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Gov. Gavin Newsom announces plans to address homelessness

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MAXINE ESCHGER | STAFF

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he hopes the mid-November convening will be an opportunity to learn from one another about what homelessness mitigation strategies are best, withholding the remaining third round of Homelessness Housing, Assistance and Prevention grants until this convening. Though according to Berkeley City Councilmember Sophie Hahn, Berkeley needs the state’s partnership to support its efforts and a delay in state funds does not accomplish that goal.

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NOVEMBER 07, 2022

On Nov. 3, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he will bring together local leaders in mid-November to review the state’s current approach to homelessness and identify new strategies to mitigate California’s growing unhoused population.

The state will withhold the remaining third round of Homelessness Housing, Assistance and Prevention grants until this convening.

Newsom’s statement referenced the fact that current collective plans to address the homelessness crisis would only result in a 2% decrease in homelessness over the next four years, a goal that is “failing to meet the urgency” of the crisis at hand.

Newsom said he hopes that the mid-November convening will be an opportunity to learn from one another about what homelessness mitigation strategies are best.

“Though I agree with the Governor’s overall message that our state needs more ambitious, faster action to address homelessnes in many cities, Berkeley already has a robust, successful plan in place,” Berkeley City Councilmember Sophie Hahn said in an email.

Hahn cited the Pathway Project to end homelessness in Berkeley, which she co-authored with the goals of increasing housing opportunities and creating a “compassionate” path from homelessness to permanent supportive housing.

According to Hahn, after five years of implementation, the results of the Pathway Project have been “amazing;” while homelessness in Alameda County increased by almost 25%, homelessness in Berkeley decreased by 5%.

“I invite Governor Newsom to come to Berkeley and hear about our success,” Hahn added in the email. “We’ve proven we can put together the right programs and make progress towards reducing homelessness, even in the midst of a pandemic.”

According to Hahn, Berkeley needs the state’s partnership to support its efforts, and a delay in state funds does not accomplish that goal.

Tomiquia Moss, founder and chief executive officer of All Home — an organization that works across the Bay Area to accelerate solutions that address homelessness — said she thinks Berkeley, as well as other cities in Alameda County, are “doing the best they can” to mitigate homelessness.

“Homelessness is top of mind for everyone who lives in our community, because it affects us all. Yet, I think it’s difficult to do the work that communities need to do when you don’t have the resources to scale the need,” Moss said. “That’s what’s challenging for cities like Berkeley and Oakland and many others across our region is that they’re making investments and solutions that work but they’re not able to scale those investments.”

The state needs to provide local jurisdictions permanent support in order to ensure that they have the resources to properly address homelessness, according to Moss.

To Moss, this means addressing the problem from the root: preventing people from becoming unhoused in the first place.

“There’s a lot of siloing and disconnection across the levels of government to try to solve homelessness across communities,” Moss said. “I’m hopeful that the governor, recognizing how important this crisis is, is going to lean in with locals to figure out how we get outcomes.”

Contact Amber X. Chen at 

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NOVEMBER 07, 2022