A national network of funders supporting strategic, innovative, and effective solutions to homelessness

Joint Statement In Response to Governor Newsom’s Rejection of Local Homeless Plans

In early November, Governor Newsom announced he would be rejecting local homelessness plans and would hold funding as a result. Funders Together to End Homelessness and our California Homelessness & Housing Policy Funders Network joined other housing justice organizations and people with lived experience in voicing concern of the Governor's rejection and choice to withhold critical resources from communities for homelessness services and programs.

This letter originally appeared on Housing California's website here.

The undersigned organizations that work to end homelessness are concerned by Governor Newsom’s announcement today that he is rejecting local homeless action plans required under the Homeless, Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) program. We share the Governor’s goal of ensuring that local governments act ambitiously and decisively to solve this urgent human rights crisis. At the same time, we question the choice to withhold critical grant funds already approved and committed to local emergency systems, putting existing services in jeopardy.

Recent historic investments in homelessness, affordable housing, and tenant protections are ending homelessness for tens of thousands of Californians. In fact, local homeless response systems are housing more people than ever before. Yet, given the decades of disinvestment that preceded, these recent one-time investments are only a down payment on what must be ongoing and more significant funding for the solutions we know work to end homelessness: deeply affordable housing, supportive services, and targeted homelessness prevention to curb the tide of people entering our shelters and living on our sidewalks.

Homelessness is increasing, not because State funding isn’t working, but because it’s just not enough to meet the scale of our need, especially in the face of systemic drivers like unprecedented rent increases, housing discrimination, and chronic workforce shortages largely driven by a long legacy of inconsistent public funding.

These facts do not excuse failures to solve homelessness at any level of government. However, we cannot expect local homeless response systems to make long-term, ambitious plans with only one-time state investments, and without addressing affordable housing, healthcare, tenants rights, re-entry from the criminal justice and other systems, and glaring gaps in existing safety net systems.

People experiencing homelessness have been failed by multiple systems and deserve thoughtful, strategic, and inclusive policy solutions. They are clear on what they need: permanent housing. To achieve significant reductions in rates of homelessness across California, our leaders must make it a priority to pass legislation that focuses on permanently housing Californians, and by making an ongoing financial commitment that spans beyond just a few years and at a level commensurate with the scale of our crisis and its solutions.

The following organizations and people with lived experience of homelessness support this statement:

  • Brilliant Corners
  • California Homelessness & Housing Policy Funders Network
  • Corporation for Supportive Housing
  • Community Solutions
  • Destination: Home
  • Funders Together to End Homelessness
  • Housing California
  • Housing Matters
  • Homebase
  • LA Family Housing
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • National Coalition for the Homeless
  • National Healthcare for the Homeless Council
  • National Homelessness Law Center
  • PATH
  • The People Concern
  • Safe Place for Youth
  • Union Station Homeless Services
  • Western Center on Law & Poverty
  • Zella Knight, Residents United Network, Bring California Home coalition member with lived experience
  • Gloria Johnson, Bring California Home coalition member with lived experience

Showing 1 reaction

  • Jack Zhang
    published this page in Blog 2022-11-10 19:24:39 -0500

We joined Funders Together because we believe in the power of philanthropy to play a major role in ending homelessness, and we know we have much to learn from funders across the country.

-Christine Marge, Director of Housing and Financial Stability at United Way of Greater Los Angeles

I am thankful for the local partnerships here in the Pacific Northwest that we’ve been able to create and nurture thanks to the work of Funders Together. Having so many of the right players at the table makes our conversations – and all of our efforts – all the richer and more effective.

-David Wertheimer, Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty, but the symptom. The cause may lie deeper in our failure to give our fellow citizens a fair chance to develop their own capacities, in a lack of education and training, in a lack of medical care and housing, in a lack of decent communities in which to live and bring up their children.

-President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964 State of the Union Address

Funders Together has given me a platform to engage the other funders in my community. Our local funding community has improved greatly to support housing first models and align of resources towards ending homelessness.

-Leslie Strnisha, Vice President at Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

Our family foundation convenes local funders and key community stakeholders around strategies to end homelessness in Houston. Funders Together members have been invaluable mentors to us in this effort, traveling to our community to share their expertise and examples of best practices from around the nation.

-Nancy Frees Fountain, Managing Director at The Frees Foundation

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