SAN DIEGO — Gov. Gavin Newsom was in San Diego Wednesday morning to visit an encampment downtown and promote the state’s attempts to address homelessness.
The camp, along the freeway near 17th and G streets in East Village, was in the process of getting cleared out by City Net, an organization contracted through the city to clean up encampments and offer resources to the people who have been living there.
Case workers had been visiting the site nearly daily for about a month, a City Net spokesperson said, connecting 10 people with shelters and other resources before moving them out of the area.
Speaking at the camp Wednesday morning, Newsom praised the effort as a model for the statewide approach, and promised that funds would continue to flow from Sacramento toward cities working on similar efforts.
“Tents and encampments: Unacceptable, out of control,” the governor said, flanked by cleanup crews. “Fourteen billion dollars over the next few years will be invested for interventions out on the streets, dealing with underlying issues, long-term but also short-term solutions.”
The news conference was part of the governor’s continued promotion of the California Blueprint, his plan for tackling five “existential threats” through a proposed $286.4 billion budget. Homelessness is one of the key threats identified by the plan.
Newsom has proposed spending an additional $2 billion for mental health services, housing and clearing homeless encampments. That’s in addition to a $12 billion package from 2021, totaling the $14 billion he referenced Wednesday.
The combination would create a projected 55,000 new housing units and treatment slots. More details on the California governor’s budget are available on the state’s website.
Some of the funds will go directly to support local efforts like Wednesday’s cleanup, Newsom said. That money will be provided based on whether cities’ plans meet a series of standards laid out by the state.
Mayor Todd Gloria was on hand for Wednesday’s event, touting the work of the city’s Homeless Strategies and Solutions Department and San Diego’s continued partnership with the state.
“What we’re doing is not simply moving people from one intersection to the next,” Gloria said. “Instead, what we’re doing is connecting them with services, getting them into shelters and then moving them into permanent housing.
Gloria and Newsom could be seen helping City Net crews with trash cleanup at the camp before addressing reporters.
The organization will work with the city through at least June 2022, deploying three outreach teams to work with the San Diego Housing Commission and its network of providers for shelter and supportive services, ranging from transportation, case management and mental health support.
City News Service contributed to this report.