(KTXL) — The mayors of several big cities asked for $20 billion from the state to help tackle homelessness during a joint virtual press conference Thursday.
“We see it on our underpasses and overpasses. We see it under our bridges, and unfortunately, it’s not just there anymore in the shadows,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “It’s in front of businesses and homes. It’s everywhere.”
They want the state to commit to a $4 billion budget for cities over the next five years.
“It’s for shelter. It’s for permanent housing; it’s for cleanups,” Garcettie said. “It’s for services. It’s for everything that we need to address the complexity of homelessness.”
“This year’s budget presents California with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dramatically reduce homelessness,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
The group says the funding can come from the state’s surplus.
“This is the moment in California to take that moonshot and make homelessness dramatically different — dramatically and visibly better in all of our cities,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
A $20 billion investment would be the largest allocation of funds dedicated to fighting homelessness in the nation’s history.
“If we can muster the collective courage and will to stand up for our most vulnerable neighbors,” Licarrdo said.
The money would go towards building more than 100,000 homes to shelter unhoused Californians.
Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln says in addition to state funding, it will also take community backing to make a difference.
“In order to get public buy in, we have to make sure that we are enhancing the services that we currently have in place and working through and with those partners to meet those specific needs,” Lincoln said.
California is home to 25% of the country’s unhoused population.
“We know California is better than this, than to allow our elders, our children to sleep on our streets,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “This bold investment is the most important thing the governor and the legislature can do in this year’s budget.”
The mayors say they will continue working with the governor’s office and the State Legislature to ensure addressing homelessness remains a top priority.