California is making nearly $300 million in additional grant money available for local governments to clear homeless encampments, with a focus on areas near state and interstate highways, and provide housing options for people who are impacted.
About half of the "encampment resolution" money announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday will be dedicated to the effort to clear encampments on what the state refers to as rights-of-way, which are public roads, highways and Interstate Highways owned and maintained by Caltrans.
The $299 million in grant money adds to the $414 million already awarded from the state's Encampment Resolution Fund, which was established through Assembly Bill 140 in 2021 to help local jurisdictions provide more re-housing options for people living in encampments near highways.
In a statement, Newsom said clearing the encampments was motivated by safety.
"Since day one, combatting homelessness has been a top priority. Encampments are not safe for the people living in them, or for community members around them. The state is giving locals hundreds of millions of dollars to move people into housing and clean up these persistent and dangerous encampments. And we are doing the same on state land, having removed 5,679 encampments since 2021," Newsom said.
Cities, counties and continuums of care are eligible to apply for the grant money through the California Interagency Council on Homelessness through next June.
The money helps fund street outreach teams and facilitates partnerships between local governments and Caltrans to clear the encampments.
"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," Becerra said.
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