State Watch

California Gov. Newsom seeks over $1 billion in state funds to fight homelessness


California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) previewed $1 billion in budget proposals Wednesday to lower homelessness levels across the state.

The proposal includes $750 million in a new California Access to Housing and Services Fund to tackle multiple goals for the state’s homeless population. The fund will “pay rent for individuals facing homelessness,” in addition to supporting “regions to bring on more dwelling units” and “help stabilize board and care facilities/homes,” according to a Wednesday statement.

The fund is designed to fill gaps in housing while more homeless infrastructure is built, according to the statement. Newsom also called on “philanthropy and the private sector to step up as well” to pay for the fund.

The fund will be established by an executive order Wednesday requiring state agencies to take “urgent and immediate” action by Jan. 31 to make state facilities and properties available to increase housing options for those experiencing homelessness, according to the Wednesday statement. The order also establishes a state crisis response team for communities to address homeless populations.

It also will immediately make 100 camp trailers available as temporary housing, alongside mobile health and social service clinics “across the state to communities in need.”

“The State of California is treating homelessness as a real emergency – because it is one. Californians are demanding that all levels of government – federal, state and local – do more to get people off the streets and into services – whether that’s housing, mental health services, substance abuse treatment or all of the above,” Newsom said in the Wednesday statement. 

“That’s why we’re using every tool in the toolbox – from proposing a massive new infusion of state dollars in the budget that goes directly to homeless individuals’ emergency housing and treatment programs, to building short-term emergency housing on vacant state-owned land,” he continued.

The budget proposal, to be officially unveiled later this week, also includes $695 million, growing to $1.4 billion by 2022, to fund Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid health program, and “address many challenges of chronically unsheltered populations – providing funding for tenancy support services, housing navigation services, recuperative care, and could include targeted rental assistance.”

The proposal also says behavioral health services will be “more closely integrated and act more like physical health services,” in addition to calling for pilot programs to invest in mental health needs and a “Root Causes of California Homeless Study” in addition to other programs.

An estimated 130,000 people are homeless in California on any given day, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

President Trump has frequently criticized Democratic California leaders for the homelessness levels in the state. On Monday, he tweeted, calling for the leaders to “politely ask for help” from the federal government for assistance in addressing the state’s homeless populations, but he said it is “a state and local problem, not a federal problem.”

Tags California Donald Trump Gavin Newsom Homelessness

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