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California Will Spend $300 Million To Clear Homeless Encampments

 California   is set to spend nearly $300 million to clean up homeless encampments near state roads. Governor Gavin Newsom (D)  launched  th...

 California is set to spend nearly $300 million to clean up homeless encampments near state roads.

Governor Gavin Newsom (D) launched the expensive new effort on Monday with Caltrans, the state’s Department of Transportation.

“The public has had it,” Newsom said when announcing the new homeless effort. “They’re fed up. I’m fed up. We’re all fed up.”

Cities, counties, and continuums of care can submit applications for a grant from a $299 million fund, which are reviewed by California’s Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The program’s enforcement will focus on moving homeless people found camping along state roadways or “any piece of land being used for transportation purposes” into housing, Caltrans spokesperson Alisa Becerra said. This would include areas like bike paths and park and rides as well as highways.

“It’s a safety risk for them, for the infrastructure, for our staff, for first responders, and potentially for the traveling public, and that’s why we remove encampments,” said Becerra.

Fire hazards are one issue with homeless people living near roadways.

Newsom’s new homeless effort comes just after a huge fire started near a homeless encampment under the I-10 freeway in Los Angeles on November 11. There was some confusion about whether the fire started in the homeless encampment or at a leased storage space underneath the road that had flammable materials, but regardless, the homeless encampment was caught up in the blaze.


Common fire hazards at homeless encampments are outdoor cooking, homeless people stealing electricity from outside light fixtures, and a lot of highly flammable items like gas-powered generators and plenty of debris strewn around.

The governor’s offices said the state has cleared nearly 5,700 encampments over the last two years and has already provided $415 million to cities and local areas for cleaning encampments and housing homeless people.

“I think we can all agree that we need to do more to clean up encampments,” Newsom said.

“We weren’t just cleaning up encampments – out of sight, out of mind – and displacing people, removing people, but that we’re trying to resolve the underlying issues in the first place and actually support people in getting them back on their feet to self-sufficiency,” the governor said.

However, California state Senator Brian Dahle (R) argued with Newsom’s claim that the state has cleared thousands of homeless encampments.

“The governor didn’t clear these homeless encampments; they just moved them down the street,” Dahle said. “California spends more tax dollars per homeless person than we do on our students. The homeless crisis is a national embarrassment. This governor needs to focus on real results instead of chasing presidential aspirations and gas-lighting Californians.”

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