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California lawmakers propose $2 billion plan to aid homeless []

SACRAMENTO – California would spend more than $2 billion on permanent housing to help the nation’s largest homeless population, under a proposal outlined by state senators on Monday.

The housing bond would be enough to construct more than 10,000 housing units when it’s combined with other federal and local money, estimated Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles.

The bond would be repaid with money from Proposition 63, the 2004 ballot measure that added a 1 percent tax on incomes over $1 million to pay for mental health treatment.

Homelessness has become a growing issue across the state.

Backers say about 114,000 people are homeless in California, more than a fifth of the nation’s homeless population.

Los Angeles’ homeless population increased more than 10 percent in the last two years, to more than 40,000.

The Los Angeles City Council declared a homelessness crisis in November as it prepared to change city ordinances to let people temporarily live in their cars and sleep on sidewalks. In October, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared a “shelter crisis” because of concerns that strong winter storms could flood homeless camped along riverbeds and storm drains.

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