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Prop 41 Would Create ‘Supportive’ Housing For Homeless Veterans

Credit: Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Matthew Meissner is homeless and a veteran. Those like Meissner may be able to get assistance under Prop. 41.

A California ballot measure before voters next month would redirect $600 million of pre-approved funds to build housing for low income and homeless veterans.

Forty-eight year-old Matthew Meissner says when one thing goes downhill, everything else follows. He became disabled in 2009, stopped working, moved in with family, then last year, found himself sleeping wherever he could in Sacramento.

“I sleep usually out by the, camp out by the river," says Meissner. "You gotta stay on the move."

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Loaves and Fishes' Friendship Park is a place where Sacramento's homeless population can gather for assistance and additional resources. According to Loaves and Fishes, 12 percent of Sacramento County's homeless are veterans.

Meissner’s a veteran. He served in Desert Storm.

“I’m not the same person I was before I went, obviously," says Meissner. "You see things or you done things that humans shouldn’t have to do.”

Meissner could get help under Proposition 41 — if passed, a portion of an existing state bond fund to help veterans buy homes would be used instead to create supportive housing for low-income veterans.

Chas Alamo of the Legislative Analyst’s Office says the current veteran home loan fund is underused.

“As demographics have changed, as the economy has obviously struggled through the recession, fewer veterans are coming forward for those home loans than was anticipated.”

Alamo says the change would require $50 million from the state’s general fund for the next 15 years, a cost proponents say would be offset by getting people like Matthew Meissner off the streets.

“I don’t want to be out here, I want to be what I call normal again," he says. "I want a home for me and my wife, I want people to look at me and not down me, and call me a bum, or this and that.”

The proposition has no known organized opposition.


CalChannel: Proposition 41

This video from Cal Channel explains the bond process and Proposition 41.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'GMFuzy'

GMFuzy | May 5, 2014 at 9:49 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

This is something that really hits close to home for me, While in the military I never understood why there were so many homeless vets out there- until I was one of them.
I was injured overseas in 2006 and was medically discharged without a disability rating in april 2009. I filed a claim with the VA the following monday after my discharge. I got an exam in June and they denied my claim in august giving me 0%.... claiming they "lost" my active duty medical records (I had 4 shattered vertebrae, paralysis in my leg and ever worsening nerve damage). It took the VA another 3 years to even start scheduling surgery. I had a multi level spinal fusion in october of this year. I lost my engineering job because of this and it still took the VA another 2 months to give me a %100 rating (which they inexplicably cut off after only 2 months) They tell me I have to see a Neurologist to get my convalescent disability reinstated (but cant get an appointment until late august lol) due to many complications including stopping my heart from an overdose of anesthesia during surgery my post op instructions tell me no work of physical activity for a whole year. In addition I had planned to go back to school but due to my physical health; my vocational rehab was denied until I recover.
.... So here I am now one of those guys, and while I still have a roof over my head this month, my 3 children and I have an eviction notice for next.
I was able to at least work a menial job to pay the rent before the surgery, now I can barely put my own shoes on.

I mostly see for lack of a better term "fluff stories" about the VA
not looking for sympathy or anything, I just feel if more guys like me could get their stories out things may change.
I'm an OIF/ OEF vet and I know I'm not the first generation of Veterans to get screwed.
I appreciate this proposition, but really feel this shouldn't be the State's responsibility. If the VA wasn't such an utter mess these funds could probably go towards maybe .... solving the water shortage in California?

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | May 5, 2014 at 10:58 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

I am all for this Bill. Our veterans have been ill-treated (see GMFuzzy's comment) since the Bonus Army after WW I. We ask them to give their all and then stonewall them when it comes to helping out later. If the State can help, let it happen. Keep these patriots from living on the streets.

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Avatar for user 'jennywaggo'

jennywaggo | May 5, 2014 at 5:41 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for sharing the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund video we produced with the California Channel.

We also have information online which is nonpartisan, fair and balanced to help people understand the Pros and Cons of the ballot measure:

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