Governor Newsom announces $12 billion investment to confront homelessness

On Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled the second part of his $100 billion California Comeback Plan. With a $12 billion investment to confront homelessness, this money will provide 65,000 people with housing placements, more than 300,000 people with housing stability and create 46,000 new housing units.

 

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According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), California saw a 6.8% increase in homelessness between 2019 and 2020, and a 16.2% increase between 2007 and 2020. California also accounted for more than half of all the unsheltered people in the country.

This plan includes an expansion of Homekey — a program that provides unhoused people safe shelter from COVID-19 — and other similar strategies to get housing up and running quickly. This part of the plan will invest $8.75 billion to unlock at least 46,000 new homeless housing units and affordable apartments. The plan will focus on those with the most acute needs, with at least 28,000 new beds and housing placements for people with behavioral health needs and seniors at the highest risk of homelessness. Newsom said:

“Within a year, Homekey did more to address the homelessness and affordable housing crisis than anything that’s been done in decades and became a national model. Now is the time to double down on these successful efforts.”

Newsom also hopes to functionally end family homelessness within five years through a $3.5 billion investment in homelessness prevention, rental support and new housing opportunities for people at risk of homelessness.  This $3.5 billion investment breaks down into $1.85 billion in new housing for homeless families and $1.6 billion in rental support and homelessness prevention for families. 

Newsom said this plan is designed to create accountability and efficiency.

“The California Comeback Plan invests a historic $12 billion to expand these successful programs and seeks to end family homelessness within five years. That’s the idea behind the Comeback Plan’s homelessness investments – more, faster and with accountability and efficiency stitched into the fabric of these new investments.”

The plan includes almost $50 million in targeted programs and grants to local governments, to move people out of unsafe, unhealthy encampments and into safer, more stable housing. 

Newsom’s plan aims to provide stable housing for thousands of vulnerable aged youth experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness by targeting resources through Homekey and supporting various youth-focused grant programs. 

In addition, the plan calls for stricter enforcement measures of state housing law and investments into proven strategies, ensuring local governments are meeting targets to reduce homelessness.

The Governor is also proposing an additional $1.5 billion investment to clean public spaces near highways and transform public spaces through arts and cultural projects. Newsom expects the initiative to create an estimated 15,000 jobs, including for people experiencing or exiting homelessness, at-risk youth, veterans and formerly incarcerated individuals.

The Newsom administration says “the California Comeback Plan outlines comprehensive strategies and major investments to address five of the state’s most stubborn challenges… Under Governor Newsom’s $100 billion plan, California will come roaring back from this pandemic.”

Newsom announced Thursday that California is expecting a $75.7 billion budget windfall, this is in addition to the $26 billion in pandemic assistance to the state from the federal government.