SACRAMENTO – In the face of significant cuts to housing and supportive services proposed by the Trump Administration, Governor Gavin Newsom and a bipartisan coalition of California’s elected mayors and county supervisors today called on President Trump and his administration to do more to address homelessness and housing insecurity.
“We can all agree that homelessness is a national crisis decades in the making that demands action at every level of government – local, state, and federal. In California, state and local governments have ramped up action to lift families out of poverty by investing in behavioral health, affordable housing, and other homeless programs,” the letter reads. “In contrast, your Administration has proposed significant cuts to public housing and programs like the Community Development Block Grant.”
“Yet in recent days, you have publicly acknowledged the national crisis of homelessness. On behalf of a broad, bipartisan coalition of California’s elected mayors and members of county Board of Supervisors, we invite you to collaborate with us on solutions – tied to federal investments – to address homelessness and housing insecurity,” the letter continues.
The letter – signed by the Governor, mayors of the state’s 13 largest cities, California State Association of Counties and the California League of Cities – asks the federal government to take the following steps immediately to address homelessness in our state.
- Provide 50,000 more vouchers, through a combination of Housing Choice Vouchers and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers, two longstanding key programs that provide needed rental subsidies for extremely low-income Americans;
- Increase the value of those vouchers to account for the high cost of rents in America’s cities and counties; and,
- Create a program based on best-practices to incentivize landlords to work with voucher holders to find stable housing.
Homelessness and housing insecurity have been a top priority for the Governor. The Governor’s first budget provides $1 billion to help cities and counties fight homelessness, expedited review and approval for navigation centers and emergency shelters to help cities get people off the street faster, and provides $20 million in legal aid to help renters facing eviction. Just last week, the Legislature passed the strongest package of statewide renter protections in the nation – a top priority for Governor Newsom this year. Housing affordability has also been a chief priority for the Governor. The state budget made a historic $1.75 billion investment in new housing and created major incentives – both sticks and carrots – to incentivize cities to approve new home construction.
The high cost of housing and rent has also been the focus of executive action. In the first weeks of his administration, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that created an inventory of all excess state land in order to find parcels to develop into affordable housing, and in April launched partnerships with six California cities to develop affordable housing on that land. The Governor’s Administration has also enforced state housing law – putting more than forty cities on notice that they were out of compliance with state housing requirements and in jeopardy of legal action.
A copy of the letter sent today can be read here.