Brilliant Corners CEO William F. Pickel was honored to testify at the California State Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee as a lead witness in support of AB 2817, alongside our partner the Western Center on Law & Poverty.AB 2817 would establish the House California Challenge Program, which would create a flexible statewide rental assistance program for people experiencing homelessness. The House California Challenge Program would authorize the state Health and Human Services agency to provide rental assistance to people experiencing homelessness, and grants to local jurisdictions and service providers to connect people to housing and rental assistance.

You can view video of the testimony here:

Transcript of William Pickel’s testimony:

Testimony for AB 2817: Housing California Challenge Program

Hello, my name is William Pickel and I’m the CEO of Brilliant Corners, a supportive housing nonprofit operating statewide across California.

I want to express our strong support for Assembly Bill 2817, authored by Assemblymember Reyes, to establish the House California Challenge Program. This bill offers an historic opportunity to develop a statewide flexible rental assistance program. All around us are vacant units immediately available to be matched to people in need. Rental subsidies are the key to getting people housed – quickly – with wrap-around services to help them thrive.

We know this works. At Brilliant Corners, we’ve been able to make nearly 10,000 housing placements through Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool, a program we operate in LA County and have replicated in other areas. Clients referred into the Flex Pool can get housed quickly by utilizing a pool of available units and Flex Pool vouchers – those rental subsidies that are the key ingredient. We build a pool of units by tapping the private market – with units available even in areas with low vacancy rates. Beyond this scattered site approach, the Flex Pool supports development of new housing units by subsidizing new capital expenditures. And it’s a cost saver on the system: investing up front in permanent housing placements reduces healthcare and emergency costs down the road, and provides urgent and immediate relief for our unhoused neighbors.

With an investment into the House California Challenge Program, modeled after the Flex Pool, we have an opportunity to realize this transformative impact statewide.

We urge you to support AB 2817. Thank you.