2023 ANNUAL REPORT
CALIFORNIA VETERANS COMMUNITY REPORT:
Behavioral Health System Reform in Focus
In California, we continue to reduce the number of veterans living on our streets – a feat to be celebrated. But there are still thousands of California veterans who won’t have a place to sleep tonight, and perhaps many more that teeter on the edge. Together with our partners, CAVSA continues to work with legislators, regulators, agency staff in Sacramento, and with leaders in cities and counties across the state to advocate on behalf of struggling veterans.
In this report, you will read about troubles many California veterans face, but we share many success stories as well. We also highlight the strong work CAVSA member agencies are doing, and you will learn about our advocacy – the victories won, the battles we continue to fight, and new challenges emerging on the horizon. As you’ll read on page 12, CAVSA has been out front on implementing the Veterans Support to Self-Reliance program (VSSR), through which three of our members provide much-needed support to vulnerable, olderaged veterans.
Flip to page 18 to learn about our influence at the table during the Governor’s successful legislative push to reform and modernize the Mental Health Service Act. Governor Newsom and the Legislature, especially Senator Eggman and Assembly Member Irwin deserve a special thank you for their leadership and support to ensure veterans are a priority in reform of the behavioral health system. A special thanks as well to CalVet and the MHSOAC for keeping CAVSA engaged in the process. CAVSA will stay active to make sure much needed funding is secured to pay for mental health services to address needs of veterans in the new Behavioral Health Services Act.
There is ongoing work to do in 2024 and beyond. A top priority is to pass a new housing bond in March 2024, Proposition 1. We are proud that it will include over $1 billion to house veterans who have behavioral health needs or substance use disorders.
As you read this report, we hope you will be inspired to join us as we forge new partnerships and strengthen collaborations to support California’s diverse veteran community.
We look forward to positive change in the coming years.
Stephen Peck, CAVSA Board President and U.S. VETS President and CEO