Nov 4, 2022 - Politics

Gov. Newsom pauses $1 billion in homelessness funding

Photo illustration of California Governor Gavin Newsom with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios; Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced the state will withhold $1 billion in funding from local governments, saying their strategies to combat homelessness are "simply unacceptable."

Why it matters: California is in the throes a homelessness crisis. By withholding money, Newsom intends to incentivize city and county leaders to pursue more ambitious plans to address housing challenges.

State of play: Collectively, the proposals outlined by local governments would result in a 2% decrease in homelessness over the next four years.

  • At that pace, Newsom said, it would take decades to "significantly curb homelessness" in the state.
  • The $1 billion Newsom is withholding is part of the Homelessness Housing, Assistance and Prevention state grants. The state has deployed two rounds of funding to local governments through the program since fiscal year 2019-2020, totaling $950 million, per the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

What they're saying: "As a state, we are failing to meet the urgency of this moment," Newsom said in a statement.

By the numbers: San Francisco's unhoused population has decreased by 3.5% since 2019, to 7,754 in 2022, per the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing's point-in-time count in February.

  • District 6, which includes SOMA, had the city's highest number of unhoused people (3,848).

What to watch: Newsom will convene local leaders later this month to review how California is combatting homelessness, to discuss strategies to address the crisis, and come up with more impactful plans.


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