Gov. Gavin Newsom's state budget earmarks millions to address housing issues, homeless crisis

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed his first California state budget, a $214.8 billion plan to expand healthcare, increase spending on education and address the housing and the homeless crisis. It's the largest budget in state history.

When ABC7's Marc Brown sat down for an interview with Newsom, he found the governor was eager to talk about California's homeless crisis.

He says for too long, the state has left it up to local governments to do all the heavy lifting, but he says that's about to change with a $1 billion in new funding that'll be parceled out to cities and counties to attack the problem of homelessness.

The additional funding includes an allocation for Los Angeles city and county -- an additional $250 million.

RELATED: Gov. Gavin Newsom reveals how much money L.A. will get to combat the homeless crisis

"We're in the game. I don't want to over promise here, this is stubborn stuff. Give us the next few years to work out new models of local accountability and engagement," Newsom said. "You saw what I did on this budget on housing."

The new state budget includes $1.75 billion for the construction of new homes. It's part of the governor's plan to build 3.5 million new homes across the state by 2025.

More homes, the theory goes, means more affordable homes and fewer homeless people.

Part of Newsom's plan is not without controversy, though. A new law requires cities to plan for new housing, and Newsom says he'll sue cities that don't.

"If cities aren't producing housing, we'll sue them. Forgive me...I don't want to be the tough guy, but with all due respect, places like Huntington Beach that thumb their nose at the law and don't do their part to help the larger whole, we're going to hold them accountable," Newsom said.

When asked whether he understands the frustration of people in Southern California, who voted themselves a tax increase to address the homeless crisis only to see the homeless population go up, he said:

"You have a kid on a stroller, you want to walk down the street, and you can't. You go, 'What the hell happened to my city? What happened to my state, what the hell happened to my country? They just raised my taxes and it's getting worse. Who's running this place?' I get that frustration. We all get it," he said.

But some taxpayers may be frustrated by another new provision in state law. It'll make it harder for people to use environmental regulations to fight the construction of new homeless shelters in their neighborhoods. It's a carrot-and-stick approach. An infusion of state money is the carrot and requiring local governments and residents to do their part is the stick.

"If you're looking for City Hall to solve it, you're going to be left wanting. It's all about responsibilities," he said. "You can't live a good life in an unjust society, Aristotle said that. All of us have a role to play, all of us should recognize our fate as tied to the fate of others."
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.