Gavin Newsom Visits Homeless Shelter In San Diego To Highlight California Blueprint

City News Service

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Gov. Gavin Newsom visited a homeless encampment in
downtown San Diego this morning to highlight his California Blueprint, a plan
to tackle “existential threats,” including the housing crisis, through a
proposed $286.4 billion budget.

“This past year, California has been able to move 58,000 individuals
off our streets and into the housing and treatment they desperately needed,”
Newsom said. “The California Blueprint will double down on those efforts,
focusing on clearing encampments, while also setting the groundwork for long-
term systemic change with significant investments in mental health and
substance abuse treatment to get vulnerable people off the streets.”

The proposed additional $2 billion package — for a total of $14
billion — to the state’s multi-year plan to confront the homelessness crisis
is intended to create 55,000 new housing units and treatment slots when fully
implemented.

“We have to do more and we have to do better,” said Newsom, who was
joined by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

In the short term, he said, plans are to spend about $2 billion on
“immediate and short-term” solutions that include “rapid rehousing”
strategies.

The California Blueprint is intended to bolster last year’s
investments with an additional $1.5 billion for behavioral health bridge
housing to get people off the street and into treatment, and $500 million
toward “encampment resolution grants for local jurisdictions to implement
short- and long-term rehousing strategies for people experiencing homelessness
in encampments around the state,” a statement from the governor’s office read.

Newsom’s proposal includes expansion of the Returning Home Well
program, intended to provide transitional housing and mental health services to
people leaving prison or jail. Additionally, it calls for expanding Medi-Cal
benefits to include mobile crisis response — investing $1.4 billion over five
years so that people experiencing homelessness can receive behavioral health
care.

“Behavioral health and homelessness are inextricably linked, and we
have the chance to invest in the former to help prevent the latter,” state
Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. “Governor Newsom’s
proposal will help expand access to housing and medical support for vulnerable
populations with complex behavioral health conditions and people living in
encampments.”

The governor said he understands taxpayer frustration at the
homelessness crisis, but asked for patience. He said many people on the streets
deal with addiction, and they will not be admitted to shelters unless they are
sober, creating a difficult-to-solve issue through the old shelter system.
“We are targeting intervention and we are targeting partnerships,”
he said.

Gloria, meanwhile, said that at this time last year, around 1,100
shelter beds existed in the city. Now there are more than 1,300, a number he
said will continue to grow in tandem with the acquisition of hotel rooms
through state and federal funding.

“That means more people on their way to permanent housing, ending
this nightmare,” Gloria said. “I thank [Newsom] for coming to San Diego today
to highlight our program to reach out to residents living alongside our
freeways and connect them to the safety of our shelters and the help they need
to end their homelessness.”

The governor also spoke briefly about the state’s response to COVID-
19. He said California has 31% of the nation’s COVID-19 testing sites and has
per-capita case, hospitalization and death rates far below those of similarly
large states.

“The positivity rate is high, but it is half the rate of states like
Texas and Florida,” he said. “We just need to get through this last surge.
Just a few more weeks.”

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

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