Governor Newsom Signs New Law Mandating Strict Accountability for State Homeless Funding

Legislation Requires Reporting of Key Data and Metrics as a Condition of Receiving State Funding

For immediate release:

LOS ANGELES, CA — Today, at a press conference highlighting efforts to address California’s persistent homelessness crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law legislation authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills) that will mandate stronger oversight, transparency, and accountability for state homeless funding.  

“There is immense frustration in the Legislature and around the state with the lack of progress on homelessness,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “We can’t keep writing blank checks and hoping for the best—California residents, taxpayers, and our friends and neighbors experiencing homelessness deserve much better. I’m grateful for Governor Newsom’s leadership in mandating strict accountability for state homeless funding and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that California is pursuing the most effective, data-driven strategies to address this crisis.”

The measure, Assembly Bill (AB) 977, will mandate enhanced accountability and transparency by creating a system of uniform reporting requirements across a broad set of state-funded homelessness programs. The data collected would be made available to the Legislature, the press, and the general public, allowing for stronger oversight of state and local homelessness programs. AB 977 also would provide valuable insight into the comparative effectiveness of various homelessness programs and strategies, and enable the Legislature to better use data to craft policy responses.

Legislative actions around homeless funding accountability were given renewed momentum by the release of a highly critical report by State Auditor Elaine M. Howle in February, which called the State’s approach to homelessness “uncoordinated” and “disjointed” and highlighted that California “continues to lack a comprehensive understanding of its spending to address homelessness, the specific services the programs provide, or the individuals who receive those services.” Notably, the Audit recommended the specific approach adopted in AB 977, which it argues will “ensure that the State has access to comprehensive data about homelessness,” and provide desperately-needed insight into various homelessness programs and strategies, thereby enabling policymakers to craft better solutions to this crisis.

AB 977 builds on AB 2746 (Gabriel), which passed both houses of the Legislature last year with unanimous bipartisan support, but was vetoed by the Governor.