Mayor Garcetti and Big City Mayors call for more state resources to address homelessness

SACRAMENTO — Mayor Garcetti and mayors from California’s 13 largest cities (Big City Mayors) met with the governor and legislative leaders to advocate for additional state resources in the 2019 budget to address the ongoing homelessness crisis. The mayors highlighted the success of the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), an allocation of $500 million — of which $150 million went directly to cities with a population of 300,000 or more — that is on track to produce more than 4,000 new shelter beds across the state.

“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.”  

"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.”

California’s homeless population now stands at 134,278, according to 2017 statewide counts – an increase of 16% from 2015. Half of all the country’s homeless are in California; nearly half of California’s homeless are in the state’s 13 largest cities.

“State and local partnerships are critical to tackling issues as big as our homeless crisis,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-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.”

Across the state, cities have utilized HEAP funds to dramatically increase capacity for low-barrier shelters, Navigation Centers, Bridge Housing, rental subsidies, and other supportive services to get traditionally hard-to-serve people into housing. The mayors highlighted how quickly the state was able to disburse funds to local governments, allocating resources according to need as demonstrated by 2017 PIT Counts, and the flexibility of what resources could be spent on as critical components of the program’s success. That information is now available in a report on HEAP funding allocation released by Big City Mayors today.

Mayors' Quotes:

 

“This partnership between the governor, Legislature and the Big City Mayors yielded 4,000 new shelter beds and deployed vital wrap around services at record speed last year,” said Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. “A problem of this magnitude requires bold action. Let’s continue making bold investments, tear down the bureaucracy, and provide relief for the children, disabled, and veterans sleeping on the streets across California.”    

"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.”

“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.”  

“Homelessness is the number one issue facing cities across California. Last year the State recognized that Cities cannot overcome this issue alone and provided support that will allow us to help more people get off the streets,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “Moving people from homelessness to housing requires creative approaches, political will and resources. As Mayors, we welcome the state’s partnership as we implement solutions that make a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable residents.”  

“Long Beach was able to purchase land for our first year-round shelter and another critical facility thanks to the first round of HEAP funding,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “There is much more work to be done, so we ask Governor Newsom and the Legislature to continue making investments in housing and services so provide solutions for homelessness in California’s cities.”

“The funding made available to our communities through the Homeless Emergency Aid Program has been put to quick use to bolster existing programs and create new responses aimed at combating homelessness,” said Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh. “The Governor’s commitment to providing additional funding to address the urgent crisis of homelessness will continue the momentum that has been created towards addressing this critical issue throughout the state. I applaud Governor Newsom for his leadership and look forward to continuing to partner with his administration and the Legislature to get more people off the streets.”

“In San José, we invested last year’s HEAP funds into innovative strategies — including tiny home communities, motel and hotel vouchers, and safe parking sites-- to increase the supply of housing for our most vulnerable residents,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We can build on our progress with additional funds from the state that would allow us to scale these proven and cost-effective solutions to help house the more than 4,000 residents in our city who still lack stable housing.”

“The City of Santa Ana is grateful to the State of California for the Homeless Emergency Aid Program block grant, that we collectively advocated to come to fruition last year through a strong coalition of Big City Mayors,” said Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido. “We have successfully expanded our joint efforts through the support of two additional cities, intensifying the need of funding for the future to address the national crisis of homelessness. We are excited that Governor Newsom had made funding homelessness a priority as we see the direct result of state funding creating positive change in our community.”

“Last year, Oakland immediately put HEAP money where we needed it most — straight onto the streets to build new Cabin Communities for our unsheltered residents,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “The state’s financial investment is a critical tool that helps our city, and every city across California, fight the homelessness crisis and get our neighbors back on a path to housing.”  

“Anaheim is a shining example of the return on investment California can see when it partners with cities to address homelessness,” said Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu. “In Anaheim, we opened three new homeless shelters in just three months, an effort that was assisted by Homeless Emergency Aid Program funding.  This allowed us to transform the lives of hundreds previously living in homelessness and to restore our parks and other public spaces for the benefit of everyone.”

“The City of Stockton, along with the rest of the largest cities in California, is joining today to advocate for more funding for homeless services and affordable housing,” said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. “We are visiting with our state leadership to highlight the needs of our individual communities, but also, to collectively share the magnitude and scope of this homelessness crisis impacting all Californians.”