California

Fresno, Bakersfield mayors press Newsom, legislature to extend homeless program

It’s been quite a while since Californians heard from the Big City Mayors Coalition.

The group of mayors representing California’s 10 largest cities is back with a new push, this time centering on homelessness.

Per KABC, the program – dubbed the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Grant Program – has sent millions to the state’s cities to provide roughly 25,000 shelter beds since it was first implemented.

But nine of the 10 Big City Mayors, contend that they are staring down a so-called “fiscal cliff” with the program as they struggle to find ways to preserve bedspace without continued state funding.

Monday, the following mayors trekked to Sacramento for the push: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln, Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson, and Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento.

Newsom administration officials, however, contend that more than adequate funding for the program still exists and that the full-court press from Mayors may be misguided:

“Gov. Newsom’s administration has invested unprecedented billions in local governments to provide housing and implement bold, transformative solutions to move people off our streets and into urgently needed housing and services, including $2 billion in HHAP funding for FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23,” Russ Heimerich, deputy secretary of communications for the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency said. “The administration is committed to working with local governments to develop and implement solutions that will make a meaningful difference in local communities.”

Reid Stone is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.