Newsom’s May Revise is a Gut Punch for Local Homelessness and Housing Programs

Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a $260-million reduction in the next round of Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) funding on Friday as part of his May revise. What’s more, under Newsom’s plan, local governments would receive no new HHAP funding for homelessness after the next round of grants.

The proposed cuts are aimed at addressing a $27.6 billion budget deficit brought on by declines in state revenue. The State Legislative Analyst’s Office puts the actual deficit closer to $73 billion.

City and county leaders say HHAP funds are critical in their efforts to combat homelessness. California’s Big City mayors were in Sacramento last month, trying to convince Newsom and the Legislature to make them permanent.

If the state cuts these funds, “California’s homelessness problem will only get worse,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said in a quote from the Sacramento Bee. “If the state wants to reverse the trend of more people falling into homelessness, cutting off funding for programs that are keeping tens of thousands of people indoors and off the streets isn’t the way to do it.”

“The decision to not invest in another round of HHAP funding poses a devastating threat to homelessness programs statewide and puts at risk the health and safety of thousands of unhoused residents,” said Cal Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman. “Not only does the proposal eliminate one-time funding to address homelessness, but it also ignores the growing consensus around the need for ongoing funding to address this decades-in-the-making crisis.” 

California State Association of Counties Chief Executive Officer Graham Knaus was more forgiving.

“What Governor Newsom did today is what County leaders are all too familiar with when faced with a funding shortfall – make tough decisions on spending cuts while ensuring that the most critical priorities are maintained,” he said.

In addition to slashing HHAP, Newsom wants to do away with the remaining $75 million for California’s Multifamily Housing Program. That comes on top of the $250 million in cuts he proposed in January. His revised budget would also eliminate hundreds of millions from the Behavioral Health Bridge Housing Program.

Read more about the May revise and the proposed cuts to local homelessness funding here

The governor and state lawmakers will negotiate the final blueprint over the next few weeks. A balanced budget must be approved by June 15.