Audit finds blue state can’t account for $24 billion supposedly spent homeless crisis

California Republicans are crying foul over a state audit that found that the city’s exorbitant investments into homelessness appear to have done very little.

“California has spent $24 billion over the past five years dedicated to the state’s homelessness crisis, including funneling money toward supporting shelters and subsidizing rent,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Yet the homeless population grew by a whopping six percent between 2022 and 2023, according to federal data.

As for local data, there is none because California “failed to adequately monitor the outcomes of its vast spending on homelessness programs,” the L.A. Times notes.

“A new report from the California State Auditor’s Office found that a state council created to oversee the implementation of homelessness programs has not consistently tracked spending or the outcomes of those programs,” according to The Times.

“That dearth of information means the state lacks pertinent data and that policymakers ‘are likely to struggle to understand homelessness programs’ ongoing costs and achieved outcomes,” the outlet reported Tuesday.

See the problem yet?

Speaking with Fox News, California Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher blamed this fiasco on one person: California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a rabid Democrat.

“This is standard Gavin Newsom – make a splashy announcement, waste a bunch of taxpayer money, and completely fail to deliver,” he said. “Californians are tired of the homeless crisis, and they’re even more tired of Gavin’s excuses. We need results – period, full stop.”

Republican state Sen. Roger Niello meanwhile said the audit’s findings are “troubling” but that 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.”

Niello, vice chair of the Senate Budget Committee, issued a statement calling for better solutions.

“California is facing a concerning paradox: despite an exorbitant amount of dollars spent, the state’s homeless population is not slowing down,” he said. “These audit results are a wake-up call for a shift toward solutions that prioritize self-sufficiency and cost effectiveness.”

In a statement published to X, state Rep. Kevin Kiley drew attention to what appears to be one key finding — that spending more money on homelessness isn’t a solution in itself.

“California is spending more and more on homelessness and the problem continues to get worse worse and worse,” he wrote. “Far worse than anywhere else in America. It’s yet another example of how our citizens sacrifice the most and get the least in return.”

But will things actually get better in California? Don’t count on it.

Local station KQED notes that a previous audit conducted in 2021 “found California’s management of homelessness was disjointed and lacked a centralized way to track spending or determine where efforts are duplicative.”

Why didn’t California make meaningful changes after this audit? It’s not clear.

Activists, meanwhile, think the problem is a lack of money.

“More than anything, it seems like the audit calls for us to do more,” Ray Bramson, the chief operating officer for Destination Home, told station KQED. “That costs money, and at a time where we’re seeing the funds that we’re getting be reduced or cut.”

“This has been decades and decades of disinvestment in our poorest residents at both the state and the federal levels. While there’s been more investments recently, we really need some permanent, reliable sources if we’re going to implement these big system changes,” he added.

All this comes weeks after California voters approved a Newsom-backed $6.4-billion proposition “to address one aspect of homelessness by building more treatment facilities for people who have problems with drug addiction or mental illness,” according to The Times.

Vivek Saxena

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