Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti pushed back against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement Thursday that the state was pausing the third round of grants to local jurisdictions from a $1 billion state program addressing homelessness.
Newsom claimed current housing plans across the state are “failing” to adequately address the crisis, but Garcetti responded that the state hasn’t provided enough resources to local communities.
In a statement, Garcetti called Newsom’s decision “perplexing” because the city “worked directly with and received positive feedback from state agencies and county partners to develop our plan.”
“Having already waited 16 months for this funding, it cannot help people suffering to have the agreed funding timeline changed at the last minute,” Garcetti said. “Californians deserve a government that works in unison to bring urgency to this crisis. Lives are on the line and we can’t afford for this work to get mired in more politics and bureaucracy.”
Garcetti added that Los Angeles has made more than 84,000 permanent housing placements in the last five years, and that the city spends five times what the state spends on homelessness.
“Despite some good steps forward from the governor and legislature in recent years, this fight is still disproportionately shouldered by local communities with far fewer resources than the state,” Garcetti said.
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.