Newsom announces $50 million grant to address homelessness in California
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Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the California government would be offering $50 million in grants to local governments to tackle the homelessness crisis. Part of Governor Newsom's $12 billion homeless packages, the new Encampment Resolution Grant Program aims to move 44,000 Californians to permanent housing and fund local demonstration projects that offer immediate relief to homeless individuals suffering in encampments.

The California Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council (HCFC) has invited local governments to submit a proposal under the brand-new Encampment Resolution Grant program. The applications are due December 31, 2021. The HCFC is looking at offering these funds as early as spring of 2022 to local governments that promise to create permanent housing for unsheltered Californians to eliminate "specific, persistent encampments," according to the release issued by the governor's office.

While announcing the package, Governor Newsom called California's homeless crisis "unacceptable." He expressed his concern about the homeless Californians who suffer in tents and are living in unhygienic conditions. He further assured that these funds would be significant in helping people move to "dignified housing options."

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The governor also announced a $1.1 billion Clean California program that aligns with the grants and will help local governments address the unsanitary life in encampments. The program will allow local governments to collaborate with communities and develop an effective solution to restore places for public use, said the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez and HCFC chair. He encouraged all eligible cities, counties, and continuums of care to apply for the grant.

America's most populous state accounts for over half of all unsheltered people in the United States, as per the 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report. California has an estimated 170,000 unsheltered and hopeless people living on the street, 70% of which live outdoors, making them visible to the public eye. Earlier this year, the Newsom administration introduced a $12 billion bill to address homelessness in the next two years. He also pledged another $10.3 billion for building affordable housing.

The $50 million grants are likely to assist Newsom in fulfilling his ambitious plan to eliminate homelessness in the next five years.

Apart from the new grant program, the HCFC also launched a 100-Day Challenge Initiative for California Cities and Counties to Fight Homelessness. The challenges brought cities, counties, and CoCs in Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Merced, Fresno, and San Bernardino counties together to identify innovative solutions to help homeless people. HCFC Executive Officer Julie Lo said the 100-day challenge had created a space for communities to explore and experiment with new ideas to address the homelessness crisis.
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