California Homeless Housing Needs Assessment by Corporation for Supportive Housing puts a first-of-its-kind dollar figure on the investments needed to solve homelessness by 2035.
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and the California Housing Partnership, with the support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, collaborated with multiple stakeholders to determine the level of public investment that would solve homelessness in California through the first ever California Homeless Housing Needs Assessment.
With data provided in part by the Homeless Data Integration System and the most recent U.S. Census, the Needs Assessment concludes that California must invest an average of $8.1 billion every year for the next 12 years to create the housing, shelter and supportive services needed to adequately address and solve homelessness.
“Solving homelessness in California is possible if we quantify the need for housing and are clear about the purpose of our investments,” said Debbie Thiele, Western Region Managing Director, Corporation for Supportive Housing. “This needs assessment provides policymakers with a better understanding of the total need and acts as a foundation for future investment and policy decisions across the state.”
Drawing from an enormous body of practical evidence and a process that validated and adjusted base assumptions through stakeholder engagement, the analysis concludes that a problem as complex as homelessness, requires a comprehensive approach and the funding investments to match. The analysis found that California needs to build 112,527 affordable homes, fund operating and rental subsidies to 225,053 households, provide supportive services for 62,966 individuals and families, and fund interim interventions like shelters for 32,235 Californians experiencing homelessness.
“The California Housing Partnership is proud to have assisted CSH with the research behind The California Homeless Housing Needs Assessment,” said Matt Schwartz, President & CEO, California Housing Partnership. “The findings in The Assessment add to the findings in the 2021 publication of California’s Roadmap Home 2030 and deserve the attention of state leaders tasked with addressing the state’s on-going crisis of homelessness.”
Until now, policymakers have never been able to draw on a comprehensive assessment of the investment necessary to end homelessness in California, and proposed spending has accordingly been incomplete or based on available resources instead of need. Consensus on the data can form the basis of a statewide plan that establishes an ongoing and consistent source of funding.
“Homelessness has long been neglected in our state, and it has reached a tipping point that cannot be ignored,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, chair, Assembly Housing Committee. “Our budget is a reflection of our values, and it’s time to make solving this issue a priority.”
“The Needs Assessment spells out what we need to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-reoccurring in Los Angeles and in California,” said Peter Laugharn, President and CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “By answering a fundamental question – how much housing do we need to help our unhoused neighbors? – we have the information we need to create a statewide plan that we can collectively tackle together with public and private resources.”
The Needs Assessment is a result of a collaborative stakeholder engagement process that included multiple publicly available data sets, focus groups of people with lived experience, interviews with experts and service providers, and two wide-reaching convenings engaging over 125 stakeholders.
“Homelessness is a statewide crisis. But it is a crisis that we can solve by providing housing and services for those in need,” said Chione Lucina Muñoz Flegal, Executive Director, Housing California. “Nearly one-fourth of the people experiencing homelessness in this country are in our Golden State. The 2022 point-in-time count found more than 170,000 Californians are unhoused on any given day. Solving our crisis requires that we understand the true needs of households experiencing or expected to experience homelessness. And that is what has been done through this Needs Assessment. Housing California is proud to support its goals and findings.”
The Needs Assessment estimates federal and state resources will offer resources of $1.2 billion for housing people experiencing homelessness, lowering the remaining need to $6.9 billion each year through 2035. This amounts to about 2.7 percent of the 2022-23 California Budget.
The current approach has historically focused on reactive, short-term and uncoordinated solutions often drawn from one-time budget surpluses. The Needs Assessment provides foundational data to support investments that effectively houses Californians experiencing homelessness.
“California can solve homelessness and be a model for the rest of the nation,” said Ann Oliva, Chief Executive Officer, National Alliance to End Homelessness. “The centralized, long-term approach outlined in this assessment is what it will take to turn public investments into tangible results for our communities in need. We look forward to seeing these recommendations in action.”
Assessing data, as in this needs assessment, and matching resources to meet identified need has proven effective in real-world applications. Examples from Houston to Finland to U.S. veteran homelessness show that a data-informed, committed, cohesive approach to ongoing funding of housing leads to major reductions in homelessness. The federal government has been able to reduce homelessness among veterans by 55% since 2010 by funding ongoing rental subsidies and services based on data-informed goals. Houston saw a 63% reduction in homelessness after implementing these strategies, and Finland is estimated to end homelessness in the country for good by 2027.
“This analysis makes clear that the pathway to ending homelessness across California is clear and attainable. The annual investment is less than the cost of a new aircraft carrier,” said Tommy Newman, Vice President of Engagement & Activation, United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “This assessment helps state leaders understand both the level and the type of investment needed to solve homelessness, it analyzes the current impact of state-funded programs, and it demonstrates a realistic and coordinated approach to solving homelessness permanently. It should be in every briefing book in the Capitol.”
“This is a really important effort to quantify the need for more investments into housing and services for people experiencing homelessness in California,” remarked Carolina Reid, Faculty Research Advisor, Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley.