Newsom Widely Mocked After Saying California Has a “National Model” for Addressing Homelessness

By: Alex Trent | Published: May 16, 2024

In a press conference streamed on Governor Gavin Newsom’s YouTube channel, Newsom praised the state’s efforts in creating a “national model” for helping homeless veterans and those with mental health issues.

As clips of the press conference circulated online, Newsom was slammed by critics for promoting California as a national model when it has the most homeless people compared to any other state in the country.

Press Conference

The press conference, streamed on May 14, featured Newsom and other state leaders discussing updates on progress made by California addressing homelessness and mental health.

Gavin Newsom talking amid a dark blue and black background.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

“The state of California has seen a decline in veteran homelessness, we have a national model. What Proposition 1 did is it reinforced that model by providing more resources to advance that model, we are very excited to get those dollars to work,” Newsom said.


Proposition 1

In March, Newsom celebrated the passing of Proposition 1, which would provide more than $6 billion to start building treatment beds and housing for people suffering from mental illness.

Homeless tents seen on a city sidewalk.

Source: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

“Proposition 1 PASSES. This is a huge victory for doing things radically different when it comes to tackling homelessness. The biggest change CA has seen in DECADES. Now it’s time to get to work — repairing the damage caused by decades of broken promises and neglect to those suffering from severe mental illness. Thank you, California,” wrote Newsom in an X post.

Narrow Passage

Proposition 1 passed by a very narrow margin when it was put forward to voters. It was such a close race that it took the Associated Press 15 days to call the election, just barely passing 50.2% to 49.8%.

A person slides an envelope into a ballot box.

Source: Element 5/Unsplash

The passage happened while the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign garnered $21 million to spend on the election, while opposition groups barely spent any by comparison.

Critically Panned

Seizing on the mention of a “national model” by Newsom, conservatives and other critics took Newsom to task online for failing to properly address the homelessness issue.

A man in a dark suit and blue tie stands behind a wooden podium, speaking earnestly

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Gov. Gavin Newsom just said California has a “national model” for homelessness. California has the highest homeless population in the country by far. It’s 75% higher than the next state which is New York. Newsom is delusional,” said X user Paul Szypula.

Most Homelessness of Any State

Many social media users took issue with Newsom bragging about progress being made despite having a bad track record compared to the rest of the country.

An elderly homeless man with a beard and a blue beanie is reclining against a utility box on the sidewalk. He is surrounded by his possessions, which include various bags and a yellow sleeping bag

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Governor Gavin Newsom claims that California has created a “national model to combat homelessness” — despite the fact that California is home to the MOST homeless individuals out of any state BY FAR. Does this moron EVER tell the truth?” said one X user.


Spending Programs

Dana Loesch, a conservative radio host, criticized Newsom for failing to account for spending on homelessness programs.

California Governor Gavin Newsom is pictured speaking at a podium with the Seal of the Governor of California. He is dressed in a blue suit and tie, gesturing with his right hand. Flanking him on both sides are the United States flag and the California state flag

Source: CAgovernor/X

“Running a $45b+ dollar deficit, losing $24b on untracked homeless programs, like I said the other day, this IS the Dem model for the nation. Cut this ad GOP. Do something,” Loesch wrote.


Losing Track

In April, the Los Angeles Times reported that California has failed adequately to monitor what it has spent on homelessness programs, citing a state audit report.

A homeless encampment with tents, tarps, and assorted items, including a bicycle and a satellite dish

Source: Wikimedia Commons

California has been spending on homelessness to the tune of billions of dollars, which has caused critics to be skeptical of where the money is going and if it is even working.


Lack of Transparency

Much of the anger directed at Newsom is also over a failure the state has demonstrated in properly disclosing its spending efforts.

A person pulling out money from their wallet.

Source: Allef Vinicius/Unsplash

“The lack of transparency in our current approach to homelessness is pretty frightening,” said Republican Assemblymember Josh Hoover in April.


Worst It’s Ever Been

Buzz Patterson, a writer for RedState, commented “Homelessness is the worst it’s ever been in CA. His ‘model’ doesn’t work.”

A dense cluster of tents and tarps strewn with various belongings is shown under a bridge. Debris is scattered around the area, indicating a large, crowded homeless encampment

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bonchie, another writer for RedState added to the chorus, writing “He’s been in power for two decades and hasn’t solved a thing.”


Homelessness in California

A report from the University of California in 2023 found that despite California being 12% of the United States population, it accounts for 30% of the total homeless population. It also accounts for half of the total un-housed homeless population in the country.

A view of a homeless encampment with tents, trash, and personal items scattered around an area bordered by a chain-link fence, near an urban highway

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In March, the Public Policy Institute of California found that homelessness in the state had recently risen by 6%.


Mental Health and Homelessness

The University of California report also examined the relationship between mental illness and homelessness.

A man sits on a chair with its face in his hand.

Source: Nik Shuliahin/Unsplash

The report found that 82% of participants in the study reported having a time in their lives when they suffered a serious mental health condition. 27% of the respondents said they had been hospitalized due to a mental health condition. Two-thirds of people reported using illicit drugs for extended periods of their life.