Padilla Applauds Federal Accelerator to Help California Address Homelessness

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) applauded the announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that California was selected to participate in a new federal initiative, the Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator (Accelerator). The Accelerator will help strengthen partnerships across the housing, disability, aging, and health sectors and improve access to available federal programs and resources to help keep people healthy.

The Accelerator will help advance the transformation of California’s Medicaid program called CalAIM: California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal, which is currently in its third year of a five-year transformation. CalAIM is a commitment to broad reform across the Medi-Cal program, shifting to a statewide population health approach that prioritizes prevention and social drivers of health, including housing.

California is working to leverage the state Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) to provide its Medicaid members with a range of housing services and supports. Participating in the Accelerator will help state agencies better coordinate services across housing, health, and social care systems to prevent and end homelessness for older adults and people with disabilities. The team is led by California’s Medicaid office and includes representatives from state and community housing and homelessness, health, aging, and disability organizations.

“Solving California’s homelessness and housing crisis requires substantial federal investments and coordination,” said Senator Padilla. “I applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for investing in the transformation of California’s Medicaid program to better coordinate resources to address the root causes of homelessness and ultimately reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness across the state.” 

“Since Day One of the Biden-Harris Administration, HUD has worked to not only expand the availability of housing assistance, but to ensure people experiencing homelessness have access to supportive services so they can permanently transition to housing,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “We are proud to partner with HHS and Secretary Becerra to take that work even further.”

“Nobody in America should experience homelessness. Today we are taking important steps to help communities better access HHS’ programs to address homelessness and connect people with housing-related services and supports – which could be life changing,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The Biden-Harris Administration has worked tirelessly to help people experiencing homelessness to provide needed services and supports that help them maintain that housing. We will continue to work on strengthening partnerships across housing, disability, aging, and health sectors and do everything we can to prevent and address homelessness.”

Specifically, the Accelerator will help California, seven other states, and Washington, D.C. unlock critical resources to address health-related social needs, including housing services. The program provides technical assistance to states implementing HHS’ recently issued guidance regarding clinically appropriate and evidence-based services that can be covered under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). For example, states can support health care access through Medicaid section 1115 demonstrations that provide services like housing transition services and case management that helps people avoid lease violation. In addition, states can provide services that connect people to HUD housing programs by covering short-term housing costs, like security deposits and rental application fees, for specific transitions.

HHS and HUD announced the Accelerator in November 2023 as a competitive technical assistance opportunity for states. States with approved federal Medicaid section 1115 demonstrations or section 1915(i) state plan amendments covering housing-related support services for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, when clinically appropriate, were eligible to apply.

Over the next twelve months, HUD and HHS will provide California with intensive federal technical assistance and opportunities for state peer-to-peer exchange to support their implementation of clinically-indicated housing-related services and supports under their Medicaid programs for people with complex health needs experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, including people with disabilities, older adults, people with mental health disorders, people with substance use disorders, and people with other chronic medical conditions.

Since joining the Senate, Padilla has remained a steadfast supporter of efforts to address the homelessness and affordable housing crises in California and across the country, including through the introduction of his comprehensive Housing For All Act. Last month, Padilla and Senator Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) announced $601.4 million in federal funding to help address homelessness in California as part of HUD’s Continuum of Care program. Last year, Padilla and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a pair of bills, the Homelessness and Behavioral Health Care Coordination Act and the Housing Alignment and Coordination of Critical and Effective Supportive Health Services (ACCESS) Act, focused on addressing the intersecting crises of homelessness and behavioral health. Padilla and the late Senator Dianne Feinstein also introduced the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act, a bill to authorize $1 billion annually to help local governments address homelessness by bolstering affordable housing supply alongside comprehensive mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, and job training.

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