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News briefing with Newsom reviews homeless housing, San Quentin prison transformation, and insulin

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks with over 60 ethnic media outlets about the latest developments in the state of California

By ONME Newswire

In this media briefing held Wednesday, March 22, 2023 with ethnic media, Governor Gavin Newsom gives a rundown of the latest news and information concerning the allotments of 1,200 tiny homes to Los Angeles, San Diego County, San Jose and Sacramento, free of charge and ready for occupancy; the progress and process of the renamed “San Quentin Rehabilitation Center”; new insulin manufacturer producing CalRX for only $30 and modernization of California’s behavioral health system and more mental health housing.

Governor Newsom announces $1 billion in homelessness funding, launches state’s largest mobilization of small homes

In mid-March, Governor Gavin Newsom joined state and local leaders, First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, advocates and other partners to announce the release of $1 billion in Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) Round 4 funding to support communities across the state stepping up their work to reduce homelessness.

Last year, Governor Newsom paused this funding to local governments and demanded greater ambition when they collectively proposed only a 2 percent reduction in unsheltered homelessness. Local governments have since revised their homelessness plans, now targeting a 15 percent reduction in homelessness statewide by 2025.

Additionally, the Governor announced the state’s largest mobilization of small homes to serve people experiencing homelessness, especially those living in encampments. The California National Guard will assist in the preparation and delivery of 1,200 small homes to Los Angeles, San Diego County, San Jose and Sacramento, free of charge and ready for occupancy. Those living in encampments will be prioritized for these new units by the local governments operating the homes and providing services.

“In California, we are using every tool in our toolbox – including the largest-ever deployment of small homes in the state – to move people off the streets and into housing," said Newsom. "The crisis of homelessness will never be solved without first solving the crisis of housing – the two issues are inextricably linked. We are tackling this issue at the root of the problem by addressing the need to create more housing, faster in California.”

Governor Newsom announces historic transformation of San Quentin State Prison

Reimagined facility will be renamed “San Quentin Rehabilitation Center” and will prioritize rehabilitation and education programs to strengthen public safety; world-renowned experts to serve on new advisory group to steer transformation

SAN QUENTIN – Governor Gavin Newsom, alongside state legislators, survivors of crime and victim advocates, and civil rights leaders, announced that San Quentin State Prison — the oldest and most notorious prison in California and home to the largest “death row” in the United States — will be transformed from a maximum-security prison into a one-of-a-kind facility focused on improving public safety through rehabilitation and education. The prison, which will be renamed “San Quentin Rehabilitation Center,” will be transformed in part under the direction of an advisory group composed of state and world-renowned rehabilitation and public safety experts. The historic effort at San Quentin, never pursued at this scale in the United States, will serve as a nationwide evidence-backed model to advance a more effective justice system that builds safer communities.

“California is transforming San Quentin – the state’s most notorious prison with a dark past – into the nation’s most innovative rehabilitation facility focused on building a brighter and safer future,” said Governor Newsom. “Today, we take the next step in our pursuit of true rehabilitation, justice, and safer communities through this evidenced-backed investment, creating a new model for safety and justice — the California Model — that will lead the nation."

“San Quentin has long challenged the status quo: In the 1940s, the warden closed the dungeons once ubiquitous to incarceration, and launched educational and vocational programs in their place,” said Advisory Group Co-Chair and San Quentin Warden Ron Broomfield. “Today, we again challenge the status quo as we reimagine San Quentin and create an environment where people are empowered to discover their full potential while pursuing educational and vocational opportunities that will prepare them for a successful future — and make our communities safer.”

“By transforming San Quentin into a place that promotes health and positive change, California is making a historic commitment to redefining the institution’s purpose in our society,” said Advisory Group Co-Chair and Professor of Medicine at the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations Dr. Brie Williams. “I look forward to lifting the voices of people who have lived or worked in prisons to imagine a center for healing trauma, repairing harm, expanding knowledge, restoring lives, and improving readiness for community return.”

The Governor’s 2023-24 budget proposal allocates $20 million to begin the reimagining and repurposing of the facility. The transformation will be led in part by an advisory group composed of criminal justice, rehabilitation, and public safety experts from around the state, nation, and world, as well as representatives of crime victims and survivors, formerly incarcerated individuals, staff, key state-level stakeholders, advocates, and volunteers. Both the existing condemned row housing unit, which is being shut down — and those housed there safely moved to other prisons to serve their sentences — and a Prison Industry Authority warehouse will be transformed into a center for innovation focused on education, rehabilitation, and breaking cycles of crime.

Governor Newsom announces $30 insulin through CalRX

DOWNEY, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom, as part of his tour of the State of California, announced that CalRx has secured a contract with a manufacturer (CIVICA), to make $30 insulin available to all who need it. The Governor also announced today that California will seek to manufacture its own Naloxone.

This was a part of Governor Newsom’s promise on his first day in office, to bring down the price of prescription drugs for Californians and increase accountability and transparency in healthcare. Californians can learn more about CalRX on the newly launched website.

“People should not be forced to go into debt to get life saving prescriptions,"said Newsom. "Through CalRx, Californians will have access to some of the most inexpensive insulin available, helping them save thousands each year. But we’re not stopping there – California will seek to make our own Naloxone as part of our plan to fight the fentanyl crisis.”

This new contractual arrangement will bring down the price of insulin by about 90%, saving cash-paying patients between $2,000 and $4,000 annually. With CalRx, and unlike private companies, Californians are getting at the underlying cost – the price is the price, and CalRx will prevent the egregious cost-shifting that happens in traditional pharmaceutical price games. It’ll cost us $30 to manufacture and distribute, and that’s how much the consumer can buy it for. Patients will not need a voucher or coupon to access this price, and it’s available to everybody regardless of their insurance plan. This is a crucial step in not just cutting the cost for the consumer, but cutting costs across the board in order to bring cheaper prescription drugs to all Californians.

“To address the affordability crisis in California, we have to address the high cost of prescription drugs,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “The CalRx Biosimilar Insulin Initiative will benefit Californians who are today paying too much for a medication that we know is life saving and life altering.”


  • A 10mL vial will be made available for no more than $30 (normally $300)

  • A box of 5 pre-filled 3mL pens will be made available for no more than $55 (normally more than $500)

  • No new prescription will be needed. Californians will be able to ask for the CalRx generic at their local pharmacy or via mail order pharmacies. Pharmacies must agree to order/stock the product.

  • CalRx plans to make biosimilar insulins available for: Glargine, Aspart, and Lispro (expected to be interchangeable with Lantus, Humalog, and Novolog respectively)


  • As part of the State’s Master Plan to Tackle the Fentanyl Crisis, California is exploring potential next products to bring to market, like Naloxone, to aid in the State’s effort to combat fentanyl overdoses.

  • CIVICA is working with the California Health and Human Services Agency to identify a California-based manufacturing facility

Governor Newsom proposes modernization of California’s behavioral health system and more mental health housing

SAN DIEGO – Governor Gavin Newsom, in partnership with Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), has proposed the next step to modernize how California treats mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness.

An initiative would go on the 2024 ballot that would:

  1. Authorize a general obligation bond to:

    1. Build thousands of new community behavioral health beds in state-of-the-art residential settings to house Californians with mental illness and substance use disorders, which could serve over 10,000 people every year in residential-style settings that have on-site services – not in institutions of the past, but locations where people can truly heal.

    2. Provide more funding specifically for housing for homeless veterans.

  2. Amend the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), leading to at least $1 billion every year in local assistance for housing and residential services for people experiencing mental illness and substance use disorders, and allowing MHSA funds to serve people with substance use disorders.

  3. Include new accountability and oversight measures for counties to improve performance.

The MHSA was originally passed 20 years ago; it is now time to refresh it so it can better meet the challenges we face. Key changes that the Governor is proposing include: Creating a permanent source of housing funding of $1 billion a year in local assistance funds to serve people with acute behavioral health issues, focusing on Full Service Partnerships for the most seriously ill; and allowing MHSA to be used for people with substance use disorders alone.

“This is the next step in our transformation of how California addresses mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness – creating thousands of new beds, building more housing, expanding services, and more," said Newsom. "People who are struggling with these issues, especially those who are on the streets or in other vulnerable conditions, will have more resources to get the help they need.”

The Administration plans to work in close partnership with legislative leaders in this space including Senator Eggman and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), as well as with the California State Association of Counties, other critical local government stakeholders, community-based service organizations, advocates, and people with lived experience as bill language is developed.


  • $2.2 billion for the Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program.

  • $1.5 billion for Behavioral Health Bridge Housing.

  • $1.4 billion to expand and diversify the behavioral health workforce.

  • $4.7 billion Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health, of which the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative is the central component.

  • $1.4 billion to build out a Medi-Cal benefit for mobile crisis response, as well as $38 million to expand 9-8-8 and CalHOPE crisis call center.

  • Over $600 million to support community-based alternatives to state hospitalization for those who commit felonies who are incompetent to stand trial.

  • Over $1 billion to address the opioid epidemic.

  • $7 billion to reform CalAIM – enhanced care management for people with serious mental illness, a no wrong door approach to care, and more.

  • $1.6 billion proposed to implement the California Behavioral Health Community-Based Continuum Demonstration to strengthen services and supports for those who are at risk of homelessness, incarceration and foster care placements.

  • $50 million for the California Veterans Health Initiative (CVHI) for veteran suicide prevention and mental health.


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