SAN DIEGO (CBSLA) — From fed up residents to homeless encampments lining the streets, the homelessness crisis across the state continues to grow, but Gov. Gavin Newsom now believes he has a plan that will get thousands of people off the streets with the help of $12 billion.
“What we’re doing here today is multiples of what any state in American history has committed to address the crisis of homelessness straight on,” he said during a stop in San Diego County.READ MORE: Authorities Searching For Missing Teen Girl Allegedly Taken By Her Mother
The plan will expand Project Homekey, which includes $7 billion to buy existing hotels and motels that will provide 46,000 units — each costing about $150,000.
Los Angeles has been spending three times that building new housing for the homeless, but they take years to open. Homekey takes only months before people can move in.
“When we find an innovative solution that helps the owner of a hotel, and the people who are staying, and the community that surrounds the hotel, that’s a win-win and I think that’s what Homekey offers,” Va Lecia Adams Kellum, who helps run St. Joseph Center in Venice, said.
The center was able to house around 500 of the most vulnerable residents thanks to a similar state-run program during the pandemic.
“It’s gonna be so important, you know, to maybe start to see some real progress,” Adams Kellum said.
The plan was also applauded by Los Angeles City councilmen Mark Ridley-Thomas and Kevin de Leon.READ MORE: Woman Details Encounter With Man Accused Of Killing Brianna Kupfer
The plan “will mean the difference between having a home and sleeping on the street for thousands of Angelenos,” de Leon said.
However, Republicans Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego, and John Cox, who are both challenging Newsom in the upcoming recall election were both less than impressed.
“Homelessness has skyrocketed by 10,000 people since Gavin Newsom took office,” Faulconer said. “No amount of money will solve this crisis without a leader who has the political will to buck the status quo and take bold actions to get people off the streets and indoors to receive the help they need.”
But residents in Venice, who say they have dealt with growing encampments, violence and fires, have mixed feelings on how, or even if, the program will work.
“I think if you’re using dilapidated buildings and the owners want to do that and it’s far enough way from a school and residents, I mean, it seems like a viable option,” one woman said.
The money is a mix of federal dollars and a surplus in the state’s budget.MORE NEWS: Police Getting Additional Funds To Crack Down On Illegal Street Racing
“This is an order of magnitude investment into transforming the homeless crisis in the state of California, to one of America’s most enlivening stories with the support and examples of people who are demonstrable proof that homelessness can end in our society,” Newsom said.