Homeless & Hungry

California Governor Newsom Makes $1.4 Billion Proposal To Combat Homelessness

The housing crisis in California is nothing new. Recently Oakland’s city councilwoman, Rebecca Kaplan, proposed a bill that would convert cruise ships into potential housing for those without. Now, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, is pushing for a plan that would require California lawmakers to provide $1.4 billion to combat the homeless crisis. 

The money would be going towards rent payments, building supplies/labor for more shelters, and assistance programs for those struggling to get back onto their feet. Along with this proposal, Newsom also signed a new executive order that requires real estate agencies to locate public properties throughout the state that can be used for short-term emergency shelters in cases of extreme weather, and general unsafe circumstances that homeless individuals might find themselves in. 

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“Homelessness is a national crisis, one that’s spreading across the West Coast and cities across the country. The state of California is treating it as a real emergency — because it is one. [This] budget proposal on homelessness a involves a massive infusion of state dollars,”  Newsom said in a statement.

The executive order will also provide 100 camping trailers as temporary housing, and will call for the development of a new government task force that’s main focus is helping people get off the streets. 

Newsom stated that this order, along with the $1.4 billion proposal, has been a long time coming, and for California especially it couldn’t have come at a better time. According to a report done by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development there are currently 151,000 people living in California without a home. That number also makes up for a quarter of the entire nation’s homeless population. 

In general, the housing crisis in America has been moving slowly on the right track. Most states have shown a decrease in homelessness rates within the past few years, however, for California the opposite has been occuring. In fact the homeless population in California has increased by 16% this year alone. 

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California Governor Gavin Newsom

“Californians have lots of compassion for those among us who are living without shelter. But we also know what compassion isn’t. Compassion isn’t allowing a person suffering a severe psychotic break or from a lethal substance abuse addiction to literally drift towards death on our streets and sidewalks,” Newsom said.

Newsom spoke with extreme conviction and passion as he made the billion dollar proposal. According to reports, the proposal itself will be sent to California lawmakers on Friday (1/10). Newsom broke down the logistics of the budget, stating that a majority of it, approximately $750 million, will go towards paying rent for individuals who can’t, and building new housing. 

The remainder of the money, approximately $695 million, will go towards funding for California’s Medicaid program. The hope is that the additional money will allow Medicaid to expand its programs for homeless individuals specifically who are in their current housing situation due to medical treatments that are too expensive. Too many individuals can’t afford housing because of their expensive medical costs for diseases that are unpreventable. Newsom’s hope is that anyone who is diagnosed with a disease won’t have to worry about losing their home to afford treatment. 

As previously stated, Newsom will be making the official proposal this Friday, along with the formal state budget for California in 2020. California legislatures will have until June 15th to officially pass the budget and deal.