These bills represent months of thoughtful debate, difficult decisions and an agreement between both houses of the Legislature, as well as the administration. I’m thrilled that four priorities that I led advocacy efforts for are included in the budget.
Family Justice Centers are life-saving non-profit organizations that work on the front lines to provide support and healing to victims of domestic violence, child and elder abuse, and human trafficking. More than a decade ago, I co-founded the Contra Costa Family Justice Center in Concord, and since my election to the Assembly, I’ve continued to work hard to support their mission of serving victims. I am pleased that the budget agreement includes $10 million in grant funding for Family Justice Centers statewide. This new money will go directly to helping victims of crimes access legal services at no cost to them and achieve safety and justice.
I also fought for $7 million to be included for a firefighter cancer research program and $2.5 million to the Contra Costa Fire Protection District for mental health pilot programs. Climate change and an increased occurrence of record-breaking, devastating wildfires have only added to the stress and dangers California firefighters face on the job. In 2017, when California experienced some of its deadliest wildfires on record, more firefighters died by suicide than on duty.
It is on us to make sure we are supporting the brave women and men who work to keep our communities safe. This funding will help us to examine and ultimately reduce the incidence of cancer among California firefighters, as well as fund the operation of peer support and crisis referral pilot programs to ensure our firefighters have access to effective mental health services.
Lastly, I was proud to secure $1 million to the city of Concord for the Yellow Roof Foundation. The local non-profit charitable organization works to build new affordable housing opportunities for families and individuals at risk for homelessness in the Bay Area. The foundation works with local jurisdictions, such as the city of Concord, to acquire and develop successor agencies and surplus parcels to provide rental housing at below-market rates.
In order to address California’s rising affordability crisis, it is imperative that the state supports organizations like Yellow Roof Foundation that are creating affordable units for vulnerable families. I’m glad this new funding will help create new below-market rate housing in our community.
These are just a few of the priorities I fought to secure in our state’s budget. If you would like to learn more about the budget or to connect with me on other matters that are important to you, contact my Concord office at 925-521-1511.