Homelessness Task Force Issues Interim Recommendations to Governor Newsom

On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors, led by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, revealed their recommendations for reducing street homelessness, breaking down barriers keeping individuals experiencing homelessness from accessing mental health and substance use services, and findings ways to reduce the cost and boost the supply of housing options throughout the state of California. At the beginning of the 2020 legislative session, the council set forth a series of interim recommendations to guide specific budget and policy actions to address the state’s ongoing issues related to homelessness.

The council’s recommendations include:

  • Creating an enforceable, results-based accountability mandate to end homelessness;
  • Adopting a comprehensive crisis response strategy; and
  • Creating a single point of authority for homelessness in state government.

The council’s interim recommendations were released as Governor Newsom embarked on a weeklong tour of meeting with individuals receiving homeless services throughout the state with stops in Nevada County, the Inland Empire, Los Angeles County, the Central Valley, and the Bay Area. During his tour, Newsom indicated that he would “lean in the direction” of the council’s recommendations to deploy a legal obligation to supply sufficient services and housing to individuals experiencing homelessness. Newsom further remarked, “I broadly have been encouraging this debate about obligations. There’s a distinction between rights and obligations. … The question is how you do it. This is not black and white. This is tough stuff.”

While the council’s recommendations do not provide specific details on how these actions would be implemented and enforced, the issue of homelessness is widely expected to dominate policy and budgetary matters this year in Sacramento.

The council’s letter to Governor Newsom is available here.