Vacant state property could be used to help house homeless individuals, due to an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week. Newsom signed the order, which instructs four state agencies to locate and vet unused properties that could be made available as short-stay shelters. In addition, the order will provide cities and counties with 100 travel trailers and tents to set up temporary housing and services.
The Governor is also expected to ask the state legislature to approve a $750 million fund to help pay rent and build affordable housing for homeless people. The order comes as most of the state is dealing with a surge in homelessness. Locally, in 2019, homeless leaped by 12% in Los Angeles County and 16% in the city, compared to the previous year.
“The State of California is treating homelessness as a real emergency — because it is one,” Newsom said in a prepared statement. “Californians are demanding that all levels of government — federal, state and local — do more to get people off the streets and into services—whether that’s housing, mental health service, substance abuse treatment or all of the above.”
The announcement came two days before the governor presented his second annual budget proposal to the state legislature. At the federal level, President Donald Trump has placed a microscope on California, criticizing local and state leaders for being unable to solve its homeless issue.