California Gov. Gavin Newsom Dedicates $1.4 Billion To Tackle Increasing State Homelessness Problem
California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to spend $1.4 billion to counter the state’s surging homelessness problem. An executive order signed Wednesday by the Democratic governor will also create a $750 million fund that providers could use to pay rents and fund affordable housing or care homes.
He is additionally working to change the state Medicaid program to increase funding for preventive care and use vacant state property as housing for the homeless.
“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,” Newsom said in a statement.
Last year, the governor said he wanted to build housing on unused state property. The executive order allows agencies to locate public properties near state roads and highways that can be used for short-term emergency shelters, provided it does not delay building affordable housing.
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Newsom’s order also calls for using 100 camping trailers for temporary housing and the creation of a “strike team” that will counter homelessness.
A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that California had the largest homeless population of any state.
The approximate 150,000 homeless people in the state represent over a quarter of the nation’s homeless population. HUD also reported that homelessness in California increased by 16% in the past year.
President Donald Trump has frequently criticized California and Newsom for not tackling the homeless issue.
“The homeless situation in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many other Democrat Party-run cities throughout the Nation is a state and local problem, not a federal problem,” Trump tweeted on Monday.”
He continued, “If however, the city or state in question is willing to acknowledge responsibility, and politely asks for help from the Federal Government, we will very seriously consider getting involved in order to make those poorly run Democrat Cities Great Again!”
In a tweet Wednesday, Newsom criticized Trump for not dealing with the problem himself and wrote that California “is putting REAL resources into addressing homelessness.”
Unlike @realDonaldTrump — CA is putting REAL resources into addressing homelessness.
Today we put forward $1 BILLION to get people off our streets and into the programs and services they need.
CA is treating homelessness like the emergency it is. https://t.co/6HhUiUQ0cX
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) January 8, 2020
The Democrat told Politico at the last Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles that Trump has the power and funding to help California and is choosing not to for political reasons.
“Tomorrow, he can impact California’s homelessness by addressing fair market rents, with vouchers,” Newsom said. “Tomorrow, President Trump could significantly reduce homelessness in the state of California with a stroke of a pen through an executive order. He has the ability to do that, and we’ve been prescriptive in our ask,’’
He continued, “He doesn’t want to do that. Because he actually would solve a problem as opposed to generating controversy by identifying a problem.”
Newsom plans to allocate $695 million in the state’s annual budget to expand both preventative and general services for homeless individuals whose health problems have directly affect their housing. The official state budget proposal is expected on Friday.
“Californians have lots of compassion for those among us who are living without shelter. But we also know what compassion isn’t,” Newsome said. “Compassion isn’t allowing a person suffering a severe psychotic break or from a lethal substance abuse addiction to literally drift towards death on our streets and sidewalks.”
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