Gov. Gavin Newsom declared earlier this week that nearly $300 million is set to be allocated to local municipalities statewide through competitive grants. The objective is to address the issue of homeless encampments and facilitate the transition of homeless individuals into permanent housing. The majority of these funds are earmarked for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), which will utilize them to clear encampments on state property and provide support to the homeless, aiding them in locating alternative living arrangements.
“I think we can all agree that we need to do more to clean up encampments,” Newsom said in a virtual news briefing. We weren’t just cleaning up encampments – out of sight, out of mind – and displacing people, removing people, but we’re trying to resolve the underlying issues in the first place and actually support people in getting them back on their feet to self-sufficiency,” he added.
The governor also said that over 13,000 homeless people had been helped by previous distributions from the Encampment Resolution Fund and the new distribution will help another 10,000 more. Sixty-six communities have been awarded $414 million from the Encampment Resolution Fund since 2021, the governor’s office said.
“Housing is the solution to homelessness, and these grants will help our local partners assist their unhoused neighbors move from dangerous and unsightly encampments into safe and stable places they can call home,” Meghan Marshall, Executive Officer for the California Interagency Council on Homelessness, said in a statement.
California has 30% of the nation’s homeless population, according to a 2023 study by UCSF, with about 171,000 people experiencing homelessness in California.
“Through the Encampment Resolution Grants, Caltrans is working to connect people experiencing homelessness on its right-of-way to more secure and stable housing situations offered by local partners,” said Alisa Becerra, a Caltrans Deputy Division Chief. “The strength of this effort relies on collaboration, trust, and a shared commitment to creating real solutions that help the people who need it most.”
Cities and counties in the state must submit applications to the California Interagency Council on Homelessness to secure a grant. The application window extends until the conclusion of June in the upcoming calendar year or until the funds are depleted, whichever comes first.
To report an encampment, contact the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) by dialing 800-548-6047. You can also submit a request online using this link. For additional information, refer to the LA City Attorney’s page on homelessness.