MATHER, Calif. — Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday a 100-day initiative giving cities and counties across California a chance at receiving a piece of $35 million in housing money.
The initiative allows local governments to set goals, like housing 100 homeless veterans or build 100 new housing units in 100 days. The funding comes from $650 million in emergency aid budgeted for state, county and local governments to help the homeless.
"We want to inspire community action at the local, county, and regional action," Newsom said, adding that at least six other cities and counties across the state have accepted the pledge.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg says his city will accept the challenge and hopes to secure property where 100 efficiency housing units could be built.
Sacramento has worked aggressively in recent years to house the homeless. Still, there are only 1,420 shelter beds available for the city’s more than 5,500 homeless, according to a recent point-in-time count.
Among many ideas to remedy the lack of housing for homeless residents, Sacramento city leaders have proposed building tiny homes, repurposing a motel, parking lot camps, and shelters.
There are nearly 130,000 people who are homeless in California, according to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The state is home to nearly 25% of all homeless living in the United States.
On Wednesday, Newsom met with residents in San Bernardino County at the Loma Linda Veteran' Village who were previously homeless but were able to move into housing through the subsidized vouchers.
In Los Angeles County, the Maximum Housing Choice Voucher (formerly known as Section 8) for a one bedroom unit is $1,384 in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That amount will increase to $1,517 in 2020.
Newsom said increasing the value of the vouchers could help thousands of homeless and others struggling to afford housing get a roof over their head. He took time to be critical of President Donald Trump.
"I've been here 20 years, I’m gonna take responsibility and we are stepping up," Newsom said. "But this has been decades in the making. We got to meet this moment and we need support from the federal government. So Mr. President, don’t demagogue this, do the right damn thing. Move forward, help us with the fair market rents, we’ll do our part."
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