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LA Times: Lawmakers Grill Newsom Officials on Homelessness Spending After Audit Causes Bipartisan Frustration

Source: LA Times

Democrats and Republicans expressed frustration Monday as they grilled Gov. Gavin Newsom’s top housing officials in a tense legislative hearing about how billions of state dollars have been spent on the worsening homelessness crisis.

The hearing by the Assembly budget subcommittee on accountability and oversight came after a state audit released last month found that California has failed to adequately track the outcomes of its vast spending on homelessness programs, raising questions about efficacy and transparency.

... Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) hammered Newsom officials Monday, demanding data regarding how specific programs have worked to get homeless people sheltered. The officials repeatedly said the information is not yet available.

“You come to a budget committee, and there’s no numbers,” Ting said. “How many people have we helped? How many people are off the street? … Because that’s what the public wants to know. What’s the money been spent on?”

Meghan Marshall, executive officer of the California Interagency Council on Homelessness, said the system is undergoing a “transformation,” and officials are still working on reporting requirements mandated by a law Newsom signed in 2021.

New data about how homelessness funding has been spent should be available as soon as July, Marshall said, adding that the state is “working through data quality issues.”

A frustrated Ting said, “That sounds like an excuse.”