The undersigned organizations that work to end homelessness are concerned by Governor Newsom’s announcement today that he is rejecting local homeless action plans required under the Homeless, Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) program. We share the Governor’s goal of ensuring that local governments act ambitiously and decisively to solve this urgent human rights crisis. At the same time, we question the choice to withhold critical grant funds already approved and committed to local emergency systems, putting existing services in jeopardy.
Recent historic investments in homelessness, affordable housing, and tenant protections are ending homelessness for tens of thousands of Californians. In fact, local homeless response systems are housing more people than ever before. Yet, given the decades of disinvestment that preceded, these recent one-time investments are only a down payment on what must be ongoing and more significant funding for the solutions we know work to end homelessness: deeply affordable housing, supportive services, and targeted homelessness prevention to curb the tide of people entering our shelters and living on our sidewalks.
Homelessness is increasing, not because State funding isn’t working, but because it’s just not enough to meet the scale of our need, especially in the face of systemic drivers like unprecedented rent increases, housing discrimination, and chronic workforce shortages largely driven by a long legacy of inconsistent public funding.
These facts do not excuse failures to solve homelessness at any level of government. However, we cannot expect local homeless response systems to make long-term, ambitious plans with only one-time state investments, and without addressing affordable housing, healthcare, tenants rights, re-entry from the criminal justice and other systems, and glaring gaps in existing safety net systems.
People experiencing homelessness have been failed by multiple systems and deserve thoughtful, strategic, and inclusive policy solutions. They are clear on what they need: permanent housing. To achieve significant reductions in rates of homelessness across California, our leaders must make it a priority to pass legislation that focuses on permanently housing Californians, and by making an ongoing financial commitment that spans beyond just a few years and at a level commensurate with the scale of our crisis and its solutions.
The following organizations and people with lived experience of homelessness support this statement:
- Brilliant Corners
- Corporation for Supportive Housing
- Destination: Home
- Housing California
- National Alliance to End Homelessness
- The People Concern
- Safe Place for Youth
- Union Station Homeless Services
- Western Center on Law & Poverty
- Zella Knight, Residents United Network, Bring California Home coalition member with lived experience
- Gloria Johnson, Bring California Home coalition member with lived experience