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California Housing for Homeless program names Toni Atkins as legislator of the year

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Corporation for Supportive Housing of California (CSH) has selected Assembly Majority Floor Leader Toni Atkins as its 2012 Legislator of the Year in recognition of her continuing leadership in the arena of reducing homelessness and increasing the availability of affordable housing in California.

The honor was formally awarded Wednesday night at the CSH Supportive Housing Quality Awards banquet at the Marriott City Center Hotel in Oakland, Calif.

CSH is a nationally recognized leader in helping communities create permanent housing which incorporates health and social services and is designed to prevent and reduce homelessness. This model, called supportive housing, is considered the cutting edge solution to homelessness among vulnerable populations such as veterans, children in foster care, seniors, and those with health and substance abuse challenges.

“I am very honored by this award because it comes from a group of professionals who are leading the way in addressing one of society’s most stubborn and shameful challenges – finding homes for our neighbors who have none,” Atkins said. “Their recognition is high praise and I look forward to a continued partnership with CSH in the years to come.”

Atkins has made housing and homelessness a priority since being elected in 2010. She was appointed by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez as chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Homelessness, which has held hearings throughout the state on local, state and federal approaches to ending homelessness for particular groups, including veterans, youth and families.

As the chair of the Assembly Working Group on Redevelopment, she led discussions on how to replace affordable housing funds previously set aside by Redevelopment Agencies, which were eliminated earlier this year. Notable among these efforts were her bill AB 1951, through which money from underutilized housing funds created by voters through Prop 1C in 2006 will be re-directed to affordable housing projects and AB 1585, Speaker John A. Pérez’s bill of which she was a principal co-author. Together these new laws will put more than $80 million in voter-approved housing funds to work where they are needed most.

Atkins has battled for affordable housing throughout her career in public service, leading the charge to enact the nation’s first Housing State of Emergency in the City of San Diego as a member of the City Council. She also worked to create San Diego’s first inclusionary housing policy and secured $55 million in housing funds for the construction of new affordable housing units throughout San Diego.