Local News

Gavin Newsom Withholds Funding Until Homelessness Tackled

By: Jordan Chan


After reviewing local governments’ plans to reduce homelessness, on Nov. 3, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his decision to withhold millions of dollars in aid until city and county leaders take a more aggressive approach to tackling the homelessness crisis. He intends to meet with local officials in mid-November to identify current weaknesses impeding progress and devise new strategies to reduce homelessness over the next couple of years. 

Newsom’s announcement specifically concerns Homelessness Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) grants, which provided over 1.5 billion dollars of flexible emergency aid funds to local governments during their first two rounds of implementation. The third round will provide shares of one billion dollars to all counties, the 13 largest cities in California, and the Continuum of Care Program. According to the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom, “recipients of the third round of HHAP funding have new requirements and must create a Homelessness Action Plan that addresses, in detail, local actions to prevent and reduce the number of individuals experiencing homelessness at the community level.” These plans must also “include outcome driven-results and strategies…using clear metrics to track success.” HHAP is part of a larger 15.3-billion-dollar state plan that addresses homelessness, which boasts the “largest expansion of homeless housing in California history.” 

Newsom explained that, as they are now, local plans to reduce homelessness would only reduce statewide homelessness two percent 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.” In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he stated, “Deliver damn results. It’s a crisis. Act like it….[I’m] exhausted by the excuses.”

Local government leaders and California citizens have criticized Newsom for his decision. It prevents San Francisco from accessing 47.3 million dollars that the California government previously promised to allocate to the city. In a written statement, Mayor London Breed said, “While we welcome accountability, now is not the time to delay funds that will help get people off the street. Now is not the time to create more hoops for local governments to jump through without any clear explanation of what’s required…we need [more] collaboration and clarity from the state.” Similarly, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf stated that Newsom’s announcement left her “perplexed.”

(Sources: LA Times, Cal Matters, Politico, SF Chronicle, CA.gov)

Categories: Local News, News

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