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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

CA lawmakers propose $100 billion for shelters, affordable housing

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Thursday, February 22, 2024   

Democratic leaders in the U.S. House and Senate reintroduced the Housing for All Act, which would put about $100 billion over 10 years toward solving the crisis of people experiencing homelessness.

The bill would fund federal programs to build affordable housing and provide emergency shelter.

Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., who is co-sponsoring the bill, said housing is a human right, not a privilege.

"There are more than 653,000 people experiencing homelessness in the United States, including over 181,000 here in the State of California," Padilla pointed out. "We know that there is a shortage of 7.3 million affordable homes in the country. So the stakes are indeed high."

Opponents of the bill cited concerns about cost. On Tuesday local, county, state and federal leaders spoke at a Project Homekey site in Los Angeles, a program started during the pandemic to turn old motels into permanent supportive housing with wraparound services to address issues of addiction, mental health and unemployment.

Dhakshike Wickrema, deputy secretary for homelessness at the California Business Consumer Services and Housing Agency, touted the program's successes.

"Homekey has funded over 15,000 homes in 250 projects across California," Wickrema reported. "These projects will serve almost 170,000 residents."

Karen Bass, mayor of Los Angeles, noted the bill would also fund programs to keep people from being evicted.

"One of the fastest-growing sectors of the unhoused population are our elders, seniors who maybe worked in retail their whole life, didn't have a 401(k), didn't have a pension," Bass outlined. "Social Security really will not pay for anything in Los Angeles and they wind up unhoused."

The proposal would also establish a commission to focus on racial equity in housing.


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