Speaking last week as he toured California to size up the devastating homeless problems in the state, California governor Gavin Newsom admitted, “Let’s just be candid; the state of California has been nowhere to be found on the damn issue of homelessness.”
Newsom seemingly admitted that Democrats, who have controlled the state for years, were responsible for the problem as he continued, “We haven’t been focused on this issue; there’s a reason things are the way they are. It’s because we haven’t addressed them. It’s happened on our watch over the last decade; in particular, it’s really gotten bad over the last decade. And we were just slow to respond.”
But then Newsom oiled his way out of that, as he had served as lieutenant governor of the state between 2011 to 2019, saying furtively, “Look, we had a crisis; Governor Brown did an amazing job balancing the damn budget; we were triaging that; we had a lot of other things that were prioritized; we’ve gotten away from our focus on this.”
Then, boasts of how he will fix the problem: “And that’s why we’re not gonna let that continue or neglect advance any longer. I don’t care if there’s a downturn in the economy, that’s not gonna be an excuse for us to walk away from this. We created a $331 million annuity, regardless of recessions just on legal aid and protection; that was done in last year’s budget because of their support. There are a lot of new things that I think are going to pay great dividends. But the good news, I just want folks to know: last year, was setting everything up; this is the year we want to see results.”
Cal Matters reported of Newsom’s announcement vis-à-vis the new state budget
Newsom asked for $1.4 billion for homeless services with a focus on getting money out fast for emergency rental assistance and board-and-care facilities for the mentally ill. He also directed state agencies to review public property that can be converted to emergency housing, and to deploy 100 camp trailers from the state fleet to use as temporary shelters. The proposals come on top of $1 billion allocated last year to keep people off the streets. The governor also stood by his decision not to name a homelessness czar. “You want to know who’s the homeless czar is? I’m the homeless czar,” Newsom said.
The Los Angeles Times added, “The nonpartisan PPIC asked likely voters which one issue they thought was ‘the most important for the governor and state Legislature to work on in 2020.’ The top choice was homelessness. Nothing else came close. The results: homelessness 23%, housing costs and availability 11%, environment and climate change 9%, immigration 8%, jobs and the economy 7%. And K-12 schools — a traditional concern — didn’t even register.”
As The Daily Wire reported in December, a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) stated that California is the impetus for the overall increase of the homeless population in the United States, saying:
While the rest of the country experienced a combined decrease in homelessness in 2019, significant increases in unsheltered and chronic homelessness on the West Coast, particularly California and Oregon, offset those nationwide decreases, causing an overall increase in homelessness of 2.7 percent in 2019. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia reported declines in homelessness between 2018 and 2019, while 21 states reported increases in the number of persons experiencing homelessness. Homelessness in California increased by 21,306 people, or 16.4 percent, which is more than the total national increase of every other state combined.