This winter, Brilliant Corners pursued a variety of advocacy initiatives in housing and homelessness sectors across the state and local level. Over the last months, Brilliant Corners has continued efforts locally in LA County to ensure full funding for the Care First Community Investment (formerly Measure J, a ballot measure passed last fall to address longstanding racial disparities and inadequate community investments in underserved and impacted LA County communities). Additionally, we supported various calls to action and community efforts that advance our mission to make housing more accessible. We have outlined below the local and state advocacy initiatives that we are currently pursuing that align with our mission to end homelessness.

At the State Level

In partnership with Housing California, Brilliant Corners issued a letter of support to State Assembly Budget Chairs and Chairs of the Budget Sub-4 Committees on the proposed state budget. While we commend the investments in Governor Newsom’s January proposed budget into housing and homelessness, we also recognize that in order to meet the need across our state, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the precarious economic outlook for low-income California residents, we need ongoing and sustainable resources if we are ever to scale solutions to meet the public health crisis of homelessness. We are particularly grateful for the administration’s inclusion of dedicated funding for rental subsidies, an additional allocation of LIHTC, and dedicated housing support in the reentry process for system-impacted community members. 

Additionally, we signed onto a letter initiated by our partner Housing CA to offer support for the proposed $5 billion in funding to establish a new statewide rental assistance program to provide direct rental assistance to unhoused Californians. We know from our work operating the Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool that across California, there are vacant units immediately available to meet urgent housing needs – and rental subsidies are the key ingredient to turn these units into immediate housing solutions for people in need. Over the next 5 years, this proposal aims to move 50,000 people experiencing homelessness into housing.

Measure J (Care First Community Initiative) 

Brilliant Corners continues to take ongoing action to voice support and recommendations for fully funding Measure J and the Care First vision in Los Angeles. As you may remember, back in July 2021, Measure J was ruled unconstitutional by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel. This ruling led to the Board of Supervisors transforming Measure J Re-imagine LA Advisory Committee into the Care First and Community Investment Advisory Committee. 

Members of our team have been attending bi-weekly CFCI Advisory Committee meetings, where community members and advocates have recently discussed challenges in implementation. For example, due to delays in identifying a third-party administrator, community-based organizations (CBOs) still have not had access to the year 1 funding that was approved in August 2021. In addition to the delays in implementation, the committee meeting has also discussed a proposal to allocate year 1 funds to online or physical resource hubs. Ultimately, the committee voted to reallocate the funds to CBOs already serving as resource hubs for youth.  

Following the CFCI meetings, partners within the Reimagine LA (ReLA) Coalition authored a powerful op-ed featured in the Los Angeles Times, detailing many of the challenges that have delayed the commitment to fully fund Measure J, and urging the Board of Supervisors to invest in diversion and prevention programs, projects including short- term and long- term housing and more. The investment in funding necessary community services and care is essential to the vision of making Care First a reality in Los Angeles. You can read the full Op-Ed here

In addition to promoting the Op-Ed, we shared a workshop series opportunity hosted by ReLA. The series is geared toward youth (ages 12-24) and community members who are interested in Zine making. The workshop includes a 5-part series for youth and community members to learn about zine making. The series will take place every other Saturday from February 5th – March 12th. You can learn more about this opportunity and sign up to join the workshop sessions here

The CFCI Advisory Committee will begin accepting recommendations for the year 2 budget allocation and engage community members in the upcoming months. In order to increase awareness and community engagement, the ReLA Coalition will host a town hall on Wednesday February 23 at 6PM, featuring community advocates and experts involved in the implementation of Measure J. Panelists will share what has happened since Measure J’s adoption in November 2020, reflections on implementation, and how to continue advocating for greater community investments. You can register for the town hall here.   

AB109

Last summer, Brilliant Corners mobilized to express support of the revised AB 109 Implementation plan and urged the LA County Board of Supervisors to approve it. We provided comments on the much-needed shift of resources from the carceral system into community-based support. Since then, Supervisor Han and Supervisor Solis put forth the AB109 Program Evaluation Process motion. This motion passed unanimously on January 25th. This motion establishes the development of a new program evaluation process, ensuring the inclusion of community input. 

Support for Cedars-Sinai

We are voicing support for Cedars-Sinai’s Seismic Upgrade Wing plan before the LA CIty Council PLUM (Planning and Land Use Management) Committee, as this proposal will bring additional care beds and upgrade existing facilities for our community’s benefit. Cedars-Sinai continually demonstrates a commitment to community health impacts: understanding that housing is a key social determinant of health, their investments are already generating positive health outcomes for our most vulnerable community members. From efforts to preserve and expand board & care facilities throughout LA, to in-home care innovations that promote aging in place, Cedars-Sinai is a vital community partner.

Fair Chance Housing Initiative

The Fair Chance Housing Initiative is a continuation of the work that began with the Ban the Box campaign in 2010, when advocates mobilized in LA City and County to make it illegal to ask about incarceration in order to remove the barriers to gaining employment and access to housing for people exiting the justice system. Ultimately, the Ban the Box campaign shifted their efforts to focus on employment. Now, the Fair Chance Housing Initiative for LA County campaign will pick up the Ban the Box efforts but with a focus on housing accessibility. Brilliant Corners is in conversation with several reentry and housing partners on this campaign, which will ultimately seek an LA County Ordinance to make it illegal to ask about incarceration on housing applications. 

As an operator of housing programs that work at the intersection of homelessness and criminal justice, we believe that everyone deserves the right to safe and affordable housing. Housing is the key to breaking the cycle between incarceration and homelessness, as national data indicates that people are more likely to be re-incarcerated if they lack stable housing. 

Brilliant Corners is conducting internal stakeholder engagement on input regarding the initiative, and we are excited about the prospect of being a leading voice of this campaign.