Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed strong support Thursday for increased efforts around California to remove large homeless encampments, calling them unacceptable and saying the state will need more federal help to create additional housing and expand services for homeless people.
Newsom’s comments come at a time of growing alarm over the homelessness crisis, which has become a focus of criticism by Republican candidates running to replace him in the upcoming recall election.
Newsom took on the state’s most vexing and politically potent issue when he became governor, pouring billions into building more shelters and housing. The latest state budget commits $12 billion over the next two years to not just more motel purchases and funding for mental health care facilities but also encampment cleanups and hazardous waste removal.
But the governor, in an interview Thursday with The Times as he watched state workers clear a homeless encampment here, made clear that tents along freeways and in public parks are not OK and that California needs to develop humane processes for moving people and clearing camps while also creating more housing options.
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