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California to make $3.3 billion available for mental health, substance use treatment centers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Hammered by mounting pressure to address the growing homelessness crisis in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday his administration will make $3.3 billion available ahead of schedule for counties and private developers to start building more behavioral health treatment centers as part of his efforts to fund housing and drug use programs.

It’s the first pot of money from a ballot measure designed to help cities, counties, tribes and developers build or renovate treatment centers and clinics, among other things. Voters passed it by a razor-thin margin in March after Newsom threw all of his political weight behind it, touting it as linchpin of the state’s efforts to reduce homelessness.

It authorizes the state to borrow nearly $6.4 billion to build 4,350 housing units and require counties to spend two-thirds of the money from a tax on millionaires on housing and programs for homeless people with serious mental illnesses or substance abuse problems. Applications for the money will open in July.

Newsom, standing in front of an ongoing construction project that would create 117 psychiatric beds near Redwood City, said Tuesday he wants local government to build as quickly as they can.

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