With the number of homeless individuals growing from year to year at a frighteningly fast rate, addressing some of the key factors contributing to this growing demographic has come to the attention of many around the nation. Inadequate wages, affordable housing options, and equitable access to healthcare services stand in the way of those seeking shelter. But when changing your stars requires a physical address to advance, those who are already homeless face the biggest battle of all in trying to improve their living conditions. Recognizing and ready to tackle the homeless crisis in California is Governor Newsom, who has pledged a staggering amount, nearing $200 million in new state funds to help individuals transition from encampments to housing.

This past April 18th, Governor Newsom held a virtual press conference where he announced his plans to aid homeless people in California find stable housing. The grant money, totaling $192 million, will go to a collection of designated California cities and counties to be used in developing new housing for this population. These awards are administered by the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) and are part of the state’s Encampment Resolution Fund (ERF) grants. The grant money will help support 20 projects in 17 communities in The Golden State to help people transition into stable housing.

But Governor Newsom pledges to do more than provide grant money to tackle California homelessness—he is also holding cities accountable. 

In his press conference last Thursday, Governor Newsom stated, “This new funding will get people out of tents and into housing across California. As the state provides unprecedented resources like this, we also expect accountability. Local governments must ensure this funding is being utilized on the ground.” To ensure accountability expectations are met, the California governor discussed new measures aimed at increasing supervision of state homelessness funding to ensure accountability by local jurisdictions.

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To assist Governor Nesom in directing grant money, 22 state personnel from a housing enforcement unit have been moved to help the designated communities succeed in projects that reduce the homeless population. These personnel are authorized to crack down on communities that fail to do so. 

Cal ICH Executive Officer Meghan Marshall advocated for “All 17 communities [who] had strong proposals that will help people transition from encampments and onto pathways to housing.” Other leaders also praised the governor’s plan, with Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency Secretary Tomiquia Moss, who co-chairs Cal ICH, stating that this initiative “focuses on providing the person-centered local solutions that will ensure that unsheltered Californians are connected to the appropriate housing and supportive services they need to achieve long-term stability.”

Governor Newsom was transparent and assertive in his focus on reducing the homeless population, stating, “I’m not interested in funding failure any longer… Encampments, what’s happening on the streets, has to be a top priority. People have to see and feel the progress and the change. And if they’re not, or counties are turning their back … I’m not interested in continuing the status quo.”