The Governor met with city leaders during the League of California Cities board meeting, on Feb. 20, where he vowed to partner with cities to develop strategies to spur housing production in the state and highlighted the critical role local governments play in addressing the state’s homeless crisis.
The League board and the Governor met for more than an hour in an engaging and candid session where he outlined his vision, invited partnerships, and touched on a number of other priority issues for California cities in addition to housing and homelessness, which included pension sustainability and solid waste and recycling.
The Governor and board members discussed the growing challenges associated with need for more affordable housing, as well as the lack of housing production, throughout the state. It was acknowledged that prior proposals have missed the mark and not received needed support to advance out of the Legislature. City officials agreed with the Governor that it is essential that we move forward together, with cities at the table, to forge solutions.
Following the meeting, the Governor and city leaders met with the media, where all vowed to work together in addressing housing production and homelessness challenges throughout the state.
“We are thankful to Governor Newsom for his leadership and significant proposed new investments to expand resources to help address homelessness. This issue continues to be a top priority for the League of California Cities,” said League President and Town of Yountville Mayor John F. Dunbar. “But no single local government agency has the resources to solve the homelessness crisis on its own. We need solutions, including long-term state funding commitments that help house and provide services for our homeless residents through a joint effort by cities, counties, the state, and federal government.”
In his remarks, the Governor highlighted the available state properties identified as part of his executive order on homelessness to rapidly increase housing and shelter options.
“The state is stepping up by making land available to cities and counties willing to meet this moment head-on,” said Governor Newsom. “I invite local leaders to use this land on what works for their community’s homeless needs so that we can begin to make meaningful progress to help individuals experiencing homelessness.”
The League also emphasized that finding realistic and effective strategies to ensure housing is available and affordable to all Californians will take partnerships with not only the Governor and the Legislature, but with all those involved in housing production.
“There are both short and long term strategies that are needed to get people off the streets and into housing,” said League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman during the news conference, “and we stand ready to work with all our partners – public, private, and nonprofit to make that happen.”
During the board meeting, the League’s board of directors endorsed a housing production proposal that will spur much needed housing construction throughout the state. The League’s proposal outlines near term actions that cities can take to accelerate new construction now, and leverages the upcoming Regional Housing Needs Assessment process, the state’s housing planning law, to make the necessary changes to support the state’s housing production goals longer term.
With this proposal and continued partnership with the state and other organizations, we are on the right path to providing housing for all Californians.