Newsom touts funds to buy homeless housing

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New state funding will be used to transform existing buildings into temporary and permanent housing for the homeless in Los Angeles.

Governor Gavin Newsom was in Los Angeles on Tuesday and Wednesday to talk about the program and another initiative, a three-day pilot program that uses six sites to help connect homeless people to services such as obtaining an ID and login with housing options.

“Awareness, so often, is just an open office door between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but not on public holidays. We need to take the government to the streets,” Newsom said.

Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti were at a Mid-City apartment building on Wednesday to discuss purchasing permanent housing for the homeless.

The Project Homekey program will receive an additional $694 million to fund dozens more such developments, Newsom said.

“A new way to solve the crisis of our time, homelessness. It’s half the time, half the price,” he added.

The program, which started with motels and hotels during the pandemic, has also been extended to apartment complexes.

Robin Petering, founder of homeless youth advocacy group Lens Co, said “underutilized hotels and motels are a fantastic available resource”.

Gary Painter, director of the homelessness policy research institute, added that it’s important to keep tabs on program costs.

“We really need to keep an eye on how the unit cost changes over time because in a sense the money is chasing tougher and potentially more expensive properties,” Painter said.

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