Gavin Newsom- The Governor of California, agreed to transfer $1 billion in state funds for homelessness that he had testily delayed earlier this month, but only if local governments promised to increase the aggression of their future plans to reduce the state’s poor and homeless population.
The Democratic governor claimed that his afternoon meeting with around 100 mayors and local authorities on Friday, both in person and online, was successful, with participants coming to an agreement on what needed to be done and being ready to forward their goals.
It was good to hear of their growth. And it was great to hear their understanding that we need to get to another level,” he told reporters after the more than two-hour discussion. “Everyone wants to see California’s streets cleaned, and that is what I want to see. Cleanup of encampments and housing for people are things we need to see.
In his second term, Newsom, who easily won reelection last month, must show reductions in the rising number of homeless people, some of whom sleep rough on city sidewalks and under overpasses, upsetting even the most liberal voters in the nation’s most populated state.
He shocked the state two weeks ago when he declared that he would withhold $1 billion in funding till cities and counties developed more detailed plans, calling the plans that had been submitted “simply unacceptable” because they would reduce the state’s homeless population by 2% over the next 4 years.
Mayors, county officials, many of them are Democrats, and advocates of affordable housing rejected his attempt to withhold funding, arguing that doing so would be ineffective given the need for shelter beds, social workers, and other services for the homeless. They begged the governor for clear guidelines as well as ongoing, guaranteed funds to develop more ambitious goals.
On Friday, he confirmed the record amount of funds his administration has spent on housing and homelessness, mentioning, the recent decision by the state legislature to invest $15.3 billion over the coming three years. Tens of thousands of people had been kept occupied thanks to the money, he claimed, but he also confirmed that many people were still sleeping on the streets.
However, finding extra dedicated funding as we enter what may be a crisis with the challenges requires one to be sober about it, as they are with their budgets, Newsom said he had no intention of leaving local governments.