After first rejecting all plans submitted by local jurisdictions that detailed how they were responding to homelessness and holding back $1 billion in Homelessness Housing, and Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grants, Governor Newsom reversed course after meeting with more than 100 local mayors and county officials. As an outcome of the meeting, the State agreed to release the funds with the condition that the grantees—the State’s 13 largest cities, 58 counties, and 14 homeless service provider groups— would implement a more aggressive approach to homeless response for the next HHAP funding round. The jurisdictions will need to demonstrate that they are implementing as many best practices as they can, including streamlining the development of new affordable homes and making system improvements that facilitate the movement of people from the streets to housing.
In initially rejecting the plans, the Governor expressed his unhappiness that they only showed a collective 2% reduction in the homeless population over the next four years. The jurisdictions fought back, saying that there simply isn’t enough funding to respond to the current homeless crisis as well as to prevent future homelessness and that withholding needed funds was counterproductive.