California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) indicated he plans to allocate $750 million of the state’s 2023-24 budget to cleaning up homeless encampments.
“We want to see accountability,” Newsom announced at a Monday press conference. “People want to see these encampments cleaned up. They’re fed up. People agree — they want to see more accountability for dollars invested.”
It is no secret that the homeless crisis in California has grown tremendously. One video shared by the well-known conservative social media account “Libs of TikTok” appeared to show a California street that appeared to be very dirty and full of homeless encampments.
“Newsom’s California is a hell hole,” opined the account.
Newsom’s California is a hell hole pic.twitter.com/AtJyfOoEZf
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) January 11, 2023
The $750 million Newsom plans to dole out would be handed out to local governments and is part of a bigger $15.3 billion package meant to address the homeless crisis, SFGate reports.
Should Newsom’s proposal ultimately end up in the final budget, people tasked with ridding their municipalities of homeless encampments likely face a large task ahead. An estimated total of 100,000 people are living on California’s streets as rent is rising nationwide, per the Wisconsin State Journal.
Some people have fought legally to ensure homeless people can live on the street. A lawsuit against the city of San Francisco was put forth last year by an advocacy organization called the Coalition on Homelessness.
According to the group, homeless encampment sweeps in the city resulted in multiple constitutional rights violations.
“You can be as tough as you want on people — that’s not going to magically create a house for them,” Jennifer Friedenbach, who serves as the coalition’s executive director, told the Journal. “And they don’t have disappearing powers.”
An average one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco will run somebody around $3,000, claims the Journal’s report.
According to SFGate, California’s Northern District ruled in December that the rights of San Francisco’s homeless had been violated, blocking the city’s ability to clear encampments until the city can prove it has enough shelter beds.
The court said there is “significant evidence” that Fourth and Eighth Amendment violations occurred as a result of the penalties people may face for being homeless, such as having their property destroyed or facing criminal charges.