League of California Cities logoLast week, the Assembly and Senate released a joint budget plan rejecting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed pullback from the state’s major housing and homelessness programs. This plan comes after weeks of relentless advocacy by Cal Cities, including several key committee testimonies.

In May, the Governor recommended deep cuts to affordable housing programs and no new funding for the state’s flagship homelessness program for the 2024-25 State Budget. The Department of Housing and Community Development estimates the state would lose out on around 13,000 market-rate and affordable housing units and about 120,000 people would be unable to access needed services if lawmakers agree to the proposal.

Cities are doing more than ever to reduce homelessness. A recent Cal Cities survey found that 87% of cities have invested general fund revenues to address homelessness, but about nine in 10 of those cities worry about their ability to provide these services long-term. The state cannot afford to go backward on its funding commitments as needs continue to mount in so many communities.

For years, Cal Cities has called on the Legislature and the Governor to provide ongoing funding to reduce homelessness and boost the supply of affordable housing. The Legislature heard these calls, and in their proposed budget, included $1 billion for the next round of the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention grant program in its plan. The joint budget plan also rejects many of the Governor’s proposed cuts to affordable housing programs.

While this plan recognizes the critical importance of these funds, the budget is by no means a done deal. The Legislature has until June 15 to pass a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. What is and is not included in the budget is still open for negotiation.

There’s still time for cities to make their voices heard on this critical issue. Last week, Cal Cities issued an action alert to its members urging lawmakers to reject the proposed cuts and invest in reducing homelessness. For more information about the alert, contact your regional public affairs manager.

By Caroline Grinder, legislative affairs lobbyist