WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) are leading an effort with 25 Members of the California delegation to vocalize support for California’s $1 billion in annual, ongoing funding for local jurisdictions to address homelessness. In a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, the Members also expressed their endorsement of programs to supplement California’s efforts to address homelessness with federal resources.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, California’s homeless population increased by nearly 7% early last year to an estimated 161,548 prior to the pandemic. In Los Angeles County, the number jumped 13% over the same period to 66,436. The HUD report also found that there were 580,000 people experiencing homelessness nationwide. While investments in programs such as Project Roomkey and Homekey have brought thousands of people indoors, the Members urge that more must be done, including a comprehensive response through ongoing funding to move people into homes through rental assistance, operating subsidies in Homekey and other capital programs, and services people need to access and maintain housing stability.
In the letter, the Members write:
Dear Governor Newsom,
As legislators representing communities across California, we are all firmly committed to solving the urgent crisis of homelessness. Our districts are urban, suburban, and rural, yet each of them is home to a portion of the 161,000 people experiencing homelessness in California on any given night. We must all work together to meet this crisis head on, using our collective political will to marshal historic resources and see through the policy changes to bring all of our neighbors home.
We applaud your historic investments to tackle this crisis. Project Roomkey and Homekey have been unparalleled successes. These programs have rapidly brought thousands of people indoors and become national models for addressing homelessness. We are grateful that your FY 21-22 budget proposal doubles down on this success, increasing resources for Project Homekey while scaling up needed investments for homeless families, students, and other populations.
We thank the Administration and the State Legislature for their agreement to provide $1 billion in annual, ongoing funding for local jurisdictions to address homelessness with evidence-based housing solutions, coupled with strong accountability measures. To address homelessness, we need a toolkit that includes Project Homekey, rental assistance, homelessness prevention, shelters, navigation centers, and street engagement. Ongoing funding will help ensure a comprehensive solution to this crisis.
As the Administration and State Legislature work to develop policy language for this groundbreaking budget proposal, we encourage the parties to continue to root this proposal in best practices and evidence-based solutions, including those recommended in the “Bring California Home” framework.
The federal government is eager to partner in this endeavor. As part of the American Rescue Plan, we approved over $21 billion in rental assistance funding, $5 billion in homeless services funding, and $5 billion in new Emergency Housing Vouchers to tackle homelessness, building on the investments made in the CARES Act and other subsequent stimulus packages. We are committed to additional efforts with our partners in Congress and the White House to secure billions more for affordable housing through federal infrastructure legislation, and to secure more funding for housing vouchers.
We appreciate the State of California’s partnership in this endeavor. Together, we can bring thousands of our neighbors into affordable, stable, and healthy housing environments.