Final State Budget Restores $1 Billion in Homeless Grants for Local Governments

Cities and counties will receive a sixth round of Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) funds under the 2024-25 budget approved by lawmakers on Wednesday. 

It’s a giant relief for local governments. Newsom’s May revise had proposed cutting $260 million from the fifth round and eliminating the sixth round of grants altogether. City and county advocates warned that would worsen the state’s homelessness crisis.

The final budget does strip $260 million in bonus funding from the current round. It will also tie the next round of grants to increased accountability measures. But the bulk of the funding will continue.

“Cities like mine depend on the state homelessness dollars that had previously been considered for elimination and the fact that they have been restored – and at their current level – will allow us to continue to tackle the biggest issue in the state, which is homelessness,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who chairs the California Big City Mayors coalition. 

The coalition had lobbied hard for the HHAP funds. In fact, the group wants to see them made permanent.

“With this year’s Point in Time Count showing a 41 percent drop in unsheltered homelessness, now is not the time to let up,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. “We are grateful that the governor and Legislature agreed on a responsible budget that allows us to continue pushing on the biggest problem we face.”

Steinberg’s point is a salient one, even beyond Sacramento. A recent state report concluded that HHAP was having a positive impact in a number of recipient communities. That increased some of the pressure to have the grants continue – at least for now.

In a statement, California State Association of Counties CEO Graham Knaus also praised the inclusion of HHAP funding and the $297.5 billion budget as a whole:

“Despite this year’s challenging budget environment, the Governor and legislature sided with county priorities on a number of critical issues, including: minimizing cuts to safety net programs like CalWORKs, providing local governments $1 billion to combat the homelessness crisis by maintaining Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grant program – the most effective program to address homelessness, maintaining funding for broadband access, backfilling lost federal funds for the victims of crime act program and much more.”

Read an overview of the state budget here.

This article has been updated.