California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to bring in the National Guard to build 1,200 tiny homes to shelter a tiny fraction of the roughly 170,000 people on the streets of the Golden State.
In what one critic said would be a “drop in the bucket” to solve the distressing homelessness crisis, Newsom said Thursday he hoped to have all the homes up across Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego and Los Angeles by the fall.
As part of the $30 million project, the four cities will choose the locations of the homes and be in charge of upkeep.
The Democratic governor said he wants homeless people to have options besides “living out in the streets and sidewalks in these extraordinary and horrid conditions.”
“I get it,” he said in Sacramento, “you want to see progress, and you want to see it now.”
The homes could be as small as 120 square feet, take about 90 minutes to erect, and will be built on public land for people living in encampments along roads and rivers, a spokesperson from Newsom’s office said.
“We need to focus more energy and precision on addressing encampments,” Newsom said.
“There’s no humanity there. People are dying on our watch.”
Republican state Senate Leader Brian Jones criticized the proposal as “just another Band-Aid on a crisis that is out of control in California.”
“We know that throwing money at this problem doesn’t work,” he said in a statement, adding, “While I appreciate the governor’s creativity to construct 1,200 tiny homes, that is a drop in the bucket.”
GOP Assemblyman Josh Hoover said he doesn’t think the homes would “make a huge dent.”
“I think this is another splashy announcement that I’m skeptical will get results,” Hoover said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
California, home to 40 million people, has about one-third of the nation’s homeless population with that grim number ballooning much faster compared to other states, according to federal data by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Los Angeles would get 500 homes, Sacramento another 350 homes, San Jose would receive 200 and San Diego would be allotted 150.
Two cities notably missing from the list are San Francisco and Oakland, both of which have been dealing with the homeless crisis.
San Francisco’s proposal to build a village of tiny cabins has been delayed over community uproar, and a similar program in Oakland from 2018 to 2021 had mixed results, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Newsom has signed off on $22.3 billion on new housing and homelessness since he took office, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
In 2020 during his State of the State speech, he called the homeless problem a “disgrace,” but in 2022, a jaw-dropping 170,000 people were living on the streets.
On Thursday, Newsom said local leaders have put together a plan with the hopes it would slide the homeless problem by 15% by 2025.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he would welcome the new homes in the city, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“It’s another really important contribution and investment,” he said.
With Post wires