On Wednesday mayors from California’s 13 biggest cities joined with Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders at the Capitol to make the case for additional state money in the 2019 budget to address the ongoing homelessness crisis. The mayors focused on the successes they claim to have experienced thanks to the Homeless Emergency Aid Program, which has provide $500 million – of which $150 million went directly to cities with a population of 300,000 or more – to eventually help create more than 4,000 new shelter beds across the state.
Newsom spoke about the approach the mayors are taking to help the homeless in their communities, regardless of party.
"They're job, first and foremost, is to move the ball, to make progress, and to get things done," he said.
"Last year, the state laid the foundation to get thousands of people off the streets and into housing," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, chairman of the Big City Mayors coalition. "We look forward to continuing to work with the governor and Legislature to increase that historic investment so cities can fund to scale the programs and strategies that are most effective at addressing the urgent crisis of homelessness."
"State and local partnerships are critical to tackling issues as big as our homeless crisis," said Democratic Assemblymember Phil Ting of San Francisco, who helped the Big City Mayors secure HEAP funding in the 2018-2019 state budget. "Last year, California’s significant investment in emergency assistance enabled cities to quickly ramp up the number of beds and services available in the hardest hit communities. But we need to do more to truly solve this problem. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to determine how we can keep moving people off the streets and into affordable housing."
"Last year, California’s mayors fought hard for hundreds of millions of state dollars to confront the humanitarian crisis on our streets — and in Los Angeles, we have already committed that money to badly-needed bridge housing, and other emergency initiatives," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "But this is just the beginning. Cities need Sacramento to keep following Governor Newsom’s example, and stepping up with the resources we need to end homelessness across California. We’ll keep pushing toward that goal, with a spirit of partnership that’s as strong as it’s ever been."
"This funding has been put to immediate use to invest in programs that address homelessness in San Francisco, such as expanding our Navigation Centers and providing rapid rehousing to prevent long-term homelessness," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. "This crisis is affecting our entire state, which is why it is so important that the governor and the state Legislature continue to take action during the current legislative session. I want to thank our partners in Sacramento, especially Assemblymember Phil Ting, for taking action to help us provide care and shelter for those in need."
"We are grateful that Governor Newsom has recognized the pressing need for resources to combat homelessness by stepping up to propose in his first budget more money to help the most vulnerable among us," said Fresno Mayor Lee Brand. "We hope to work with the Legislature this year to build on the governor's proposal, which will allow me and my fellow Big City Mayors to continue the fight to address the homelessness crisis across California."
The mayors are asking for more HEAP funding this year for sheltering and wrap-around services.