California Chamber of Commerce CEO Jennifer Barrera Strongly Backs Proposition 1 for Mental Health and Homelessness Support

Evmark Business Solutions

During a recent event organized by women business, health care, and political leaders, California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jennifer Barrera expressed strong support for Proposition 1. The proposition, if passed, would provide much-needed resources to help communities across the state address the mental health and homelessness crises that have been exacerbated in recent years.

Barrera highlighted the devastating impact of the opioid crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing incidence of homelessness on California’s communities and businesses. She emphasized that Proposition 1 is crucial in providing the necessary resources to help these communities recover from these crises.

The event, held on January 16, featured speeches from Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Jacqui Irwin, as well as state Senator Susan Eggman. Other speakers included California Hospital Association CEO Carmela Coyle, Sutter Health Senior Vice President and Chief External Affairs Officer Grace Davis, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) California Executive Director Jessica Cruz, and Dr. Anna Yap from the California Medical Association.

Proposition 1 has garnered support from over 80 statewide and local organizations, including elected officials, public safety officers, first responders, labor unions, community-based organizations, business leaders, homeless service providers, and veterans organizations. Notable women leaders who have endorsed the measure include Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the legislative women’s caucus, activist Dolores Huerta, and Senator Eggman and Assemblymember Irwin, who played key roles in passing mental health reform legislation in the state.

If passed, Proposition 1 would authorize $6.38 billion in general obligation bonds to fund various initiatives, including the creation of more treatment beds and supportive housing units for Californians with severe behavioral health challenges and substance use disorders. The measure also includes $1 billion specifically allocated to serve homeless veterans who are struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.

Barrera pointed out that California had the capacity to treat 37,000 patients in state mental health hospitals in the late 1950s. However, due to decisions made by politicians in the past, these beds were closed and never replaced, leaving many individuals with acute mental health needs on the streets and in tents instead of receiving proper treatment. Proposition 1 aims to address this issue and provide much-needed support for those in need.

In conclusion, Proposition 1 has the potential to modernize California’s mental health care system and provide crucial resources to help communities and individuals struggling with mental health and homelessness. It has received widespread support from various organizations and leaders, and it is up to the voters to decide its fate. 

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