Statewide Audit of Homelessness Funding Is Necessary

Senator Brian Jones
Brian Jones is a California State Senator representing the 38th district.

In a recent press release on homelessness issued by the Governor, there needs to be a correction: 

“As a national homelessness crisis spreads across the West Coast and cities across the country, Governor Gavin Newsom is continuing his Administration’s comprehensive response to the crisis…

The homelessness crisis did not spread “across the West Coast,” and it is not a “national” crisis affecting all 50 states equally.  In fact, the homeless crisis is far greater in California than in EVERY OTHER STATE COMBINED.

The homeless situation in California is growing worse by the day, because this state’s elected leaders have not invested in programs to address its root causes.  California Democrats have been – and continue to be – far more focused on creating state-mandated drug dens, encouraging people to live on the street, and decriminalizing drug use and other crimes.

Further, California has a housing problem, yet Democrats have gone out of their way to make building apartments and homes ever more difficult by creating multi-year processes for dealing with environmental reports and imposing ridiculously high permitting fees and mountains of regulations.  At the same time, they routinely exempt sporting arenas backed by wealthy investors from many of those same costs, fees, timeframes and regulations.               

This crisis is not happening nationwide at the same scale as it is in California.  Homelessness in California is largely a homegrown problem, created by decades of misguided policies imposed by decades of a one-party Democratic rule. It is a problem that fairly can be said to be fully owned by California’s elected Democrats.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is beginning his 10th year as a statewide elected official.  During all that time, the homelessness problem has continued to grow greater each year. The governor can claim he made substantive efforts to solve the crisis, but those solutions have been ineffective. 

This is the reason why I am requesting the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) to conduct a statewide audit of homelessness spending in California. Even the Governor’s Homelessness Task Force recognized the need to evaluate past and current homelessness spending. 

I truly believe that solving this dire crisis will definitely take aggressive funding, but simply throwing money at the problem is not a smart solution.

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