Gov. Newsom has a $500 million plan for homelessness. Steinberg, other CA mayors want more

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and a dozen other California mayors asked Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday to allocate more state money for homelessness than what the governor has proposed.

Newsom’s proposed budget includes $500 million for homelessness — the same amount that was included in the state’s 2018-19 budget. The mayors did not say how much more money they’re requesting.

“We deliberately did not put a number in there because it’s a different relationship with this governor. He’s made housing a priority,” said Steinberg, who chairs the Big City Mayors group that met with Newsom at the Capitol. “He’s already said, and it’s backed up by his budget, that housing and homelessness is a priority. Of course we want to bump the number up ... but we’re going to do it with him.”

Newsom did not commit to an additional amount of money, Steinberg said.

The governor said he wants more state resources to go to local governments.

“We need to step up our game here at the state,” Newsom said. “We haven’t been doing enough to support cities.”

The mayors also discussed ways the state could help cities move faster with homeless projects by waiving environmental review and exceptions for public land.

“As a former mayor who prioritized homelessness, Governor Newsom appreciated the mayors’ feedback about what’s working in their cities and will certainly take their recommendations into consideration as he prepares the May (proposed budget) revision,” Newsom spokesman Jesse Melgar said in an email after the meeting.

The city and county of Sacramento received about $20 million from the state 2018-19 budget, including $5.6 million the city received directly.

The city plans to use most of that money as part of Steinberg’s $40.5 million proposal to open about 800 new shelter beds, which include services to get people housed.

The City Council is scheduled to vote April 9 on a new 100-bed Sprung tent shelter on Cal Expo property at the southeast end of Ethan Way, Steinberg said.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Theresa Clift covers Sacramento City Hall. Before joining The Bee in 2018, she worked as a local government reporter for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Daily Press in Virginia and the Wausau Daily Herald in Wisconsin. She grew up in Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University.