert advisor on the Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force.

According to the Newsom Administration, the surgeon general will urge policymakers at every level of government and leaders across the state to consider social determinants of health, adverse childhood experiences, and toxic stress, particularly among children. Burke Harris’ work will focus on reaching young families throughout California and combatting the root causes of serious health conditions. Burke Harris will be sworn in as California’s first Surgeon General on February 11.

Also on Monday, Governor Newsom announced that Kris Perry will serve as the Deputy Secretary for Early Childhood Development in the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and Senior Advisor to the Governor on Implementation of Early Childhood Development Initiatives. Perry previously served as the President of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) in Washington, D.C., and the Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund. She was also the Executive Director of First 5 California and First 5 San Mateo County.

She began her work in the Alameda County Social Services Agency and has held roles including child abuse investigator, family preservation case manager, and program manager. Perry was sworn into her position on Monday.

The full announcement from Governor Newsom is available here.

NACCHO Issues 2019 Advocacy Toolkit

This week, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Government Affairs team issued an updated 2019 Advocacy Toolkit. The toolkit is used to educate members of the various ways to interact with elected officials to weigh in on emerging public health issues and highlight the importance and value of local public health.

The NACCHO Advocacy Toolkit provides useful resources and tips on the range of ways to get involved through education, advocacy, or lobbying strategies, how to get in touch and effectively communicate with lawmakers, and how to use talking points and fact sheet templates.

The full 2019 NACCHO Advocacy Toolkit is available here.