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New Gavin Newsom task force to tackle homelessness and housing crisis

OAKLAND — Days after new data revealed a troubling spike in the Bay Area’s homeless population, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday unveiled a task force to tackle the crisis.
Newsom launched the Homeless & Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force during an event at Oakland’s Henry Robinson Center, while surrounded by members of the city’s growing homeless community. The new initiative, which will be chaired by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, marks the governor’s latest commitment to address the chronic housing instability plaguing the state.
“No Californian can say homelessness is someone else’s problem – it affects us all,” Newsom wrote in a news release. “Homelessness is a matter of statewide concern, but solutions will come from the local level. Mayors, county supervisors, and city councils around the state are working hard to reduce homelessness and its underlying causes. We’ll be watching these local and regional solutions closely, to lend a hand and help them scale.”
The new group will guide the creation of joint regional plans to address homelessness, and will deliver at least one annual report to the governor. The task force will meet throughout the year, traveling around the state to observe cities’ and counties’ best practices, and collecting input from governments and community members on possible solutions. Newsom said he will announce additional task force members, as well as future meeting dates and locations, in the coming weeks.
There are 8,022 homeless residents living in Alameda County — up 43 percent from 2017, according to new data from the county’s biennial point-in-time count, released last week. There are 9,706 in Santa Clara County — up 31 percent from 2017.
Newsom previously promised to spend $1 billion to fight homelessness in California. His revised budget, proposed earlier this month , includes $650 million directed to local governments for homelessness emergency aid, $150 million to address the shortage of mental health professionals, $40 million for rapid rehousing for students and $20 million in legal assistance for eviction prevention.

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