California governor approves $2 billion for homeless housing

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the Association of California Water Agencies conference in Sacramento, Calif. After scoring victories last year on his signature priority of climate change, Brown will lay out his next agenda for California as he delivers his state of the state address Thursday, Jan 21.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown has approved spending $2 billion to build permanent housing for homeless people with mental illnesses.

The Democratic governor announced signing AB1618 on Friday.

The measure allows the state to sell bonds for homeless shelters and repay the debt with money from a 2004 voter-approved tax on millionaires. It requires counties to provide supportive services for people housed with state aid.

Legislative analysts expect the measure to fund at least 14,000 units. Federal housing officials estimate more than 29,000 homeless Californians were living with serious mental illness in 2015.

Senate Democrats proposed the idea, saying it will improve the quality of life for people living in despair. It easily cleared the Assembly and Senate last month.

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