California Democrats Turn on Gov Newsom as $20 Billion in Homeless Council Funding Goes Missing

By Frank Bergman – Slay News

California Democrats have begun turning against Governor Gavin Newsom after $20 billion in taxpayer money allocated for tackling homelessness in the state has gone missing.

Gov. Newsom’s California Interagency Council on Homelessness (CICH) is unable to account for billions of dollars in funding over the past five years.

The homeless council has no record of where the $20B has been spent, nor can Newsom’s administration provide any evidence or examples of where the program has been successful in tackling homelessness in the states.

The huge sum of tax dollars has essentially vanished while the homeless crisis in California continues to spiral out of control.

The issue has led to a major blowback from within the Democrat governor’s own party.

Democrat officials blasted Newsom’s housing and homelessness officials during a budget committee hearing this week.

“You come to a budget committee, and there’s no numbers,” Democrat Assemblymember Phil Ting said to Newsom’s homelessness council officials.

“How many people have we helped?

“How many people are off the street?”

“Because that’s what people want to know,” he added.

A CICH executive responded by claiming that the council is dealing with “data quality issues.”

Metrics are not yet available for how more than $20 billion was spent since Newsom established the council in 2019.

“We’re working expeditiously,” executive officer Meghan Marshall said.

“What does that mean though?” Tang shot back.

“We spent billions of dollars, and you can’t tell us at all how many people we’ve helped.”

Megan Kirkeby, deputy director for the California Department of Housing and Community Development, told lawmakers in the committee that the state didn’t previously require them to track its progress on spending or the viability of its programs.

It’s not “something to be proud of,” Kirkeby argued.

Last month, CICH, the blue state’s hub for coordinating the state’s homeless programs, shifted blame to local cities in a statement about the failure to track the money.

A senior spokesperson said municipalities “are primarily responsible for implementing these programs and collecting data on outcomes that the state can use to evaluate program effectiveness.”

As the state faces a significant budget deficit that must be worked out by a July deadline, both Republicans and Democrats in the legislature fear the audit’s findings could interfere with multiple city requests for more funding to address the homeless crisis.

California is ground zero for the most homeless people in the nation, with more than 181,000 people living on the streets.

In a bombshell report last month, the state auditor found that nine state agencies have collectively spent $24 billion in state funding over the past five years.

The taxpayer funds spent in administering at least 30 programs dedicated to tackling the homelessness crisis.

The auditor said Newsom’s homelessness council “is responsible for coordinating, developing, and evaluating the efforts of these nine agencies.”

The state’s independent audit noted that CICH is required by law to report its finances related to all state‑funded homelessness programs.

However, the council stopped doing so in 2021.

Over the past five years, the CICH didn’t consistently track whether the money actually improved the situation, the audit concluded.

It also failed to collect and evaluate outcome data for these programs due to the lack of a consistent method.

CICH is unable to provide any evidence that it has improved the homelessness situation in the state.

In a letter to the governor, the state auditor wrote that “the state must do more to assess the cost-effectiveness of its homelessness programs.”

Despite billions spent on homelessness and housing programs during the 2018-2023 fiscal years, the problem didn’t improve in many cities, according to the state auditor’s report.

Since 2013, homelessness has jumped more than 53%.

Newsom consequently called for cities to take more rigorous steps to enforce the state’s progressive housing laws.

In a press conference, Newsom announced the state would expand a Department of Housing and Community Development agency to enforce compliance with laws that require cities to meet a threshold of new homes.

The move has led to legal action against rebellious cities like Huntington Beach that have refused to increase building targets.

“I’m not interested in failure any longer,” the governor said.

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