LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday continued his campaign to try and get a handle on the homeless crisis, announcing billions in aid to be spread across the state to get people off the streets.
“The investments we’re making here today are the most historic,” he said. “The largest investments in mental health housing in California history.”READ MORE: Man Struck, Killed By Hit-Run Driver In Santa Monica
The funding includes $12 billion to tackle the homelessness crisis, including money to tackle mental health issues; $10.3 billion in affordable housing and $5.8 billion to add 42,000 new housing units.
“It’s a renewed effort to take responsibility, to take accountability and to recognize the urgency of the crisis,” Newsom said.
And while Newsom has been promoting the funding for several months, the additional resources cannot come soon enough as the state limps out of the worst of the pandemic.
“I think there’s a lot of people doing a lot of good things,” Rev. Andy Bales said. “There’s outreach going on. I think we’ve awakened a bit to the crisis that we’re in. We aren’t there yet.”READ MORE: Kathy Griffin Announces She Has Lung Cancer
Bales, the president and CEO of Union Rescue Mission in Skid Row, said getting mental health services to the unhoused is critical to addressing the overall crisis.
“You could do this in a much more innovative and inexpensive and expedited way,” he said. “And that is, as I’ve said before, $10 billion would allow you to do $2 billion of land purchase and $8 billion would allow you to create 133,000 brand new three-bedroom, two-bath mobile homes, and I just hope they consider the more practical, immediate way to provide a [Federal Emergency Management Agency]-like approach.”
And anyone who lives or visits L.A. knows how bad the crisis has gotten over the last year.
“We just moved here from New York a year ago and quite shocked by what we’re seeing,” one woman said. “I’m glad they’re doing something, because it’s upsetting.”
Newsom was asked Monday if pouring so many resources into addressing the growing crisis would incentivize more unhoused people from across the country to come to California.MORE NEWS: Wild Pursuit Comes To An End With Arrest In Baldwin Park
“To the extent that people want to come here for new beginnings, at all income levels, that’s part of the California dream,” he said. “And we have a responsibility to accommodate, enliven and inspire.”