Governor Newsom Delivers State of the State Address on Homelessness

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The following are a small portion of the State of the State Address by Governor Gavin Newsom

To read the full speech go here

State of the State Address

California Governor Gavin Newsom

February 19, 2020

Our objectives are clear: to increase density in a way that promotes equity, affordability, and inclusion; to increase certainty that “units planned” become “units built” in a way that respects environmental and labor protections; and to hold local governments accountable for both of these pillars—more density and more certainty It’s time for California to say yes to housing. We cannot wait. So this is the challenge before us and those are the tough choices we must make. Overcoming adversity and tackling intractable problems are as ingrained in California’s character as our sun-kissed coast and our bread-basket valley.

With homelessness, I know it can be done because I’ve seen successes along the way. 15 years ago, when I was Mayor of San Francisco, in the face of long odds and stiff opposition, we established Project Homeless Connect to bring local government services directly to people. It has been wildly successful and adopted in 250 other cities.

Last year, I went back to Homeless Connect and spoke with a man named Richard Oliva. Four years ago, Richard was homeless, drug addicted and seeking medical help at one of Connect’s neighborhood fairs. Thanks to this program, Richard got clean, obtained disability support and ultimately moved into subsidized permanent housing. This time, he was back—but as a volunteer.

For three years now, he has been passing out free reading glasses to people in need. While I was there, Richard hugged me with tears in his eyes and said, “thanks to this program, I have a home of my own.” Richard’s story reminds us that there are no lost causes in our California community. It’s an enduring California value that every Californian has value.

So when critics tell you homelessness can’t be solved, introduce them to Richard, and the thousands of others like him who are a living testament. I don’t think homelessness can be solved. I know homelessness can be solved. This is our cause. This is our calling. Let us rise to the challenge and make California stand as an exemplar of what true courage and compassion can achieve.

Let’s get to work.