Some homeless sleep on the sidewalks during the day.
Some homeless sleep on the sidewalks during the day. Photo by Chris Stone

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday he is pausing the third round of grants to local jurisdictions from a $1 billion state program addressing homelessness, saying current housing plans across the state are “failing” to adequately address the crisis.

Newsom plans to convene local leaders later this month to review the state’s “collective” approach to homelessness and identify new strategies. Until then, the third round of Homelessness Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grants, which provide a share of the $1 billion to local jurisdictions, will be paused. One condition of the grants is that each jurisdiction must submit a plan to reduce homelessness and increase permanent housing to the state for approval.

“Californians demand accountability and results, not settling for the status quo,” Newsom said. “As a state, we are failing to meet the urgency of this moment.”

California is on pace to reduce street homelessness by 2% by 2024 under the current plans, which would “take decades to significantly curb homelessness in California,” according to Newsom.

“At this pace, it would take decades to significantly curb homelessness in California — this approach is simply unacceptable,” Newsom said. “Everyone has to do better — cities, counties, and the state included. We are all in this together.”

Through the Homeless Emergency Aid Program and the first two rounds of HHAP funding, the state has allocated $1.5 billion in emergency aid to address homelessness, according to the governor’s office.

–City News Service