New Beginnings California Program Aimed at Boosting Homeless Employment Heads to Governor

Monday, August 27, 2018

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assembly Bill 3085, a measure authored by Majority Leader Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) which creates the New Beginnings California Program aimed at providing employment opportunities to those experiencing homelessness, is headed to the Governor’s desk. 

“As California’s homeless population continues to increase, AB 3085 offers another tool to connecting homeless citizens with the services they need, while offering them the opportunity to achieve the self-confidence that often accompanies employment, “stated Majority Leader Calderon. “This measure incentivizes local governments to either pursue a homeless employment program of their own, or expand on an existing one.” 

According to the latest federal Department of Housing and Urban Development report, California has experienced year-to-year increases in the homeless population by 13 percent in 2016 and nearly 14 percent in 2017. As of 2017, the overall statewide count has surged to 134,278 persons. In the last two years, dozens of city and county governments in California have declared homelessness an emergency. 

Cities and counties throughout the state have started pursuing additional strategies to address homelessness. At least 16 California cities have introduced homeless employment programs. These programs are loosely based on the popular There’s a Better Way program in the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was launched in 2015 and connects homeless individuals with employment. 

AB 3085 creates the New Beginnings California Program within the Department of Community Services and Development.  It will function as a grant program, wherein cities or counties may apply for matching funds to implement, expand, or continue employment programs for homeless individuals. In order to qualify, the program within the city or county must:

  • Connect homeless individuals with work opportunities. Employment offered through the program may be with the city, a contracted service provider, or a private entity;
  • Pay program participants an hourly wage that is at or above the minimum wage;
  • Assist individuals who are not yet ready for employment with services and resources that will enable them to be prepared to work as soon as is feasible.

Contact: Lerna Shirinian (562) 692-5858