Governor Gavin Newsom stopped in Fresno on Wednesday to promote his proposed $1.4 billion plan to tackle homelessness, which includes $11.5 million in emergency grants for Fresno County.
Speaking at a mental health crisis facility in Southeast Fresno, Newsom said the grants, to be disbursed within the next few weeks, are intended to go toward financial assistance for housing as well as emergency trailers and tents.
“This issue is a crisis, it’s a state of emergency,” Newsom said at Exodus Recovery, Inc. “People are dying in the streets and sidewalks. There’s no compassion, stepping over people on the streets and sidewalks. And we’ve got to own up to this in a way we haven’t in the past.”
Newsom also spoke about a plan to improve collaboration among social service agencies, a proposal to legally force cities to provide housing for the homeless, and the need for more shelters without the barriers that keep some people away.
“There are a lot of rules and regulations. You’ve got pet restrictions, you’ve got partner restrictions, you’ve got security restrictions,” he said. “You got some places that you have to be clean and sober. I love that. The clean and sober is one of the biggest damn mistakes this country has ever made.”
According to official counts, around a quarter of the U.S.’s homeless population lives in California, including roughly 1,400 in Fresno. Newsom's Fresno visit was part of a statewide homelessness tour.