California governor seeks $1 billion to target homelessness

by DON THOMPSON Associated Press

 

A billion-dollar investment last year has yet to curtail California’s growing homeless crisis, and with the state awash in revenue, Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to spend a billion more on programs aimed at getting people off the streets.

He signed an executive order Wednesday creating what he intends to be a $750 million fund that providers could tap to pay rents, fund affordable housing or aid boarding and care homes. Newsom also wants to use vacant state property to house homeless people and is seeking changes to the state’s Medicaid program to increase spending on preventive health care.

In addition, the Democratic governor said the final portion of $650 million in emergency homeless aid to cities and counties approved in June was being released Wednesday after a final federal homelessness count.

The report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found California’s homeless population increased 16% last year, to about 151,000 people. That’s more than a quarter of the national total.

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