California GOP Outraged at Missing $24 Billion Spent on Homelessness

( – The state of California failed to consistently track the effectiveness of spending $24 billion to tackle the state’s homelessness crisis over the past five years, according to a state audit released on Tuesday, April 9th.

The homeless population in California is estimated to be around 171,000 people or approximately 30% of the entire homeless population in the United States. In San Francisco, makeshift tents line the streets, and drug addicts can be seen shooting up at all hours. Similar scenes can be found in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and other cities. The homeless population has jumped at least 53% since 2013.

Five programs that received combined funding of $13.7 billion were audited. Only two of the programs were deemed “likely cost-effective.” One of these programs uses funds to convert hotel and motel rooms into housing which is 2.5 times less expensive than building a new home. The second program uses an average of $12,000 to $22,000 per family to help low-income families stay in their homes which is much lower than the $50,000 the state spends on a person after they become homeless.

There was insufficient data to evaluate three other programs that received a total of $9.4 billion since 2020.

Democratic Senator Dave Cortese requested the audit last year. After reviewing audit results Cortese said there is an “unsettling lack of transparency” at all levels and that auditors were not able to make accurate determinations about the effectiveness of programs due to lack of data. Republican Senator Roger Niello said he finds the lack of accountability “troubling” but he also believes the audit focused too widely on shelter instead of getting people out of homelessness.

The audit found the agency that oversees the implementation of homelessness programs, the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH), has not tracked the spending or effectiveness of programs since 2021. The agency agreed with the report’s findings and said it would take “appropriate measures” to track spending and publicize findings.

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