California Loses $24 Billion in Homeless Crisis Funds, Republicans Demand Answers

Officials in Democrat-controlled California have lost track of a staggering $24 billion in taxpayer funding that was meant to be spent on tackling the state’s escalating homelessness crisis.

An audit released earlier this week indicated that the state spent around $24B to tackle the homeless crisis over the past five years.

However, officials have no record of where the money was supposedly spent.

Additionally, the state has no evidence that the huge outlay of public money did anything to actually improve the problem.

California GOP leaders have responded by demanding answers.

The state auditor’s report found that despite roughly $24 billion supposedly spent on homeless and housing programs during the 2018-2023 fiscal years.

However, according to the state auditor’s report, the problem didn’t improve in many California cities where the money was supposed to be spent.

Among other things, the report found that the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH), which is responsible for coordinating agencies and allocating resources for homelessness programs, stopped tracking whether the programs were working in 2021.

It also failed to collect and evaluate outcome data for these programs due to the lack of a consistent method, the audit found.

California Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher laid the blame squarely on Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom administration.

“This is standard Gavin Newsom – make a splashy announcement, waste a bunch of taxpayer money, and completely fail to deliver,” Gallagher said in a statement.

“Californians are tired of the homeless crisis, and they’re even more tired of Gavin’s excuses.

“We need results – period, full stop.”

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Republican state Sen. Roger Niello has called the audit “troubling.”

In a statement, Niello said he “wasn’t terribly surprised.”

“The one issue I had with the audit was that the focus was mostly on housing and shelter issues, which is certainly important, but really very little about actual results, getting people out of homelessness, not just into shelter,” he said.

“That’s sort of half the job, maybe not even quite half the job.

“And, so that was a little bit of a disappointment.”

The audit was requested last year by Democrat state Sen. Dave Cortese.

Cortese after touring a large homeless encampment in San Jose and seeing the crisis firsthand.

He the audit “highlights the need for improved data and greater transparency at both the state and local levels.”

“Unfortunately, there is a balkanized approach to data collection and outcomes, with no centralized system for tracking our investments,” he said.

“This audit underscores the urgent need to establish best practices and create a blueprint for how the State of California and our cities can address our most visible challenge.”

Former MLB All-Star Steve Garvey said it would take “real political courage to make necessary changes.”

Garvey is running as a Republican against Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) in California’s U.S. Senate race.

“Since day one, I’ve advocated for a federal audit of California’s homelessness crisis,” he said.

“I’m glad that the state has done this, but now we need real political courage to make necessary changes.

“Our unhoused people and our taxpayers deserve real results, not more failed policies.”

Despite the audit’s findings, Cal ICH said it has made improvements in data collection after AB 977 took effect on January 1, 2023.

The law requires that grantees of state-funded homelessness programs enter specific data elements related to individuals and families into their local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS).

Still, Cal ICH is shifting the blame to local governments.

The organization says these municipalities must be held more accountable as they are the ones “primarily responsible for implementing these programs and collecting data on outcomes that the state can use to evaluate program effectiveness.”

“The Council continues to improve its ability to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent judiciously and effectively, including by providing technical support to local jurisdictions to help align data standards and reporting,” Cal ICH said.

READ MORE – California’s Fast Food Prices Soar as $20 Minimum Wage Comes into Effect

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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