Big City Mayors Call On State To Approve $1B In Annual Funding To Curb Homelessness

June 10, 2021 10:00 am · 39 comments

As the California Legislature gets closer to finalizing its new fiscal budget, the Big City Mayor coalition is urging the state to stay true to the state Assembly’s recent proposal to provide an annual $1 billion in flexible funding directly to cities for four years.

“We need a financial commitment now through this budget,” San Jose Mayor and chair of the Big City Mayor coalition Sam Liccardo said. “And this challenge, and our response will define our generation’s collective legacy.”

In April, the coalition, comprised of mayors from the state’s 13 largest cities, asked for a $20 billion, five-year investment to curb homelessness — half of the state’s surplus.

While they did not get exactly what they were asking for, the mayors said it is still a notable investment that would allow cities to house thousands of more residents.

“Usually when the crisis comes the sources aren’t there, when the resources are there, the crisis isn’t there,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This is actually a match made in heaven — a problem we wish we didn’t have but finally, a solution that is right there in front of us.”

Garcetti and other big city mayors said large investments provided directly to cities and counties, like Project Roomkey and Project Housekey, is proof that this technique is effective.

Through state funding in the 20/21 fiscal year, Los Angeles was able to purchase 15 of the 20 total buildings to shelter thousands of homeless residents.

In Sacramento, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the city was able to make significant strides to help hundreds of residents get out of the cycle of homelessness, not only through housing but mental health support and other programs.

San Jose was able to build three interim housing sites and in Oakland, the city purchased homes for senior residents and other unutilized spaces to provide creative housing solutions.

In Bakersfield, state money allowed the city to double its emergency beds as well, among several other investments.

“But if the funding is not continued in some form, there will be a cliff and all of the projects that we have stood up will no longer have the funding to be able to continue,” Steinberg said.

Mayors Libby Schaaf from Oakland and Karen Goh from Bakersfield said in their respective cities, surveys found that the number one priority for residents was to solve homelessness.

“Homelessness was ranked as the number one priority of our residents and you’ve heard that from all my colleagues,” Goh said. “The impact of homelessness is felt most by our cities. Daily, we hear about the impact from our residents.”

Recent figures show that California has more than 160,000 homeless residents — the largest homeless population in the country, according to data from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The 13 cities represented by the Big City Mayor Coalition make up 29 percent of the state’s population but 59 percent of the state’s homeless population.

“This is not a group of mayors, this is the voice of California,” Garcetti said. “And certainly, the biggest chunk of this problem.”

That is why these mayors have been advocating fervently for this funding.

And with the combination of the state’s $26 billion in federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan and the state’s record surplus — mayors are saying now is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to meet the moment.

“Years from now, if we continue to see the scourge of homelessness in our community at the level we currently see it, we will be asked, and understandably will be demanded of us to say ‘what did we do when we had the opportunity to do something?'” Liccardo said. “This is that moment.”

The state is poised to approve its budget by July 1. Assuming no changes are made to the proposed homeless investment, local governments grappling with significant homeless populations should expect to see funding around August, Garcetti said.

remember June 10, 2021 at 10:04 AM

just like any good democrat, throw money at a problem, especially when it isn’t your own…

#RecallGavinNewsom

whome June 10, 2021 at 1:05 PM

…exactly, then ask for more later even when there is zero proof it is working…

Tsa June 10, 2021 at 10:10 AM

Throwing more money at the issue is not going to solve homelessness. They need to address the cause of homelessness, such as drug or alcohol abuse, mental health issues, loss of jobs, desire to live outside etc. All they are doing is moving the problem indoors and creating a “money pit” for taxpayers and giving themselves a pat on the back and self congratulating themselves.

“Give a person a fish, you feed them for a day; teach them to fish, you’ll feed them for a lifetime!

remember June 10, 2021 at 11:36 AM

Amen!!

too bad there are so many bleeding hearts with no idea that money doesn’t grow on trees

Amy June 10, 2021 at 11:41 AM

Well said Tsa.

Cranky Taco June 10, 2021 at 1:57 PM

Spend that money on mental health facilities. Not more free housing. Make vagrancy a crime again! Throwing more money in general is a waste.

stoptheinsanity June 11, 2021 at 8:00 AM

@Cranky Taco…….”Make vagrancy a crime again!” Amen, you hit the nail on the head.

MattfromConcord June 10, 2021 at 10:16 AM

Let’s hope concord and pleasant hill do something about the homeless. These 2 cities do VERY little to help these folks. All’s they do is shuffle them around from place to place.

HappyPappy June 10, 2021 at 10:22 AM

Billions of our tax dollars wasted just so those weak incompetent mayors et al can continue ignoring their own laws, statutes, regulations, and health codes. Laws are just so bothersome when one is a spineless lunatic leftist.
Sure….why not, it’s only money and we won’t be paying it back anyway! Better not tell the kids though.

RANDOM TASK June 10, 2021 at 10:23 AM

Wow
The newscum useing the lol big city mayors

Wow talk about self absorbed narcissists

Again they created the problem with sanctuary social illegals and bums

The cities gave all the affordable housing to illegals
Passing over American citizens

But of course dem voters don’t care about anyone else but pleasing dem politicians

Why none will say
But we have been slammed and had our constitutional rights taken away
In favor of us working to support illegals

Now these cities do as all dems do

Create a problem then make us pay to solve it

Go figure

What next force home owners to put a shack in our back yard a d support a bum

Don’t laugh

You never thought riots would be legal as well as stealing from others

Yet here we are

Nothing is beyond belief what a dem regime in this state will do to steal our money and oppress us

But don’t worry if you sell your home to the state you won’t have to house a bum …..you will be the one living in the shack …so yay

You dems are showing your doing real good

Come on man

Darwin June 10, 2021 at 10:25 AM

$1B in annual funding is only going to increase the problem. Build it and they will come. Throwing money at the problem has proven it does not help. You can’t help those who do not want help.

Aunt Barbara June 10, 2021 at 12:37 PM

The Mayors should concentrate on the drug use, shootinga and crime committed to save our cities. Put the transients to work, so they don’t sit around and drink and shoot up all day.

Darwin June 10, 2021 at 3:21 PM

@Aunt Barbara
I like your thoughts and agree with you. However, we have several rehab facilities not being used since the liberals passed Prop 47, making Prop 36 obsolete. The addicts are no longer court ordered to attend programs.
Also putting the vagrants to work would be considered some kind of forced labor even if they were paid. The woke liberals would cry afoul. There is no more personal accountability, everything is someone else’s fault or because of racism (manufactured racism)).

Aunt Barbara June 10, 2021 at 4:42 PM

you are right again, Darwin

nytemuvr June 10, 2021 at 4:56 PM

@Aunt Barbara…Yeah, put them to work. Give each one a leaf blower and they can keep the streets clean. We can send them over to your street first.

Pat June 10, 2021 at 10:59 AM

What happens to all the people who become homeless next year, the following year, the year after that and so on…. ?

tashaj June 10, 2021 at 11:11 AM

$20 billion divided by 160K homeless is $125K per person. Just think of it – 125 thousand dollars. $25K/year/person. That’s not counting cash handouts like social security and food stamps, which many of the homeless receive. To put things in perspective, in 2020 median personal income in states like Mississippi, New Mexico, West Virginia was $32K-$36K.
One doesn’t need a crystal ball to figure out what will happen in 5 years after all this money is spent – there will be even more homeless and there will be another demand for even more money.

So I suggest that this budget plan is approved on one condition – if after 5 years a single homeless person still remains, Libby Schaaf, Sam Liccardo, and the rest of them, State Assembly and gov included, will be required to house them personally.
Whether they’ll spare a room in their personal residences or buy them another property or provide another type of life estate, doesn’t matter.

Noj June 10, 2021 at 11:19 AM

A billion here, a billion there. Laws are on the books already, just enforce them. Over 150,000 homeless in California now (who’s counting illegal border crossers? no one). Follow the money.

remember June 10, 2021 at 11:28 AM

+1

#RecallGavinNewsom

WC June 10, 2021 at 12:08 PM

What they need is no money at the problem. No tents, no free money, no free drugs & booze, no free hotel rooms, no free little houses, no nothing. Use that money to start arresting their drug dealers and dry that up. Get rid of the Soros DAs who let them out of jail. Get rid of the no bail garbage.

The problem keeps increasing because they keep attracting bums with free stuff and no penalties. Stop it and they’ll go elsewhere.

theunforgiven June 10, 2021 at 12:16 PM

I used to have sympathy for these homeless as they were nice friendly people in the 90’s just down on their luck who really needed help but todays are just aggressive crack and meth heads who don’t give a damn about anyone. Had one flipping out throwing trash cans and chairs into the street by Kohls/wingstop off monument and another breaking glass and kicking and throwing it into traffic off clayton road. Then countless times them coming into stores stealing stuff while I’m waiting in line to pay or cursing at people who don’t give them money as they walk by on the way out.

Bob June 10, 2021 at 12:30 PM

The proper term is “feral human”

Exit 12A June 10, 2021 at 1:07 PM

.
One billion?
.
Why don’t liberals just throw cash out of helicopters?
.

Jeff (the other one) June 10, 2021 at 3:40 PM

@Exit 12A I understand the temperament of the statement, however, I would have to add/provide/comment that by throwing cash out of a helicopter would be more equitable (isn’t that the favored term lately, equity) in that anybody could grab the money, whereas by “funding’ these projects, money gets directed to companies/entities of friends/family.

miguel June 10, 2021 at 12:40 PM

A quick (and bumpy) ride down 880 will give you a firsthand look at the “unutilized spaces” and “creative housing solutions” Oakland is using taxpayer funds to put in effect. The “big city mayor” club looks and sounds a lot like a group looking at cities like San Francisco where homelessness is an industry and trying to see how they can maximize profits.

Mika June 10, 2021 at 12:54 PM

So we reward the drug addicts, anti social misfits, derelicts, etc., with free housing while some of us work 2 jobs to keep a crappy apartment roof over our heads? No wonder youth today are disenfranchised. No hope. Let the government take care of you and keep on partying.

Randy June 10, 2021 at 1:14 PM

…. why not let the residents vote on it? …. because they know it wouldn’t get approved

Chris June 10, 2021 at 1:15 PM

You could increase that number of $1B 20X and I guarantee you that money would not even come close to solving the issue at hand. Democrats love throwing money at problems and expecting favorable results to follow. Elected officials are afraid to make the tough decisions that would help to improve the homeless population. Expect more homeless to move in from surrounding states like the 1840s.

DD June 10, 2021 at 2:12 PM

Just like the lottery was going to fix the school system this will fix the homeless problem.

This problem will not even come close to being fixed until some elected leaders decide to make some tough, and unpopular, decisions.

Cautiously Informed June 10, 2021 at 2:42 PM

From the beginning of the lottery the California Democrat politicians cut schools funding equal to the dollar amount of lottery money schools got. The California schools got the shaft. That shows the politicians priorities.

DD June 10, 2021 at 3:44 PM

@Cautiously

100% Spot on.

Cautiously Informed June 10, 2021 at 2:38 PM

I remember about 3 things from school. One is the statement ‘There’s no such thing as a simple answer to a complex question’. The Democrat Politicians don’t know of or even have the ability to understand that concept. The only thing know is to take money from the working class, and throw it at worthless failed pet projects.

Gittyup June 10, 2021 at 2:46 PM

“Curb homelessness?” Is that sort of like curbing your dog?

coolKitty30 June 10, 2021 at 2:55 PM

Why should California taxpayers have to foot the bill, and increase our taxes even more in order to fix the Homelessness problem? How many programs such as Project Room Key and others are actually helping the Homeless population?
Why can’t the Mayor of numerous cities that wants California taxpayers to foot the bill give their Police stations in their cities more resources so they can do their job more efficiently instead of going with the media viewpoint of defunding the Police?
I say Defund the Politicians!

Just a Thought. . . June 10, 2021 at 2:57 PM

Go after the cause of the problem !! Do something that actually helps! Put that money toward mental health facilities.

Original G June 10, 2021 at 4:34 PM

Community Mental Health Act of 1963, signed into law by JFK ?
https://tinyurl.com/zjamdu93

Law forced mental health treatment down onto the local level, forced upon America by DEM controlled 88th congress. We see results almost daily when out in our communities, where our first responders are forced to deal with mentally ill repeatedly, until such time as their level of violence escalates into Felony charges.

Called taking the easy way out. Feckless CA state legislature, on prison overcrowding had a group think (that’s being kind) and decided to force inmate overcrowding down onto CA’s 58 counties.

Then Prop 47 basically legalized personal drug use in CA, also just about legalized property crime under $950 to support drug use.

Then there’s CA’s knight in shining armor governor with his vast years of big city experience in SF government.
newsom was mayor from 2004 – 2011.
Prior to that Member SF Board of Supervisors 1997 – 2004.

June 30, 2004, Mayor gavin newsom pledged in ten years the worst of San Francisco’s homeless problem would be gone.

In SF city government from 1997 to 2011 for 14 years.
Took his “experience” about problem of homelessness to state government as Lieutenant Governor from 2011 – 2019,
then became governor in 2019.

What does CA have to show for all those years of on the job training on big cities and “public service” experience ? ? ? ?

Unsafe streets, homelessness, mentally ill living on the streets, and a state that burns EVERY SUMMER . . . truly Stellar accomplishments.

Remember DEMs have an unlimited supply of, your money.
An look at the condition of the state you allowed them to run for you,
by voting for them.
Ever get the feeling you’re voting for the wrong people ? ? ?

To Do List June 10, 2021 at 4:36 PM

Meanwhile the California bullet train was originally supposed to cost $33 billion and be operational by 2020, but is now projected to cost $100 billion with no projected start date. I’m sure things will work out better with this project

Clam Bake June 10, 2021 at 9:18 PM

I want accountability for every single Penny that is submitted into this program. The public needs to know exactly how taxpayer funds are being utilized – (and how they are being distributed). If the homeless are not receiving these funds – we need to know why that is.

The public needs to follow up with the homeless to make sure that they really are receiving the assistance – (and if it is meeting their needs). If it isn’t – we need to audit these programs – and find out how these funds are being utilized, and what unmet needs need more attention.

It is time to build a grassroots coalition of local citizens (who have the time, energy (and skill set) willing to take this on)).

No more “foundations” that pay attorneys NOT to have to answer questions – (and demonize those of us that ask to do so). We need our own attorneys and accountants (to help with this process).

I have a background in social services – and would gladly volunteer for such an assignment. I am not an accountant (or attorney) but I have decades of experience in social services – and would gladly volunteer to help out with this.

The Fearless Spectator June 11, 2021 at 8:07 AM

Very well said, and logical. Your plan will make California a better place with responsible spending and better treatment for troubled people.

Sadly, the words “progressive” and “accountability” have never appeared in the same sentence.

Newsom wants to keep it that way.

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