Governor Gavin Newsom allocated $300 million for Encampment Resolution Grants to address homelessness in California.
Homelessness Under Newsom
Despite Newsom’s administration, homelessness in California has increased, leading to ongoing challenges for the governor.
Newsom employs a dual strategy of increased funding and stricter measures to tackle homelessness.
The Encampment Resolution Grants combine financial support with a commitment to address the root causes of homelessness.
Newsom clarifies that the funds are not solely for clearing encampments but also for providing shelter and addressing underlying issues.
Cities seeking grants must demonstrate plans for housing solutions and meet specific criteria set by the state.
Governor Newsom emphasizes the importance of displacing people, resolving the root issues, and supporting individuals to achieve self-sufficiency.
Blowback From Advocates
Despite the funding announcement, advocates for the homeless express concerns that Newsom focuses more on encampment sweeps than on permanent solutions.
Criticism surfaces over the impracticality of housing 10.5k people in San Francisco’s modest one-bedroom apartments for a year, given the widespread homelessness across various cities.
Acknowledgment that the grants will be distributed statewide, recognizing that homelessness is not limited to specific regions.
Grant Application Requirements
Cities applying for grants must meet specific conditions, including providing maps of targeted encampments, detailing the number of affected individuals, and presenting housing plans.
Half of the allocated funds go to Caltrans, a state transportation agency involved in encampment clearance, which raised concerns about the primary focus on clearing rather than housing.
Recent encampment sweeps by APEC and an ongoing lawsuit challenging the legality of such actions add complexity to Newsom’s approach.
Specific Goals and Standards
Newsom emphasized that the grants have specific numeric goals, minimum expectations, and standards to ensure accountability.
Despite Caltrans’ involvement in encampment clearance, questions arose about its capacity to contribute significantly to housing solutions.
Cities have until June 2024 to apply for the grant money, marking a timeline for local authorities to present viable plans to address homelessness in their jurisdictions.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sheila Fitzgerald. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.