Newsom’s $12B plan for homeless would build 45K homes

Facing recall, governor made ambitious program part of $100B economic recovery plan

Gov. Gavin Newsom (Getty, iStock)
Gov. Gavin Newsom (Getty, iStock)

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to spend $12 billion over the next two years to address one of the biggest crises facing California: Homelessness.

About $8.7 billion would go toward building 46,000 homes and expanding Project Homekey, the state’s program to buy and convert hotels and other buildings into residential housing, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Newsom, who is facing a recall election, announced the plan Tuesday, detailing a wider $100 billion economic recovery package. It would be paid for with $76 billion in surplus funds for the new fiscal year, and $26 billion in federal coronavirus relief dollars.

Some $5.2 billion is earmarked to help Californians cover back rent and another $2 billion for help with overdue utility bills. The state would hand out $600 stimulus checks for households with incomes below $75,000.

Newsom set a lofty goal of ending homelessness for families statewide within five years. Part of the funding for that goal includes $1.6 billion in rental support to prevent people from being evicted. He said that program could prevent 300,000 people from losing their homes.

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The state launched Project Homekey last year as a successor to Project Roomkey, which rented hotel rooms as temporary housing for unhoused residents especially vulnerable to Covid-19. The state spent $850 million last year on the program, creating 6,000 new units of housing.

Newsom’s program also includes giving $50 million to local governments to address sidewalk encampments in a “responsible and respectful way.” Encampments have been a major source of tension between property owners and people living on the street.

Earlier this year, Jerico Development came under fire for blasting the “Barney & Friends” theme song to drive people from near one of their San Pedro properties.

[LADN] — Dennis Lynch