Berkeley parks

Newsom expands its offer to clean up camps – CalMatters

In summary

In his budget proposal, Gov. Gavin Newsom underscored his support for cities to end homeless settlements, but acknowledged it was only a bridge to permanent housing.

In his January budget proposal to the state legislature, Gov. Gavin Newsom gave a clear message: California must get people off the streets.

“I don’t want to see people die on the streets anymore and call it compassion,” Newsom said on Monday, retailer his $ 286.4 billion plan. “There is nothing compassionate about someone dying on the street or stepping over someone on the street or on the sidewalks.”

Newsom proposed $ 2 billion to tackle homelessness in California – including $ 1.5 billion to buy and set up “little houses” and other temporary shelter options, which tend to fall well short of needs and which, he acknowledged, does not would only be a “bridge” to permanent housing with services.

While substantial, the governor’s request is paltry compared to the funding he and the legislature approved last year – $ 12 billion to primarily create homeless housing and residential schools and care facilities, as well as to finance affordable, green-lit housing projects.

“What we are offering this year is extra money to find a bridge to permanent supportive housing, and these are mini-houses, which provide treatment, housing for houses and shelters in the interval, “Newsom said.

The governor predicted that the money would mean 11,000 more beds for homeless people, on top of the 44,000 that will be created with last year’s budget.

“There is nothing compassionate about someone dying on the street or stepping over someone on the street or on the sidewalks.”

govt. Gavin Newsom, discussing his budget proposal on homelessness

The remaining $ 500 million in homelessness dollars would go towards grants to local governments to relocate people living in settlements on wasteland and highway overpasses – a tenfold increase over funding approved l last year and will be distributed this summer.

Demand has so far exceeded supply, according to the agency responsible for reviewing grant applications: On January 6, the state agency for business, consumer services and housing announced that ‘she had received requests for $ 120 million from more than 26 cities and 10 counties.

Christopher Martin, legislative counsel for California Housing, deplored the lack of funds to move homeless people more quickly to existing housing.

“There isn’t a penny here that goes towards rent assistance or permanent housing,” he said. “Building shelters and treatment beds takes time. It will take years. These people are grappling with the elements today.

However, housing subsidies to keep people housed in their homes are also running out. The state has received requests for relief totaling $ 6.8 billion, according to its dashboard, but received $ 5.2 billion from the federal government, about half of which administer local jurisdictions.

The agency had previously expressed confidence that the need would be met by another round of federal funding, but in response to California’s request for $ 1.9 billion from the US Treasury Department, the state did not receive as $ 62 million on Friday, Newsom said.

“And so, for the purposes of this budget, we seek to continue to engage directly with the Treasury, the Biden administration, as we have been, and directly with legislative leaders,” he added.

Housing and climate change

Newsom’s plan to tackle California’s housing crisis totals an additional $ 2 billion and prioritizes state climate goals.

“I just want to strengthen, to some extent… move away from housing investments that don’t focus on climate, health, integration of downtown schools, jobs, parks and restaurants.” , Newsom said.

This includes around $ 800 million in grants to develop units and the infrastructure that surrounds them primarily in city centers, “in this space away from urban sprawl,” the governor said. The idea is to avoid building in areas prone to forest fires and to avoid greenhouse gas emissions resulting from long commutes.

Of that money, Newsom wants to set aside $ 100 million to help offset the high costs that make it difficult to turn old offices and other buildings into apartments – a practice found by UC Berkeley’s Terner Center is most common in Los Angeles. In addition to prioritizing downtown buildings, the grant helps meet the state’s climate goals by slash the main culprit in construction waste: demolition. The remaining $ 100 million would be used to finance affordable housing on surplus land already owned by the state.

The other billion dollars of Newsom’s housing budget is more specifically earmarked for affordable housing for the poor, with $ 500 million earmarked for the largest source of developer funding to build subsidized housing, the tax credit for housing for low-income people. The remaining $ 500 million is divided into several measures, including $ 200 million to preserve the deterioration of affordable housing in downtown areas and $ 100 million to rehabilitate mobile home parks.

Matt Schwartz, president and CEO of the nonprofit California Housing Partnership, said he applauds the new “short-term investments” the money will not be enough to build the $ 1.2 million. housing that his group believes the state needs by 2030.

“It’s time for the governor and heads of state to move beyond proposing another year of short-term aid and instead commit to a long-term plan with investments. supported at the scale needed to address homelessness and housing affordability crises and tackle climate change, ”says Schwartz.

The California League of Cities was more positive on Newsom’s plan.

“The proposal takes into account promises made last year by the state to continue investing in housing production, as well as housing coupled with mental health services for the homeless,” said Carolyn Coleman, CEO of the league, in a statement. “These proposed investments are an essential down payment by the state on the long-term financing needed to resolve a crisis that has lasted for decades.”