California has invested $24 billion to tackle homelessness over the last five years. But it seems they’ve put all that money in a basket because they’ve failed to track whether or not the money was actually solving the crisis, a damning report says.

The audit lays the blame on the state’s homelessness tsars for spending billions across 30 programs from 2018 to 2023, without making any effort to know why the crisis still lingered on despite the investments.

Audit Reveals Troubling Trends

The audit confirms what many people already know — the problem is getting worse, with tent camps and troublesome behavior in big cities becoming more of a problem.

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Despite the multi-billion-dollars investment by the state, the problem has not only lingered but worsened. Federal data show that homelessness jumped by 6 percent equating to over 180,000 people in the state last year. Looking back to 2013, the numbers are even more alarming, with a staggering 53 percent increase since then.

The State Must Do More To Check Cost-Effectiveness!

Nearly a third of America’s homeless population is in California. State auditor Grant Parks has penned a letter to Gov Gavin Newsom and lawmakers. In the letter, he mentioned that the ‘state must do more to assess the cost-effectiveness of its homelessness programs.’

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The auditors evaluated five schemes that received a total of $13.7 billion in funding.

State Spent Billions On Homelessness…Well It’s Only Gotten Worse

They found that only two schemes were likely to be worth the money. One of them focuses on turning hotel rooms into homes and the other provides help to families to solve homelessness. But they couldn’t rule on the other three, which have received a combined $9.4 billion since 2020, because there was not enough data available.

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Thomas Wolf, a former homeless drug addict from San Francisco, called it a ‘scandal.’ He said, ‘The state spent billions on homelessness, and it’s worse.’ Wolf shared his thoughts on X.

No Data To Show If Services Are Working

He added that outcomes are everything when it comes to homeless services. And it’s no surprise, there’s no data to show if they’re working. For some, the audit confirms doubts and fears of a ‘homeless industrial complex’ – a cash cow of funders, officials, shelter owners, and charities more concerned with swallowing public funds than providing solutions to the crisis.

Source: Chip Somodevilla

Entrepreneur Adam Rossi posted that the ‘purpose of the homeless industrial complex in California is to perpetuate homelessness while extracting funds from the state.’ ‘This is what the system does,’ he added.

Senator Complains Of Data Desert And Lack Of Transparency

Democratic state Senator Dave Cortese asked for the audit last year after visiting a big homeless camp in San Jose. He complained of a ‘data desert’ and a lack of transparency.

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Republican state Senator Roger Niello said it’s worrying that there’s no one taking responsibility or any sort of accountability. “’Despite an exorbitant amount of dollars spent, the state’s homeless population is not slowing down,’ Niello said in a statement.

A Wake-Up Call For Change

‘These audit results are a wake-up call for a shift toward solutions that prioritize self-sufficiency and cost-effectiveness.’ Newsom has focused on dealing with the homelessness crisis, but if he sets his sights on national office, the problem might follow him.

Source: Justin Sullivan

The Democrat has pushed for laws to make it simpler to get people with mental health problems into treatment.

Newsom’s Efforts To Address Homelessness: Proposition Passes, Oversight Failures Uncovered

He worked tirelessly to get a proposition passed in March that requires counties to invest in housing and drug treatment programs to combat homelessness.

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The audit also discovered that the California Interagency Council on Homelessness, which supervises these programs, hasn’t been keeping track of spending or checking if the programs have been effective since June 2021.

Accuracy Of Submitted Data Remains Unverified

Audit findings revealed a lack of consistent data collection methods within the body that oversees homeless programs.

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Also, the accuracy of data submitted by municipalities is another issue as they remain unverified. State databases contain deleted records and test entries, potentially leading to overstated figures on program participants.

They Reported On Spending Only Once

The California Interagency Council on Homelessness was founded by Lawmakers in 2017, but according to the audit, it has only reported on homelessness spending once.

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Without reliable and recent data on its spending, the ‘state will continue to lack complete and timely information about the ongoing costs and associated outcomes of its homelessness programs,’ the report says.

Council Head Agrees With Audit

The council consists of state officials including Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeff Macomber.

Source: Rich Pedroncelli

Meghan Marshall, the council’s head, agreed with the audit’s findings in a written response to the auditor’s office. She pledged to implement its recommendations “where possible.”

The Council Head Blames Problems On Lack Of Data Collection Resources

However, she did try to absolve the council of some blame by citing its limited resources for data collection. In a statement, the council said that the audit ‘underscores a need to continue to hold local governments accountable.’  The state auditor also looked at homelessness spending in two major cities, San Jose and San Diego.

Source: X/CAgovernor

They discovered that both cities were found to have failed to monitor revenue and spending due to inadequate planning. The report sheds light on the challenges officials face in addressing the increasing homelessness crisis in California and beyond.

Poll Reveals Public Opinion On The Crisis

According to a recent Poll, over two-thirds of US adults believe that homelessness is gradually becoming a major crisis. They believe that officials should relocate those sleeping in the rough to tented encampments outside the metropolis.

Source: Jae C. Hong

The survey also found that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the surge in number of homeless folks. They want mayors to take bold actions to address the issue.

Homelessness A Part Of Trump’s Campaign

Former President Donald Trump has made homelessness a part of his re-election campaign. In a video that was released by his campaign, Trump said that ‘hardworking, law-abiding citizens’ were being pushed to the side and made to ‘suffer for the whims of a deeply unwell few.’

Source: Zuma Press

He made a vow to ‘ban urban camping’ and create ‘tent cities’ on ‘inexpensive land’ for homeless people that will be staffed with doctors and social workers to aid people in addressing systemic issues.