California expands its budget and allocates almost $300 million to clean up homeless encampments

In the last two years, Gavin Newsom's administration has closed 5,679 homeless encampments. They have been relocated to state-protected housing.

Since 2021, Gavin Newsom's administration has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to relocate homeless people to social housing to prevent roadside encampments from expanding. Now, the governor of California has decided to expand his initiative with an additional $299 million that cities, counties and other state structures can use - upon prior request - to rehouse homeless people into shelters.

Newsom released a statement explaining that, for two years, his office has managed to close 5,679 homeless encampments because Californians are fed up with the situation. "The public has had it. I am fed up. We are all fed up," he said after reporting his decision.

Clean and sanitize areas occupied by camps

The new budget item - which was proposed on Monday with the collaboration of Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) - will serve, in addition to relocating immigrants to housing, to clean and sanitize all areas where the camps that will be evicted are located.

"Since day one, combatting homelessness has been a top priority. Encampments are not safe for the people living in them, or for community members around them. The state is giving locals hundreds of millions of dollars to move people into housing and clean up these persistent and dangerous encampments. And we are doing the same on state land, having removed 5,679 encampments since 2021," Newsom explained in his statement. "I think we all agree that we need to do more to clean up encampments."

Alisa Becerra, a spokeswoman for Caltrans, said the encampments along the state highways pose a "safety risk for them, for the infrastructure, for our staff, for first responders and, potentially, for the traveling public." She explained that's why the state wants to "remove" these encampments.