CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed $12 billion in funding intended to help end the statewide issue of homelessness.
Of the $12 billion, $8.75 billion will be used for the state's "Project Homekey" and more housing units. The remaining $3.5 billion will be used for programs to prevent homelessness, such as rental assistance programs.
“This is an order of magnitude investment into transforming the homeless crisis in the state of California to one of America's most enlightening stories with the support and examples of people who are demonstrable proof that homelessness can end in our society,” said Governor Newsom.
Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said the county has been working on this issue for several years. According to Velazquez, the first thing that needs to be done is to provide people with shelter. Once the person has a roof over their heads, a deeper dive can be made to identify the root of the issue and the resources needed.
"If we're not all doing it, all the counties, all the cities, the flow will go somewhere else," said Mayor Velazquez. "It's impacted another area and then it'll go somewhere else another area, so It's like squeezing the balloon, right? It just keeps going different areas, we have to do it as a team, as a state can get to services."
According to the latest Homeless Census completed in 2019, more than 2,400 people in Monterey County experienced housing insecurity, more than 2,100 in Santa Cruz County, and 282 in San Benito County.
"We need different strategies for whether it's families and kids that are experiencing homelessness, single adults, farmworkers, youth transitioning out of the foster care system, we need to think about each one of those populations and develop a strategy for each one," said Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty.