California Dems Ask How Newsom Wasted $20B For Homeless, But Get No Answer

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a Clean California event in San Francisco, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Some California Democrats are turning on their Golden State leader after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s homelessness council failed to track whether billions of dollars spent on curbing the homelessness crisis were successful in the last five years.

“You come to a budget committee, and there’s no numbers,” Democratic Assemblymember Phil Ting said to Newsom’s housing and homelessness officials during Monday’s budget committee hearing. “How many people have we helped? How many people are off the street?”

“Because that’s what people want to know,” he added.

A California Interagency Council on Homelessness (CICH) executive responded that they’re dealing with “data quality issues,” so metrics are not yet available for how more than $20 billion was spent since the council’s inception.

“We’re working expeditiously,” executive officer Meghan Marshall said.

“What does that mean though? We spent billions of dollars, and you can’t tell us at all how many people we’ve helped,” Tang said.

Megan Kirkeby, deputy director for the California Department of Housing and Community Development, told lawmakers in the committee that the state didn’t previously require them to track its progress on spending or the viability of its programs, adding it’s not “something to be proud of.”

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