California Governor Pushing for $1.4 Billion Plan to Tackle Homelessness

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce a $1.4 billion plan to address the growing homelessness crisis in the state. The money will go towards assisting in paying monthly rents, building more shelters, and provide treatment for those struggling with finding long-term housing. 

Newsom has also signed an executive order that will have agencies searching for public properties near state roads and highways that can be used for short-term shelters to provide emergency housing. An additional 100 camping trailers will be provided by the state for temporary housing along with a multi-agency strike team that will provide assistance in getting people off the streets. 

California is the number one state for number of homeless residents, accounting for more than a quarter of the nation’s homeless population with 151,000 people. A report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development showed that while most states’ homeless populations have declined, California experienced a 16% jump in one year. 

“Affordable housing problems are a massive and overwhelming contributor,” said a top HUD official, speaking on background. “Certainly any efforts to make housing more affordable and to increase the supply of affordable housing and to increase the development of housing. Those are all going to be important to turning the ship around and reducing homelessness.”

The $1.5 billion plan will be sent to lawmakers this Friday, with Newsom released a statement saying “Homelessness is a national crisis, one that’s spreading across the West Coast and cities across the country. The state of California is treating it as a real emergency — because it is one.”

A large portion of the money, totaling $750 million, will be put towards a special fund that will assist in paying the rent of individuals facing homelessness as well as influencing the building of more affordable housing. Another large piece of the funding, totaling $695 million, will be used to bolster the state’s Medicaid programs in an expansion to include services for homeless individuals. The entirety of the fund will be drawn from a surplus of tax revenue collections the state expect to receive this coming year, totaling $7 billion

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