Audit Finds California Has Spent $24 Billion on Homeless Programs Over Five Years and the Problem Has Only Gotten Worse

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Written By Maya Cantina

Cities across the country are dealing with an exploding problem of homelessness, but places like Los Angeles and San Francisco in California are among the worst.

In a shocking turn of events, an audit has found that California has spent $24 billion on homeless programs yet the problem persists and in some places is getting worse.

Would California have seen better improvements if they just gave this money directly to homeless people? Could the outcome have been any worse?

The Washington Examiner reports:

An audit in California found that the state spent $24 billion on homelessness over the past five years, but the state did not accurately track if the funds actually improved the problem.

The state has spent roughly $24 billion on initiatives to address homelessness, and the audit analyzed a combined $13.7 billion that went to five programs across the state from 2018-23. Despite the money being spent on 30 homelessness and housing programs, the audit found that California does not have reliable data to see why the situation did not improve in cities across the state.

“This report concludes that the state must do more to assess the cost-effectiveness of its homelessness programs,” State Auditor Grant Parks wrote in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) and lawmakers.

Democratic state Sen. Dave Cortese requested the audit in 2022 after he toured a homeless encampment that had been cleared. He said results from the audit found a “data desert,” which found a continuous cycle with many experiencing homelessness placed in interim housing. Of those people, only 13% found a permanent home and 44% became homeless again.

How many people working for the state became wealthy off of these homeless programs?

Whatever the state has been doing, it’s clearly not working.

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