Lawmakers grill Newsom officials on homelessness spending after audit causes bipartisan frustration

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SACRAMENTO — 

Democrats and Republicans expressed vexation Monday arsenic they grilled Gov. Gavin Newsom’s apical lodging officials successful a tense legislative proceeding astir really billions of authorities dollars person been spent connected nan worsening homelessness crisis.

The proceeding by nan Assembly fund subcommittee connected accountability and oversight came aft a authorities audit released past period recovered that California has grounded to adequately way nan outcomes of its immense spending connected homelessness programs, raising questions astir efficacy and transparency.

California has spent much than $20 cardinal complete nan past 5 years to thief group get disconnected nan streets, but homelessness has continued to emergence — jumping by 6% successful 2023 to much than 180,000 people. California has been nan authorities pinch nan largest bum organization for much than a decade, according to the latest national data.

The audit raised concerns successful nan Legislature astir whether nan spending has worked and could hamper requests by cities and counties for much money to reside nan situation arsenic nan authorities faces a monolithic fund deficit.

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) hammered Newsom officials Monday, demanding information regarding really circumstantial programs person worked to get bum group sheltered. The officials many times said nan accusation is not yet available.

“You travel to a fund committee, and there’s nary numbers,” Ting said. “How galore group person we helped? How galore group are disconnected nan street? … Because that’s what nan nationalist wants to know. What’s nan money been spent on?”

Meghan Marshall, executive serviceman of nan California Interagency Council connected Homelessness, said nan strategy is undergoing a “transformation,” and officials are still moving connected reporting requirements mandated by a law Newsom signed successful 2021.

New information astir really homelessness backing has been spent should beryllium disposable arsenic soon arsenic July, Marshall said, adding that nan authorities is “working done information value issues.”

A disappointment Ting said, “That sounds for illustration an excuse.”

Last month’s authorities audit recovered that Marshall’s assembly has not evaluated programme occurrence aliases consistently monitored spending. The audit said California “must do much to measure nan cost-effectiveness of its homelessness programs.”

Megan Kirkeby, a lawman head for nan California Department of Housing and Community Development, said cities and counties that received immoderate grants were not antecedently required to show nan authorities really they spent homelessness programme funding.

“I don’t deliberation that’s thing to beryllium proud of. I don’t deliberation that’s thing we consciousness bully about. I don’t deliberation that’s thing that we accept,” Kirkeby said, adding that nan authorities has made important advancement and is successful “the first phases of a civilization change.”

The audit results person rekindled statement astir authorities and section officials’ roles successful handling nan crisis.

Last month, Newsom, a Democrat, called for much oversight of cities and counties and threatened to withhold homelessness backing from those that neglect to nutrient results, saying, “I’m not willing successful backing nonaccomplishment immoderate longer.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg — each Democrats — and different leaders of California’s largest cities traveled to nan authorities Capitol past period to lobby for much homelessness funding.

Newsom has projected ending grants that person been fixed to immoderate cities and counties since 2019 to combat homelessness, while maintaining different programs dedicated to nan crisis, arsenic he and lawmakers discuss really to lessen nan fund deficit.

Gloria connected Monday urged lawmakers to summation that backing by $1 billion, pointing to precocious compiled information showing that astatine slightest 150,000 group person been served done programs successful Fresno, Riverside and different cities.

“We invited being held accountable,” Gloria said.

Republicans pointed to nan deficiency of information arsenic nan fallout of nan Democrats’ patient grip connected powerfulness successful Sacramento, pinch immoderate suggesting that nan spending has gone unchecked because of one-party rule.

“The agelong and short of it is we person to extremity measuring occurrence by really galore dollars we’re spending,” said Assembymember Josh Hoover (R-Folsom), who was among those who called for nan authorities audit. “I americium disappointment by nan deficiency of urgency that I spot coming and nan deficiency of data.”

Democrats, too, voiced frustrations pinch metropolis and region leaders who are asking for much money — and pinch Newsom officials who could not proviso them pinch nan accusation they sought.

“We can’t conscionable beryllium shoveling money astatine a problem without knowing if we’re spending nan money wisely, successful nan astir cost-effective way,” Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Rolling Hills Estates) said. “This should not beryllium a logic for america to extremity addressing this crisis, but we request to get smarter successful position of really we’re spending nan money.”

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Source latimes
latimes