In San Diego, Governor Newsom Highlights Plan to Confront Homelessness Crisis
SAN DIEGO, CA (STL.News) Following the unveiling of his California Blueprint, Governor Gavin Newsom visited a homeless encampment in San Diego to highlight his proposed additional $2 billion package – for a total of $14 billion – to the state’s multi-year plan to confront the homelessness crisis, which will create 55,000 new housing units and treatment slots when fully implemented.
“This past year, California has been able to move 58,000 individuals off our streets and into the housing and treatment they desperately needed,” said Governor Newsom. “The California Blueprint will double down on those efforts, focusing on clearing encampments, while also setting the groundwork for long-term systemic change with significant investments in mental health and substance abuse treatment to get vulnerable people off the streets.”
Under Governor Newsom’s nation-leading Project Roomkey and Homekey programs, California has provided temporary shelter for 50,000 Californians and helped another 8,000 secure more permanent housing through the state’s purchase of motels, hotels and other buildings. In 2021, Governor Newsom invested a historic $12 billion to help get the most vulnerable people off the streets and into the mental and behavioral health services they need. The California Blueprint will bolster last year’s investments with an additional $1.5 billion for Behavioral Health Bridge Housing to get people off the street and into treatment, and $500 million toward Encampment Resolution Grants for local jurisdictions to implement short- and long-term rehousing strategies for people experiencing homelessness in encampments around the state.
The California Blueprint also expands Governor Newsom’s Returning Home Well program, a pandemic response to provide transitional housing and mental health services to people exiting incarceration – a population particularly vulnerable to living unhoused upon release. Further, the Blueprint calls for expanding Medi-Cal benefits to include mobile crisis response. For the first time ever, California will support mobile crisis response as a covered benefit under Medi-Cal for everyone eligible – investing $1.4 billion over five years so that people experiencing homelessness will receive better, more timely behavioral health care, especially in times of crisis.
“Behavioral health and homelessness are inextricably linked, and we have the chance to invest in the former to help prevent the latter,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “Governor Newsom’s proposal will ??help expand access to housing and medical support for vulnerable populations with complex behavioral health conditions and people living in encampments.”
The Governor highlighted the state’s work to confront the homelessness crisis – one of the most vexing issues facing California – while visiting a homeless encampment in San Diego. Caltrans is working with the City of San Diego and its service provider, City Net, on dedicated outreach to people living at encampments on Caltrans right-of-way. Under its contract with the City of San Diego, City Net is deploying three outreach teams that will work with the San Diego Housing Commission and its current network of providers on shelter placements and wraparound supportive services, including transportation, case management and emergency mental-health support.
“Once again, Governor Newsom has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to confronting the homelessness crisis head on by proposing a continued budget investment in programs that will help communities like San Diego move unsheltered folks off the street and on a path to supportive services and permanent housing,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who joined the Governor today. “I thank him for coming to San Diego today to highlight our program to reach out to residents living alongside our freeways and connect them to the safety of our shelters and the help they need to end their homelessness.”
Taken together, the Governor’s multi-year investments will expand the work accomplished through Project Roomkey and Homekey, which provided shelter to avoid COVID-19 exposure for over 58,000 unhoused Californians and created 6,000 new units for Californians exiting homelessness. Governor Newsom’s multibillion-dollar homeless housing investments will provide more than 55,000 new housing units and treatment slots in the coming years.
In addition to the work to get unsheltered Californians housed, the state is continuing its work to keep people facing severe economic hardship due to the pandemic in stable housing. In 2021, Governor Newsom rapidly launched a federally-funded emergency rental assistance program, distributing $1.7 billion to over 147,000 low-income California households to date. The program is lauded as one of the most successful in the nation, ensuring vulnerable Californians can pay off rental debt and avoid eviction. Earlier this month, the state launched its $1 billion California Mortgage Relief Program for homeowners who have fallen behind on home payments or reverse mortgage arrearages during the COVID-19 pandemic.