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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the names of the regional leaders and statewide experts on July 16 who will advise the administration on solutions to address the homelessness epidemic. Once convened, the leaders will join Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in meetings to be held across the state to assist local governments in crafting regional strategies to address homelessness. A particular focus will be placed on homelessness prevention and early intervention.
Recent homeless data shows the housing cost crisis is a major driver of homelessness as many Californians struggle to afford rent. As the state invests historic amounts of money to combat homelessness, including funds for shelters and mental health services, there remains a great need to slow or stop the in-flow of people becoming homeless in the first place, Newsom said.
“It’s time we stop talking about the homelessness crisis and start acting,” he added. “This is a crisis that affects all of California, from rural and urban communities to coastal and inland cities. We need to work collectively to source local solutions from mayors, county supervisors and city councils and implement those solutions at scale statewide.”
The governor also announced plans to appoint working groups of other leaders, service providers, formerly homeless people and academic experts focused on specific geographic areas and specific issues affecting homelessness. The working groups will include experts on mental health, street homelessness and rural homelessness. Selections of members of the working groups will be made in the coming weeks.
The group will hold its first three regional meetings in August in the Central Valley, September in Southern California and October in Northern California.
Steinberg and Ridley-Thomas will serve as co-chairs.
“I look forward to partnering with Gov. Gavin Newsom, Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other regional leaders and experts to ensure that the state of California steps up in strategic ways to confront this deepening and dynamic crisis,” Ridley-Thomas said. “It is time for all levels of government to intensify our efforts, and take urgent swift and consistent action to combat homelessness.”
The advisors will examine best practices relating to prevention, diversion and intervention, as well as guide local governments as they develop regional plans to address homelessness. Last month, the governor signed a state budget that includes a $1 billion investment in the fight against homelessness.
For information, visit gov.ca.gov.
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