SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $2.75 billion expansion of the state's homeless housing initiative Thursday, which is the biggest investment in homeless housing in the state's history.
The massive investment into California's Homekey initiative will be used to purchase and rehabilitate buildings such as hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, tiny homes and other properties. The governor's office expects the investment will result in around 14,000 permanent, long-term housing options for the state's homeless.
"California is moving with unprecedented speed to house people experiencing homelessness, through Homekey," said Newsom. "We are going all in on solutions that work – tackling the homelessness crisis head-on with a constructive, compassionate approach and a focus on serving those with the most acute behavioral health needs. This investment will allow us to build on Homekey's groundbreaking success – creating more housing, faster and with accountability and efficiency."
Homekey's expansion comes after Newsom signed a housing and homelessness funding package as part of his California Comeback Plan earlier this year. The plan invests $12 billion in tackling homelessness, and $5.8 billion of it – including the $2.75 billion to expand Homekey – was directed to setting up as much as 42,000 new homeless housing units and treatment beds, with housing options for those with the most acute behavioral health needs.
Newsom's office said that the additional Homekey funding builds on the first phase investment of $846 million, which resulted in 94 projects in counties and tribal areas across the state.
Since it started in 2020, Homekey has been the fastest, largest, most cost-effective addition of permanent housing in California history, according to Newsom's office. Within a year of its start, Homekey provided safe shelter from COVID-19 to thousands of Californians and created 6,000 affordable housing units in record time and at a fraction of the cost.
"In the middle of a pandemic, California took bold action to protect individuals experiencing homelessness by creating more than 6,000 units of housing with the first round of Homekey funding," Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramírez said. "It was the largest single addition of permanent housing in the state's history, but our work is far from done. With the next round of Homekey funding, the state will continue its work with our local partners to protect vulnerable Californians by providing safe spaces they can call their own."
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