By: Brian Tang
California Governor Gavin Newsom has agreed to release $1 billion in state homelessness funding that was previously put on pause in early November if he sees that local governments agree to increase the aggressiveness of their housing plans designed to reduce homelessness. Newsom made this decision after meeting with about 100 mayors and local officials; they all agreed that homelessness is a growing issue that needs to be addressed with stronger measures.
Governor Newsom had previously announced that was withholding $1B in funds until cities and counties developed more aggressive housing plans as he was unhappy with their submitted plans that aimed to reduce California’s homeless population by only 2% over the next 4 years. As a result, many mayors and county officials argued that it was counterproductive to withhold money that could be used to support the homeless population. Newsom defended his viewpoints and further argued that his administration has committed to spend $15.3B over the next 3 years on housing and homelessness.
There were some officials who backed Newsom’s decision to withhold the money, since it would effectively force local governments into taking action. Now, several applications detailing more aggressive homelessness plans have been submitted by most major cities in counties in California. Among Newsom’s requirements for the updated applications are the implementation of better practices such as including more efficient methods of getting people into housing and streamlining the building of more homes for those living in poverty.