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‘Big City’ mayors plead for state funding to reduce homelessness

oakland homeless encampment thomas hawk.jpg
Thomas Hawk
/
Flickr / Creative Commons
An Oakland homeless encampment

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state legislators have made historic investments to end homelessness and for that the Big City Mayors, as they call themselves, are grateful.

The money, said the mayors, has gone to the front lines of the homelessness crisis: California's cities.

But if the money stops flowing, they added, their cities will face "a fiscal cliff that would result in the closing of countless shelters and entry points to housing assistance."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, chair of the coalition of mayors that made the plea, said the current funding from the state is used in her city to operate Homekey projects. The program allows cities to quickly create properties as temporary and permanent homes for people who were homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.

The governor made money available to create Homekey properties and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said her city needs that money to operate or provide services to the people housed there.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2020 point-in-time count, 161,500 California residents were homeless just before the COVID-19 pandemic began.