By JOSH FRIEDMAN
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday he halted $1 billion in state funds for housing homeless people, arguing local officials’ plans for spending the money are inadequate.
Newsom has budgeted billions of dollars toward assisting local governments with housing homeless people. In the latest round of funding, the state was due to allocate a combined total of $1 billion to California counties, along with the 13 largest cities in the state and homeless services organizations.
The funding was conditioned upon each local government developing a state-approved plan to reduce the number of homeless people and to increase permanent housing. Current plans will not tackle the homelessness crisis fast enough, Newsom says.
“Californians demand accountability and results, not settling for the status quo,” Newsom said in a statement. “As a state, we are failing to meet the urgency of this moment. Collectively, these plans set a goal to reduce street homelessness 2% statewide by 2024. At this pace, it would take decades to significantly curb homelessness in California – this approach is simply unacceptable. Everyone has to do better – cities, counties, and the state included. We are all in this together.”
Some local government plans call for aggressive action to combat homelessness. However, others indicate double-digit increases in homelessness over four years, according to the governor’s office.
Newsom announced he will convene local government leaders at a mid-November meeting to review the state’s collective approach to homelessness and identify new strategies for tackling the problem. The meeting will allow local officials to coordinate on an approach that will deliver more substantial results, Newsom said.