The budget year 2023–24, according to California Governor Gavin Newsom, will include $750 million for the removal of homeless camps around the Golden State. At a press conference on Monday, Newsom stated, “We want to see responsibility. “These camps need to be cleaned up, according to the public. They are over it. Everyone is in agreement that there should be more accountability for money spent.”
SFGate reports that the $750 million allocation, which is a portion of a larger $15.3 billion package Newsom wants to spend to solve the homelessness issue, will be given to local governments. Municipalities entrusted with removing homeless encampments may face resistance if Newsom’s idea is included in the final budget.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, there are currently more than 100,000 people living on the streets of California due to rising rents and a lack of affordable housing across the country.
As seen in the lawsuit brought against the city last year by San Francisco’s unhoused population and the Coalition on Homelessness, who claimed numerous constitutional rights breaches during the encampment sweeps, homeless groups are increasingly taking the fight to the courts.
As the coalition’s executive director, Jennifer Friedenbach told the Journal, “You can be as tough on folks as you want, but that’s not going to miraculously create a house for them.” And they lack the ability to vanish.
According to the Journal, a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco costs an average of $3,000 a month to rent.
According to SFGate, the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting tent cleanups until the city has an adequate number of shelter beds, ruling in favor of San Francisco’s homeless population.
The court found “strong evidence” that San Francisco’s homeless had routinely had their Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights infringed, including destruction of private property and criminal consequences for being homeless without acceptable shelter alternatives.
The coalition claimed that despite the order, the city kept removing encampments, even carrying out a sweep the day a severe winter storm struck.
However, Newsom’s fiscal priorities are not unchangeable. The governor promised to spend $750 million removing homeless encampments, but the California Legislature will decide on a final budget and pass it later this year, according to SFGate.
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