California's 'big city' mayors push for homeless funding

A coalition of mayors from California's 13 biggest cities say they need more state funding to combat homelessness. They held a news conference today, both to highlight the progress they've made, but also to show the risk of letting the current funding end.

When it comes to homelessness, the pandemic years have taken their toll.

Advocates in San Jose say they've seen it firsthand.

"You see more seniors dying each year. You see more people dying each year. What we need are immediate things like ways to get people off the streets immediately," said Shaunn Cartwright of the Unhoused Response Group.

And so cities throughout California have been taking action with the help of a big boost in state funding. Last year, the governor allocated $2-billion dollars toward homelessness over a two-year period.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo says it's allowed innovation like never before.

"With quick build apartment complexes like we have in San Jose, tiny homes, new kinds of shelters that provide supportive services and we're able to do it much more quickly than the standard approaches," said Liccardo.

Statewide, authorities say they've created 9,000 additional beds. But they fear when that state funding ends in 2023, so will all their progress. And so mayors of big cities throughout California held a news conference, pushing for more.

"We need ongoing funding or else we're going to face a fiscal cliff where we're going to see 9000 people pushed back onto the streets of our state of California," said Liccardo.

In San Jose, the city's tiny homes and quick build communities could be at risk. That would be a big setback says Geoffrey Morgan of First Community Housing. He says every step on the way to permanent supportive housing is vitally important.

"A loss of funding at the levels before you get there means you're just going to have more people on the street, more health problems and more cost," said Morgan.

The Big City Mayors are pushing for an additional $3 billion dollars for homelessness spread over the next three years. They'll find out whether their conversations with the governor and legislators were successful by early summer.