FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – Governor Gavin Newsom made stops in San Diego and Los Angeles on Tuesday to announce a $12 billion plan that he believes will functionally end family homelessness in California within five years. This comes as part of his $100 billion pandemic recovery plan, which he has been rolling out all week.
“There is no greater manifestation of our failure as a society, broadly, or as a state, more specifically, than the issue of homelessness. What we’re doing here today is multiples of what any state in American history has committed to do to address this crisis,” Newsom said about the $12 billion proposal.
The funds – which come in part from a historically estimated $76 billion state budget surplus – will set aside $3.5 billion for preventing homelessness, including rental payment assistance, and $8.75 billion to expand on project Homekey, which Newsom launched last July.
Mayor Jerry Dyer says project Homekey, which converts hotels and motels into housing for the homeless, has had great success in Fresno.
“It has allowed us to purchase several motels in partnership with the housing authority, remove people from the freeway and place them into housing with services,” he said.
Mayor Dyer says the four motels on Motel Drive that offer services to the homeless are currently full, as 70% of people who live along the freeways that the city has come into contact with have accepted help. He said there are still roughly 100 people living along SR-99 that need to be moved into the motels once more room is available.
Dyer says now, the city needs to purchase more motels in order to continue this progress. He estimates Fresno will receive $75-80 million every year for the next two years from this package, which he says will help, but likely won’t be enough.
“I think we’re going to fall far short of what we’re trying to accomplish, which is why I say we’re going to need additional funds in year three,” he said.
It is unclear how much Fresno will receive or when it will become available.