Mayors of big California cities meet to discuss the state’s homeless issue, focusing on prevention


California’s big city mayors met with the Gov. Gavin Newsom Wendesday to talk about tackling the state’s homelessness.

“The budget just changed,” remarks Newsom after meeting with the state’s big city mayors on the issue.

“It’s not just about more money, it’s about reprioritizing some of those investments,” he explains. 

The governor didn’t give specifics, but he had originally budgeted $500 million for homeless emergency shelters, navigation centers and supportive housing state-wide. 

But, the the big city mayors were hoping for more. 

“The emphasis this year is going to be to focus as much attention on prevention and early intervention,” says Darrell Steinberg, Mayor of Sacramento. 

Mayors from the Bay Area to the border praised the state’s homeless emergency aid program, which gives cities flexible funding for the problem.

“We’ve seen when given the opportunity, mayors move fast and we are innovative, for example in Oakland, we have used our heap dollars to resolving encampments in a dignified and effective way, our cabin communities program has expanded our ability to serve more than 600 unsheltered residents a year,” says Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland. 

Lee Brand, Mayor of Fresno, says, “Like so many here, part of it is going to navigation centers, shelters, rapid rehousing, permanent housing.”

Although mayors are in agreement about the benefits of the program, not all agree with the governor’s proposal to pull gas tax funds from cities that don’t meet housing production goals.

Mayors in support of the measure were asked to raise their hands. 

“Members come from different parts of the state with different points of view, and that’s great,” Steinberg says.

In all, they say their common agenda is taking care of the homeless.

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