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Californians Erupt After State Can’t Account For $24 Billion

This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.
Governor Gavin Newsom

During a press conference, California Governor Gavin Newsom faced scrutiny regarding the state’s expenditure of $24 billion to address homelessness. Newsom, in a conference, disclosed that California is facing a budget deficit of at least $45 billion and proposed various cuts to state worker jobs, education programs, and healthcare services.

Funding for homelessness

As part of the proposed measures, Newsom suggested reducing funding for homelessness and housing initiatives by almost $1.2 billion, with $474 million being taken from an anti-foreclosure program aimed at preserving affordable housing. Despite the significant budget announcements and austerity measures, a reporter at the conference pressed the governor on the issue of homelessness in the state.

24 billion

An audit released in early April highlighted that California had allocated $24 billion towards combating homelessness in the past five years. However, the audit revealed a lack of consistent tracking of how this substantial sum of money contributed to alleviating the homeless crisis.

Effectiveness

During the press conference, Angela Hart from KFF Health News posed two critical questions to Governor Newsom. She inquired whether his administration had adequately assessed the effectiveness of the funds allocated for combating homelessness and expressed concern about potential public disillusionment due to the lack of visible progress despite the substantial financial investment.

Accountability plans

In response, Governor Newsom delved into the complexities of addressing these issues at the state level, especially when local governments implement varying strategies. He highlighted the incorporation of “accountability plans” within the Housing Assistance Program (HAP) to enhance oversight.

Increased efforts

Acknowledging the audit findings, Newsom admitted the need for increased efforts in addressing not only homelessness but also mental health issues.

Angela Hart

Despite his detailed response, Angela Hart pressed the governor for direct answers to her initial questions, prompting Newsom to express a willingness to revisit and elaborate on his earlier response.

State funds

Governor Newsom reiterated that the audit findings did not come as a surprise to him. He emphasized California’s significant investments and interventions in addressing homelessness, including efforts to enhance accountability by scrutinizing how state funds are utilized by local governments.

Housing accountability unit

Initially skeptical of proposed accountability frameworks, Newsom revealed the establishment of a “housing accountability unit” aimed at incorporating homelessness oversight to ensure responsible allocation of state resources. Additionally, plans are underway to reform existing funding streams to increase transparency and state supervision of local government expenditures.

Skepticism

In response to Angela Hart’s query about public skepticism towards further spending on homelessness, Governor Newsom acknowledged the importance of demonstrating tangible results. He recognized that simply increasing funding is not always the solution; the public expects to see effective outcomes from the investments made.

Budgetary areas

Angela Hart commended the governor for his comprehensive response before shifting the focus to other budgetary areas for further inquiry.

National model

Governor Newsom proceeded to highlight specific actions taken by California to address homelessness, citing examples such as the implementation of “national model” encampment resolution grants and his submission of an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court on homelessness encampments in March.

Balance

In his statement regarding the brief, Newsom emphasized the importance of finding a balance that allows for reasonable limits on camping in public spaces while upholding the dignity of individuals residing on the streets.

Combat homelessness

The scrutiny on California’s efforts to combat homelessness intensified following the release of the audit in April. With an estimated 171,000 homeless individuals in California, accounting for approximately 30% of the total homeless population in the US, the lack of a clear dataset raises questions about the effectiveness of the $24 billion allocated towards addressing the issue.

Spending

The audit highlighted a critical issue of inadequate and outdated data regarding California’s spending on homelessness programs, emphasizing that without reliable and up-to-date information, the state will lack comprehensive insights into the ongoing costs and outcomes of these initiatives.

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