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State Audit Critical Of Homelessness Program Tracking

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Sacramento, CA — The California State Auditor reports that $24 billion has been spent over the past five years on homelessness programs in the state, but officials failed to consistently track if the programs were successful.

The audit adds that California failed to put in place a method for determining whether many of the programs funded met the goals of reducing homelessness.

Homelessness has been one of the most pressing issues facing the state with an increasing number of encampments emerging around the state.

The audit adds that two of the five major programs implemented by the state were likely cost-effective. A Homekey program that puts residents in temporary housing, like hotel rooms, is 2.5 times less expensive than building new affordable housing. Also, the audit points to the Housing Support Program helping families who are at risk of losing their homes and requiring additional services as being a good investment.

However, the other three major programs were unable to be effectively evaluated because of a lack of data.

The audit recommends that California develop a “scorecard” by March of 2025 that gives the legislature and policymakers the information necessary to determine whether the homeless programs are successful, highlighting the costs along with the results.