California is failing to keep up with the effectiveness of the billions spent on homelessness, an audit has found

(Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

California is failing to keep up with the effectiveness of the billions spent on homelessness, an audit has found

California Politics

Mackenzie Mays

April 9, 2024

California has failed to adequately monitor the results of its massive spending on homelessness programs, according to a state audit released Tuesday. This raises questions about whether billions of dollars aimed at thwarting the crisis have been worth it, as the number of people living without shelter has soared.

A new report from the California State Auditor’s Office shows that a state board has been created to oversee the implementation of homele


National programs have not consistently tracked expenditure or results of those programmes.

That lack of information means the state is missing relevant data


that policymakers “will likely struggle to understand the ongoing costs and achieved outcomes of homelessness programs,” the audit said.

“The state must do more to assess the cost-effectiveness of its homelessness programs,” California State Auditor Grant Parks said in a letter to the governor. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers oversaw the audit Tuesday.

California has spent $20 billion over the past five years on the state’s homelessness crisis, including directing money to support shelters and subsidizing rent. Still, homelessness rose 6% in 2023 from the previous year, to more than 180,000 people, the federal government said. point in time” data. Since 2013, homelessness in California has increased by 53%.

The California Interagency Council on Homelessness, created in 2016 to oversee the state’s implementation of programs targeting the worsening crisis, failed to ensure the accuracy of information in a state data system and failed to evaluate the success of homelessness programs, the state auditor said.

The audit recommends that the state Legislature require the board to annually report the spending plans and results of state-funded homelessness programs and make that information public. It recommends a “scorecard” of sorts to track program success.

The council is made up of state officials, including Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeff Macomber.

Commenting on the audit’s findings, council executive officer Meghan Marshall said it has already “established a consistent methodology for collecting information on homelessness,” but agreed with the state auditor’s recommendations and is of plan to pursue these “wherever possible.”

The council appreciates it [the state auditor’s] efforts to support and advance our collective interest in providing oversight and accountability for homelessness financing,” Marshall said in a written response to the audit. Is there anything spicier we can get out of it? This quote is very blah. If not, we can delete it.

Of the five programs analyzed, the auditors found two were likely cost-effective: Project Homekey Newsom’s COVID-driven project to convert hotels into housing and the CalWORKs Housing Support Program,


provides financial assistance and other services to low-income residents. The other programs analyzed, including a state rental subsidy program, could not be assessed because “the state has not collected sufficient data on the results of these programs,” auditors said.

“Collecting and reporting the financial data of all state homelessness programs provides more complete and timely information on the state’s total expenditures on homelessness. It also allows for better coordination of homelessness program financing and can enable cost-effectiveness comparisons,” the audit said.

Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) and Assembly members Evan Low (D-Campbell) and Josh Hoover (R-Folsom) asked the Joint Legislative Audit Committee last year to authorize a state audit of the effectiveness of funding for homeless across the state as California ran out of housing last year. The population, the largest in the country, has continued to grow despite the state investing a record amount of money in combating it.

The audit also examines spending by the cities of San Jos and San Diego, both of which have struggled to help unhoused residents. The audit found that none of these cities have “evaluated the effectiveness” of their programs, despite tens of millions in funding to address homelessness.

“San Diego has generally established clear performance measures, such as specifying the number of people the service provider will serve, to enable it to assess whether the service provider’s efforts are an effective use of funds. However, San Diego has not done consistently.” wrote the accountant.

Tuesday’s audit is coming


just weeks after voters approved Proposition 1, Newsom’s $6.4 billion bond measure that aims to tackle homelessness in a new way by transforming the state’s mental health care system, with a focus on the treatment of substance use disorders.

San Jose has long been home to one of the nations

largest homeless camps

a stark contrast against the backdrop of the staggering wealth of the Silicon Valley city. Cortese, who represents the district, told TKTKTK after the audit was released on Tuesday. Based on available state data, the audit found that most homeless people in state programs end up in temporary housing such as shelters, not permanent housing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles