After reviewing homelessness plans submitted by California cities and counties, Gov. Gavin Newsom decided to pause state funding and asked state leaders to “do better.”

Newsom said the submitted plans would result in a 2% reduction in homelessness by 2024, with some city plans resulting in increases over the next four years. By that measure, it would take decades to make significant progress with homelessness issues.

“Californians demand accountability and results, not settling for the status quo,” Newsom said in a Nov 3 statement. “As a state, we are failing to meet the urgency of this moment. Collectively, these plans set a goal to reduce street homelessness 2% statewide by 2024. At this pace, it would take decades to significantly curb homelessness in California – this approach is simply unacceptable. Everyone has to do better – cities, counties, and the state included. We are all in this together.”

The governor had hinted at a more aggressive approach during his gubernatorial debate on October 28, saying the state would hold local governments accountable for better plans.

“It’s unconscionable what’s happening on the streets and sidewalks, that’s why we’re requiring accountability plans,” Newsom said during the debate. “We’re not going to hand out any money any longer if local governments can’t produce real results. When I got here there was no homeless strategy. No plan. No resources of any merit.”

Newsom now plans to meet with local leaders in mid-November and if a plan can be agreed upon, the billion-dollar round of Homeless, Housing and Assistance Program funding may be distributed to the 13 largest cities in the state.

The 2022-2023 state budget dedicated $1.9 billion to three major homelessness-related programs within  the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) and the California Department of Housing  (HCD), with $700 million allocated to encampment resolutions.

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