RIVERSIDE AND LOS ANGELES–Governor Gavin Newsom continued his weeklong homelessness tour Tuesday with visits to an emergency access center in Riverside and a board and care home in Los Angeles.
The first stop was the Riverside Access Center, which provides access to a wide range of services under one roof, including homeless street outreach, housing placement, employment development, and homeless prevention resources. Newsom met with a woman named Peggy, who relies on the services at the center and told the governor that for her, having a key to a home represents security. He also met with Duke, a formerly homeless individual who now serves as a security guard at the very center where he received services. The governor was joined by Senator Richard Roth, Assemblymember Jose Medina, Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey and Secretary of Health and Human Services Mark Ghaly.
“We are providing an unprecedented amount of support to meet an unprecedented moment in our state history,” said Governor Newsom. “We need to own this and we need to own up to our responsibility to do more and to do better. At all levels of government, we need to start rowing in the same direction.
The governor also visited Lone Star Board and Care in South Los Angeles, where he met with individuals receiving mental health services and temporary board care. He was joined by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County service providers and Secretary Ghaly.
“Governor Newsom is boldly leading by rising above rhetoric and controversy and taking action to address the homelessness crisis,” said Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. “He made a promise to help cities heavily impacted by homelessness in the last budget cycle and he delivered, expanding shelter, increasing outreach, and adding much needed bridge housing. The governor’s response is part of a long-term strategy, and the proposed next round of funding will allow us to drastically expand mental health services.”
Los Angeles County stands to receive $64.8 million, and Riverside County $3.1 million, from the $650 million in emergency aid made available through the state budget last year.
“Governor Newsom is getting a first-hand sense of what vulnerable Californians affected by poverty and mental illness are contending with everyday,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We are excited to partner with the Governor in an unprecedented way to address our homeless crisis. Together, we are rolling up our sleeves, shoring up existing resources, and responding with the ingenuity and urgency that the people of California deserve.”
Newsom kicked off the tour yesterday in Grass Valley, where he visited two homeless service providers and shelters, joined by Assemblymember Megan Dahle, Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout, and county and city service providers. The governor will continue his tour later this week with upcoming stops in the Central Valley and Bay Area.
He began the year by signing an executive order as part of a comprehensive state response to homelessness, including the creation of the California Access to Housing and Services Fund, expediting the availability of state land assets, and standing up a state crisis response team. The governor’s action focuses on prevention and early intervention, moving people off the streets and providing them services, and creating new temporary housing to effectively reduce street homelessness.
In his State Budget proposal released Friday, the Newsom formally announced more than $1 billion in homeless response funding, including $750 million for this new Access to Housing and Services Fund, and a major new investment to reform Medi-Cal so that health providers transform health care to deliver integrated physical and behavioral health.
Last year, the governor signed 13 bills into law to help confront the homelessness crisis and others to fuel new housing development. In September, the governor called on the Trump administration to increase federal investments in housing options for people experiencing homelessness and requested 50,000 additional Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers. In July, Newsom announced regional leaders and statewide experts who will advise his Administration on solutions to address the state’s homelessness epidemic.
Newsom has also released the full $650 million in State Emergency Homeless Aid and issued a challenge for cities and counties to partner with the state on immediate impact solutions to tackle homelessness.