California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, commands a Golden State that has turned into a deep blue “Sapphire State.”
As Newsom took over following the 2003 San Francisco mayoral election, the then-mayor-elect said that December he intended to “aggressively” make ending homelessness in his city his administration’s top priority.
The plan involved a 10-year strategy to end chronic homelessness with “tens of millions” of federal dollars in funding to create 550 “supportive housing” units for the troubled homeless, SFGate reported at the time.
CALIFORNIA CITY REMOVES HOMELESS IN BEAUTIFICATION BEFORE BIDEN’S SUMMIT WITH CHINESE PRESIDENT XI
Fast-forward to December of this year and the announcement of that strategy is now two decades old. San Francisco, along with the rest of California, is far from solving the problem.
In fact, the growing homeless population has become a central issue in California’s political debate.
“Twenty years ago, then-Mayor Newsom laid out his 10-year plan to end homelessness in San Francisco,” California GOP chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson told Fox News Digital. “Not only does the problem remain unsolved today, but in the time since, he has taken his failures statewide, where communities across California are grappling with the devastating homeless crisis.”
“Instead of focusing on bashing red states or hitting the late-night talk show circuit while foolishly eyeing a promotion to the White House, Gov. Newsom should pay attention to the actual job he was elected to do and work with Republicans to find real solutions for the Golden State,” Patterson continued.
The nonpartisan think tank Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that, as of 2022, 30% of homeless Americans lived in the Golden State, “including half of all unsheltered people (115,491 in California; 233,832 in the US).”
“Since 2020, California’s overall homeless population has increased about 6%, compared to just 0.4% in the rest of the country,” PPIC wrote in February. “A 17% increase in the homeless but sheltered population accounts for almost all of California’s change, while the more visible unsheltered population increased 2%.”
“The rest of the country’s unsheltered population grew faster than California’s (4%), while its sheltered population actually shrank (-2%),” they added.
During Newsom’s successful 2017 run for governor, the California Democrat pledged that he would “lead the effort to develop the 3.5 million new housing units we need by 2025 because our solutions must be as bold as the problem is big.”
“I realize building 3.5 million new housing units is an audacious goal – but it’s achievable,” Newsom said. “There is no silver bullet to solve this crisis.”
“We need to attack the problem on multiple fronts by generating more funding for affordable housing, implementing regulatory reform and creating new financial incentives for local jurisdictions that produce housing while penalizing those that fall short,” he continued.
A 2022 Department of Housing and Urban Development report found that 67% of California’s homeless population is unsheltered.
Additionally, a 2023 report found that California has spent $20 billion fighting homelessness over the last five years.
Newsom was elected governor in 2018 and re-elected in 2022, with 2023 marking his fifth year in office.
Newsom took some heat earlier this year after San Francisco cleared out its homeless encampments ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s summit with President Biden in the city.
“I know folks are saying, ‘Oh they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town,'” Newsom said at that time. “That’s true, because it’s true – but it’s also true for months and months and months before APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit], we’ve been having conversations.”
During an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Newsom expressed his pride in his 10-year plan to address homelessness in San Francisco while also calling the crisis “disgraceful.”
Newsom’s office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Read the full article here