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California Governor Gavin Newsom speaking at the State of the State address in Sacramento, CA, Mar 8, 2022. (Photo: Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock)

Gov. Newsom Wants 15% Homeless Reduction By 2025, New Tiny Homes

Newsom has dumped $22.3 billion in housing and homeless programs since taking office

By Evan Symon, March 16, 2023 6:11 pm

Governor Gavin Newsom kicked off a tour across California in lieu of a State of the State on Thursday in Sacramento, highlighting a new homeless reduction program that includes bringing tiny homes to cities statewide, and the goal of reducing homelessness 15% by 2025.

Since coming into statewide office in the late 2010s, Gavin Newsom has attempted to reduce homelessness in California multiple times but has failed to put a dent in the numbers. Instead, Newsom has pushed the blame to local leaders and cities.

Project Roomkey, a pandemic-era measure to put up homeless people in cheap motels and hotels, has been exhibit A in the state spending billions, while putting forward a significant amount of resources, only to fail on the follow through, and never attracting enough homeless people to even do the program in the first place. In 2022, funding for Project Roomkey and Project Homekey, a similar failed plan, cost the state over $ 3 billion.

But with homelessness still on the rise statewide, Newsom made it the subject of his new California tour and first speech on Thursday at Sacramento’s Cal Expo event center. According to Newsom, he aims to reduce homelessness 15% across the state by 2025, spend another $1 billion for homelessness funding, and push for more tiny homes to be given to the homeless in key locations across the state.

Tiny homes were given special focus, with prototypes displayed behind the governor during his speech. Gov. Newsom said that the state will give 1,200 tiny homes to four cities later this year. Los Angeles is to receive 500, San Diego 150, Sacramento 350, and San Jose 200. San Francisco was left out, but only due to the city already having a tiny home program.

“I get it,” said Newsom on Thursday. “You want to see progress. And you want to see it now. You want to see progress in terms of encampments. You want to see progress in terms of people off the street. We wanted enthusiastic partners. We didn’t want people we had to coerce. The goal, is to provide more options for homeless people who are living out in the streets and sidewalks in these extraordinary and horrid conditions.”

“In California we are using every tool in our toolbox — including the largest-ever deployment of small homes in the state — to move people out of encampments and into housing. The crisis of homelessness will never be solved without first solving the crisis of housing — the two issues are inextricably linked. My office gave preference to communities that already have a track record of operating successful tiny home communities, have potential sites available to open new ones and are eager to participate.”

San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan, who joined Newsom at the conference, adding, “This new program is a great opportunity for our city. This commitment from the governor is going to enable us to accelerate basic, dignified housing for people who need it and start to end this era of encampments that we’ve been struggling with and we’ve seen the success just in the last few years in San Jose.”

Newsom’s plan quickly criticized

However, the plan was quickly dismantled by critics who noted that Newsom has dumped $22.3 billion in housing and homeless programs since taking office, but has yet to see many improvements due to his tactic of taking a program that worked at the local level in one area, then applying it statewide without tailoring it to each local area.

“The thing is, Newsom and his team sees a success in a certain city then try to apply it statewide without tailoring it to make it work in different areas,” explained Los Angeles homeless advocate  and housing placer Logan Kramer to the Globe on Thursday. “Like Roomkey. They used a model that showed signs of success in some cities, but they failed to see why it succeeded in those areas. See, where Roomkey worked was in having motels be near places where these homeless people worked or went for self-care, such as clinics. Or they were near public transportation like a bus stop for easy access. Newsom’s Project Roomkey just didn’t even consider it it seems. The Pandemic rush, I admit, did focus on just plain housing early on to get people a to a safe place with COVID-19 going about. But after the pandemic, that was no longer an excuse. That, plus many just didn’t want to do the program due to strict controls for those going in.”

“Tiny homes are another. They have gone up in places like San Francisco, but Newsom is ignoring just how many locales are putting the kibbosh on them. San Francisco is considering a ban, and in LA, tiny homes that volunteers build are quickly confiscated by city officials because they block sidewalks or other areas. Tents you can go around when walking. You can move them easily. Not those homes. Those homes also don’t have bathroom facilities and other essentials, meaning they can be a biohazard in waiting too.”

California State Association of Counties executive director Graham Knauss also noted the locality differences, saying that “Currently state homelessness funding has all sorts of rules that have to be put in and half a dozen different state departments involved in order to find one program. That needs to change. That is not government at its best.”

However, the program could also have personal implications for Newsom.

“Newsom is a viable 2028 presidential candidate,” added Kramer. “You’re right in linking Newsom wanting to be able to say that he reduced homelessness in California during his time in office to a run, because not being able to do so will be a huge red flag to potential voters. He doesn’t want to be remembered as the Governor who made the homeless problem even worse.”

“Also remember that 2028 is going to bring the Olympics  to LA too. If homeless are spotted easily, networks around the world are going to show that, which could tarnish his legacy even further.”

More speeches by Newsom across California are expected to continue throughout March, with each one touching on a different issue usually reserved for the State of the State.

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15 thoughts on “Gov. Newsom Wants 15% Homeless Reduction By 2025, New Tiny Homes

  1. It will only work if you stack them on top of each other and have free crack delivery.
    I guess the stock in tough sheds just went up! SVB should get in on the funding…
    In all seriousness, this is not a solution! Until Newsom and his democrat cabal acknowledge the real problem building boxes for people to live in will further the crisis.
    You can not dole out dignity, it must be earned and maintained.

    So California voters, is this the brilliance you voted for.
    What is this state spent on this issue while Newsom has been the Gov? 12 BILLION I believe😒

  2. Newsom knows this throwing-money-at-it plan is bull. He knows ‘Housing First’ is bull. He knows ‘Project Roomkey’ is bull. Sure maybe it’s great for the Homeless Industrial Complex and for building slush funds, to a point, anyway, but it has all become such a stinking, putrid, unhelpful, unworkable, damaging and unaffordable MESS, which more and more Californians are reeling from every day, and he must know that, too. Seems like he has now boxed himself into a corner of bad ideas and policies. He can’t even come up with new names to put fresh lipstick on the fiasco he continues to push and waste money on. It’s pathetic, it’s such an obvious failure. Wouldn’t be surprised to hear he is panicking now. The “failing up” trend can’t last forever, after all.
    Newsom had better take stock, and quick, or he might find himself LIVING in one of these tiny homes very soon.

    1. I hear ya ShowandTell!
      Nothing fresh or creative about failed policy! As you point out it just feeds the Homeless Industrial complex!
      The only thing different is that he took his clown show on the road! He reminds me of a circus barker, “step right up good people I bring good news, we will build tiny homes, not only will they look better than a torn tent but we can fit not just one but two people in them! Magic I tell ya!”
      The paltry number of tiny boxes, I mean homes he promised to each major city is ridiculous for instance San Jose is allotted 200 tiny homes and Los Angeles is 500.
      How he can he stand up there with a straight face and claim this is a solution to house thousands on the streets?
      What a joke!
      P.S. follow the money.

      1. Yes, and your reference to stack-and-pack with free crack delivery brings to mind how utterly insane it was, in 2020, at the beginning of “Covid,” for Newsom to (e.g.) fill the world-famous Mark Hopkins Hotel with vagrant drug addicts and cater to their every whim. How BIZARRE was that —- and for what unholy reason did Gruesome decide to stigmatize famous luxury hotels whose rooms were indeed trashed and required extensive renovation? And do you think your average overseas tourist knew they were sharing their vacation hotel with junkies? No… The entire hotel-motel industry was stigmatized as a result of this policy. The obvious “yecchh factor” must have further damaged their reputation. No wonder most hotel/motels are no longer buying into this beyond-insane Newsom plan.

        1. Uggh, the Mark Hopkins is forever tainted in my mind.
          Yes, my reference was exactly because of that fiasco! The state can give shelter to all homeless and would not improve the situation because it does not address the main issues. Bring a drug addict inside and they still need the drugs to get through the day. S.F. Officials knew that hence the action of drug and alcohol delivery.

          Newsom”s actions are performative as it does little to solve chronic homelessness.

  3. A fawning press allows Newsom to get away with this every time….I mean he left the state for Mexico when Californians were trapped and dying in the snowstorm but received little or no criticism. The fact is that the homeless crisis is unsolvable without addressing the influx of fentanyl and AG Bonta is instead focused on suing cities that dare to challenge state housing mandates.

    1. ASM Kevin McCarty tweeted this in response to Newsom’s magnanimous action ” Sacramento is getting 350 tiny homes! Today, my colleagues and I joined Governor Newsom as he announced that 4 cities, including Sac, will be receiving tiny homes for temporary shelter for those who are homeless. Thank you Governor for your continued support on this issue.”
      McCarty (like many of the addlebrained sycophants in the CA legistature) has ambition, but unfortunately no common sense.

  4. Make no mistake. All of Newsom’s activity since SVB, repositioning, reiterating – storm damage, oil/gas, homeless, and whatever will come next – is straight out of the Bill Clinton playbook. When the Monica Lewinsky story broke, Clinton’s handlers told him to just focus on the nation’s business – a pretense to deflect media and public attention.

    1. P.S. P.S. So, I am waiting for a statement from the governor; something like,”I did not have improper financial relations with that bank” (along the lines, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”).

  5. Just think how many tiny homes for the homeless could be nestled onto Newsom’s lavish 8-acre estate in Fair Oaks outside of Sacramento? The homeless would enjoy swimming in the pool and playing on the tennis court on the estate? The homeless could enjoy wine from the wine cellar in the Newsom’s 12,000-square-foot mansion? It’s only equitable? Newsom needs to be held accountable and be brought before a tribunal and for his many crimes against humanity such as locking healthy Californians and small businesses down (while excluding himself and his cronies) during the scamdemic, for mandating experimental mRNA shots that have injured and killed thousands of innocent Californians, and for making California a mecca for killing babies and mutilating trans surgeries.

  6. If Noisome built a tiny house it would cost a million bucks, the roof would leak and it would have black mold.

    I have an idea! Let’s house Noisome in a 6′ x 8′ cell. Do that one thing and the state will improve dramatically within a month.

  7. It’s time to enact Florida’s ‘Resign to Run’ removing candidates from office that plan to campaign for presidency.
    Then the adults can clean-up the trash Newsom has enacted to debilitate the state. This article in Daily Mail.co.uk shows how money alone doesn’t solve the homeless issue, and it’s about to get worse with ‘Tranq’ on the streets (4 have died in SF from Tranq/Fentynal combo, tranq knocks you out for 8 hrs, fentynal for 2 hrs, so you may not know someone needs narcan, leading to overdose death). “America’s Vagrancy Crisis Laid Bare: California Hosts a Third of the Nation’s Homeless, Half of Its Street-Sleepers, and SIX of the Top Ten Cities
    Worst Hit by Tent Encampments” (dailymail.co.uk) …among the largest number of unsheltered people in U.S.

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