Audit reveals reasons for state failures on worsening homelessness

The results of a recent state audit show the lack of accountability of billions of dollars thrown at the homeless crisis in California.

Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh and Senator Roger Niello led the bipartisan effort to request the audit of homelessness spending. Under the Newsom Administration over the past five years, California has spent more than $24 billion on homelessness, while the population of unhoused Californians has grown to more than 181,000. Click here to read the full audit.

“I requested this audit because I believe that in order to solve a problem, you first have to identify the most effective solutions, which is exactly what this audit intended to do,” said Bogh. “Far too many people are living, and dying, on the streets without accountability for programs that are supposed to be serving them. This audit is a great first step towards solving the problem and I remain committed to working on efforts that tackle the homeless crisis.”

“California is facing a concerning paradox: despite an exorbitant amount of dollars spent, the state’s homeless population is not slowing down,” said Niello, Vice Chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “These audit results are a wake-up call for a shift toward solutions that prioritize self-sufficiency and cost effectiveness.”

Some key findings from today’s state homeless audit include: 

  • The state “has not tracked and reported on the state’s funding for homelessness programs since its 2023 assessment covering fiscal years 2018–19 through 2020–21. Currently, it has no plans to perform a similar assessment in the future. In the absence of an up‑to‑date assessment, the State and its policymakers are likely to struggle to understand homelessness programs’ ongoing costs and achieved outcomes. “
  • The state “has not established a consistent method for gathering information on homelessness programs’ costs and outcomes. As a result, the state lacks information that would allow it to make data driven policy decisions and identify gaps in services.”
  • The state “has neither ensured the accuracy of the information in the state data system, nor has it used this information to evaluate homelessness programs’ success.”

“There is no single solution to solving the homelessness crisis, but this audit rightfully put a microscope on the issue,” said Senate Minority Leader Jones. “I want to thank Senator Ochoa Bogh and Senator Niello for their leadership in pushing for an audit and now we have some answers. Moving forward, I am hopeful my colleagues will advance meaningful policies that will assist the unhoused population and keep them off the streets.”

Background
Legislative Republicans have been making homelessness a priority, by introducing measures that demand accountability, provide housing and shelter, treat mental health and substance abuse, and prevent homelessness for people at risk. In 2020, Jones joined in calling for an audit of the crisis, and in 2022, Legislative Republicans called for a special session to combat the crisis immediately.

State Senator Brian W.Jones.

Senator Brian W. Jones
Senator Brian W. Jones represents the 40th Senate District which includes the cities of Escondido, Poway, San Marcos, Santee, San Diego City communities of Carmel Mountain Ranch, Mira Mesa, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos, Scripps Ranch, Sorrento Valley, and University City, along with the San Diego County unincorporated communities of 4S Ranch, Alpine, Bonsall, Fallbrook, Lakeside, Pine Valley, Rainbow, Ramona, and Valley Center.

 

Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh
Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh represents the 23rd Senate District that includes portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.

Senator Roger Niello
Elected in 2022, Senator Niello represents California Senate District 6, which covers portions of Placer and Sacramento counties and all of Sutter and Yuba counties.