State Audit Details “Disjointed” Homeless Response

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California’s approach to addressing homelessness is disjointed between siloed state agencies, and the entity tasked with coordinating them all lacks the authority needed to accomplish its core mission, according to a report released from the State Auditor late Thursday. The California legislature created the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council in 2017 to coordinate the 41 different anti-homelessness programs administered by at least nine separate state agencies. Four years later, the Homeless Council has been unable to accomplish its core mission, including creating a statewide homeless data system and coordinating existing funding streams, largely because it lacks the authority to demand expenditure data and other information from state agencies. The audit also found that the Continuums of Care that dot the state and are responsible for locally administering state and federal homeless grants, are missing opportunities to employ best practices from around the country.

The findings echo the experience of Bay Area Council Economic Institute researchers who were unable to secure from the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council estimates on total state spending on homeless programs for the 2019 report Bay Area Homelessness: Regional Solutions for a Regional Crisis. Among its recommendations, the audit said the legislature should provide the Council with the authority to compel cooperation from state agencies, and for annual gaps analyses to be conducted for each of the state’s Continuums of Care. To engage with the Bay Area Council’s Homelessness Committee, please contact Vice President Adrian Covert.

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