Big City Mayors coalition wants state money to fund homeless housing programs

Local News

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – California’s Big City Mayors coalition, a group that represents 13 of California’s largest cities – including Fresno, got together to ask that $20 billion of the state budget be dedicated to providing permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness throughout California.

The mayors say it’s an important and feasible request given the $26 billion the state received from the American Rescue Plan, as well as California’s record surplus.

It’s funding that Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said is much needed in the city, where they have already purchased five motels to convert to temporary housing through the state’s Project Home Key program.

To continue those efforts, Dyer said they need more money to pay outreach workers, provide security at those transitional housing units and offer supportive services.

“Services for mental health, for alcohol and substance abuse addiction, to address the growing population of domestic violence victims and their families who are out there on our streets, our veterans who oftentimes are abandoned,” said Dyer. “All of those services need to be provided, and not on the short-term, but long-term.”

Dyer says the next step is creating permanent housing solutions and job training to keep people off the streets.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says the state would decide how that money is distributed among counties and large cities.

“The allocation typically is based on a formula that combines both point-in-time homeless counts and population, and so we expect those kinds of formulas to continue,” said Liccardo.

“And we’ll be certainly advocating to ensure that the hardest-hit cities – after all, it’s large cities that have suffered most from homelessness – are in fact front and center.”

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