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Local government officials across the state are set to meet with Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday to discuss next steps following Newsom’s decision to hold back hundreds of millions of dollars in state homelessness funds.
City officials who have been waiting on more than $20 million in state Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program funds they planned to use to back shelters and other services hope the governor will release those funds soon.
In the couple weeks after Newsom’s announcement that he’d reject HHAP spending plans submitted by governments across the state, Mayor Todd Gloria has been urging Newsom to shake loose those funds.
Gloria’s pitch at Friday’s meeting in Sacramento will be to have cities set more ambitious goals for the upcoming HHAP funding round and to unleash the funds they were already promised, said Adrian Granda, Gloria’s director of government affairs.
Granda told the City Council on Monday that he expects the state to release HHAP funds it already committed to cities like San Diego if they can set bolder goals to reduce unsheltered homelessness and increase the number of homeless people moving into permanent housing in the next round of the initiative.
“I do feel confident that we’ll be able to achieve very quick alignment,” said Granda, noting that he expected the state to then quickly release the 80 percent share of HHAP funds the governor held back and pivot to a process to set goals for the next funding round.
For now, the city’s fourth HHAP application is due Nov. 29, less than two weeks after Friday’s meeting with the governor.
“I believe after the conversation on Friday we will be given the charge and we will be able to better reset goals to meet what the state’s asking for,” Granda said.
Granda’s comments came after City Councilmembers pressed the city’s Homelessness Strategies and Solutions Department about the governor’s move and what it might mean for the city. After all, HHAP dollars have been a crucial funding source for the city’s homeless shelters and other programs.
The San Diego region had collectively expected to receive about $54 million from the grant program. Per the state grant process, the city and others received about 20 percent of those funds months ago and are now waiting on the remaining 80 percent. Using those funds, regional leaders projected they’d achieve outcomes including a 10 percent increase in people accessing homeless services annually and 4 percent reductions in unsheltered homelessness and newly homeless San Diegans. Those predicted outcomes reflected a surge in people falling into homelessness that was factored into the region’s earlier goal-setting process.