Newsom Invites Nation’s Homeless Population to Live the ‘California Dream’

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
July 22, 2021 Updated: July 22, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom welcomed the nation’s homeless into California on July 19 after signing the largest homeless investment bill in state history.

“The state is roaring back, and I’m proud that people from around the world are looking to California again for opportunity,” Newsom said during a Sebastopol, California, news conference. “That should not just be for certain people. All people, I think, should aspire to that California dream regardless of their income level, and regardless of their lot in life.”

The $12 billion dollar investment signed by Newsom at a Project Homekey site is a part of the $100 billion California Comeback Plan, which also includes $10.3 billion for affordable housing.

“We’ve got to take accountability, responsibility, do more and do better,” Newsom said. “It’s about getting people off the streets … and meeting people where they are, and to the extent that people want to come here for new beginnings and all income levels, that’s a part of the California Dream.

“We have a responsibility to accommodate and enliven and inspire, and California’s dream is still alive and well.”

According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, the state had more than 161,000 people experiencing homelessness as of January 2020. During the next two years, the $12 billion in funding is intended to confront the homelessness crisis by continuing to fund and provide housing.

While some praised Newsom, critics opposed the idea of inviting homeless individuals from across the county to move to the state.

“This is crazy,” recall candidate Kevin Faulconer said on Twitter on July 19. “I have incredible compassion for homeless Californians. But no, we should not be encouraging homeless people from other parts of the country to move to California.”

Newsom’s comments came amid Los Angeles’s homelessness crisis and the cleaning of encampments in Venice.

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva on July 21 hosted a Facebook forum to discuss the county’s homelessness and said he was displeased with Newsom’s invitation to the homeless.

“That’s really not what we need to do here in Los Angeles County,” Villanueva said.

He said the Venice boardwalk encampment includes homeless people from 23 states.

“Based on our governor’s proclamation the other day that the California Dream is alive and well, and he’s inviting everyone to California to share in California Dream, I don’t know if he’s planning for the other 26 states to come join us here,” Villanueva said.

“But since LA County has half of the state’s entire homeless population, we’re not in a position to have all these people show up. However, governor, if you wish to have them in your vineyard, in your property, in your mansion, by all means, you have the freedom to invite them there, but here in LA County, we’re pretty much full.”

Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna