A new statewide measure designed to strengthen California’s mental health system and address the state’s rise in homelessness is expected to pass in the coming days, but the tight margins show just how much support Gov. Gavin Newsom is losing among voters in The Golden State. Here’s everything you need to know before the results are finalized!

What Is Proposition 1?

Proposition 1 is a new statewide measure that appeared on the March 5 ballot. It would amend the Mental Health Services Act in an effort to provide additional behavioral health services to those who need it most.

Source: D-Keine from Getty Images Signature via Canva

If passed, the measure would allow the state to award more than $6.4 billion in bonds to ‘build mental health treatment facilities for those with mental health and substance use challenges.’ It would also provide additional housing opportunities for homeless people.

Arguments For Prop 1

Proposition 1 has received a lot of support from law enforcement, firefighters, the California Hospital Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness California, and a slew of mayors from some of the state’s biggest cities.

Source: Adobe Stock

The argument for Prop 1 is that it would address one of the biggest issues facing the state right now – mental health, addiction, and homelessness. The $6.4 billion would go directly to new treatment centers and affordable housing – ensuring they receive proper care.

Arguments Against Prop 1

While it has garnered a lot of support, the same can be said about the opposition – which includes Mental Health America of California, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, CalVoices, the League of Women Voters of California, and other mental health and disability groups.

Source: Adobe Stock

Many people believe Prop 1 might undermine the programs designed to prevent homelessness in the first place. Others argue that it’s too big and expensive of a measure to justify what they believe would be minimal results.

Results Will Be Certified By April 12

It was the only statewide measure on the March 5 ballot. With more than 90% of the votes already being counted, many people expect the final tally to be released in the coming days – but the government says it could take until April 12 to certify the results.

Source: Adobe Stock

If the counting were to stop right now, the measure would pass by a slim margin. There are currently 3,527,397 votes (50.1%) for Prop 1, and 3,507,386 votes (49.9%) against Prop 1 – a difference of just 20,000 votes.

California’s Homeless Problem Getting Worse

Homelessness is rising across the United States, but nothing is quite as bad as California. Despite accounting for just over 10% of the country’s population, The Golden State accounts for more than 28% of its homeless population – meaning 1 out of every 4 homeless people live in California.


As of right now, there are more than 180,000 homeless people in California – an increase of more than 10,000 people since 2022. Of those 180,000 people, nearly 70% of them are unsheltered – which is why the state is desperate for more housing and treatment centers.

Voters Are Reluctant To Spend

Despite the obvious need, more than 3.5 million voters don’t want Prop 1 signed into law – and it might have something to do with the record $73 billion budget deficit the state is currently facing. Many voters seem reluctant to spend, and rightfully so.

Source: Flickr

That deficit was originally projected at $58 billion following a $292 billion budget proposal for 2024-25. In February, the Legislative Analyst’s Office projected the deficit as $15 billion higher due to low state tax revenues.

State Senator Says Newson Is Disappointed

Dave Cortese, who currently represents District 15 (most of Santa Clara County) in the State Senate, described the measure as a ‘cornerstone piece of legislation’ for Gov. Newsom. “It’s a big disappointment for Newsom and his team that the vote was this close,” he added.

Source: Flickr/Dave Cortese

Cortese was the co-chairman of the $950 million “Measure A” affordable housing bond and the All the Way Home campaign that has housed 1,940 of the County’s veterans. Fixing the housing and homeless issue in Santa Clara (and California, as a whole) is very important to him.

Spokesperson for Newsom Describes It As A Big Win

Anthony York, a Senior Advisor for Communications for the Office of the Governor and spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom, didn’t seem too disappointed by the result. In fact, he highlighted the beauty of such a small win.

Source: Wikimedia/Government of California

“Sometimes big victories are won by small margins. Prop. 1 is the most significant reform to our mental health system in decades,” York said in a statement – echoing what Cortese said about this being a ‘cornerstone’ measure for the Governor.

Close Call, But Everyone Expects Bill To Pass

Everyone knows how close the vote is right now, but there’s a growing agreement that the vote will pass. Not only do Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 in California, but experts are claiming that a majority of the early votes were Republican.

Source: Wikimedia/Charlie Nguyen

While we won’t know for sure for another few days (or weeks), don’t be surprised if Newsom gets to celebrate a small, yet important win for mental health and homelessness in the near future.

Ron Galperin Says People Are Frustrated

Ron Galperin, who served as the 19th City Controller of Los Angeles from 2013 to 2022, couldn’t help but point out how frustrated voters are right now—not just at how much money the government is spending but also at the limited results they’re seeing as a result.

Source: Flickr/Ron Galperin

“People are frustrated with the fact that there is a significant amount of money being spent by cities, counties, the state and the federal government relating to homelessness, and they’re not seeing the kind of results that they would like to see,” he said Ron Galperin.

HomeKey Doing Its Part In Building Homes

Project HomeKey, a $1.4 billion statewide initiative commissioned by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), was launched in 2020. It aims to reduce and prevent homelessness in California by building affordable homes.

Source: Adobe Stock

As of February 2024, the initiative has helped fund 15,319 new homes and aims to fund more than 167,164 homes over the project’s lifetime. It has already funded more than 250 projects over the past four years.

CARE Court Not As Effective As Advertised

The Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court is another initiative supported by Gov. Gavin Newsom. It was signed into law in 2022 and aims to ‘to get people with mental health and substance use disorders the support and care they need.’

Source: Adobe Stock

It does this by creating specialized courts that offer voluntary treatment and services for those with mental health, addiction, or substance use issues. Of course, many people have been skeptical of its effectiveness over the past few years.