Gov. Gavin Newsom recently focused attention on California’s growing crisis of unhoused residents and signed new legislation aimed at getting them the support and services they need, according to The Associated Press.
Tens of thousands of homeless people live in cities, large and small, across the wealthiest and most populated state in the nation. Yet over $2.4 billion was spent on homeless programs in the last three years, according to the Sept. 29 article.
One of the new laws requires all of the state’s school districts and charter schools to identify and refer homeless children and their families to support services.
Unlike before, the new laws will give the state more say over how the money is spent.
The state’s prior homelessness council will be replaced with the California Interagency Council on Homelessness. This newly formed group will consist of directors of a half dozen state agencies.
Public perception of the homeless problem is something Newsom recently addressed in a Los Angeles news conference.
“We live in a situational world where people want to see results immediately,” he said. “But when it comes to these issues, it takes years and years to see those results.”
California’s new budget includes $7.4 billion to pay for 30 housing and homeless programs, and totals over $12 billion in the next two years, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Local governments won’t be able to get the money without a plan.
“No plan, no money,” Newsom said. “We’re coming in not just with sticks, but with real carrots.”
A federal judge recently overturned a ruling requiring the city and county of Los Angeles to find homes for all of its residents of the city’s “Skid Row.”
One hundred “high profile” homeless encampments have been identified across the state, and Newsom has “attached timelines and strategies to begin to clean them up permanently.”
Homeless with chronic health conditions will benefit from a new law that prioritizes and directs California’s share of the National Housing Trust Fund to go towards their housing, reported AP. California is projected to receive $130 million from the Fund.