Gov. Newsom launches task force to combat California homeless crisis

Gov. Gavin Newsom is creating a task force on homelessness as California continues to grapple with a housing crisis.

The Democratic governor made the announcement Tuesday in Oakland, where county officials reported last week that the number of people experiencing homelessness increased 43 percent over the last two years.

Newsom described homelessness as an epidemic of statewide concern but says it will be best addressed at the local level.

RELATED: San Francisco homelessness jumps despite spending millions to fight it

The governor says the task force will work with local governments to develop regional plans for addressing homelessness. He tapped Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to lead the group.

Newsom also is proposing the state increase spending on homelessness, calling for $1 billion in next year's budget to address the issue.

RELATED: L.A. County health officials say 27 percent of its homeless population suffers from serious mental illness

The Los Angeles City Council also has plans to meet and consider a resolution supporting Newsom's proposal.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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