By Heather Janssen


SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California’s recent successes took the back seat at Wednesday’s State of the State address as Governor Gavin Newsom dedicated most of his speech to addressing the continued crisis level of homelessness in our state.

It’s on nearly every corner: people without an actual home and living in tents, using the streets as their shelter.

Midtown resident Jose Reyes sees it every day.

“I see a lot of homeless people with mental health issues,” said Reyes, “They’re screaming all up and down the street.”

A crisis that’s plagued California for decades and one that Governor Gavin Newsom made the priority of his 2020 State of the State.

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“Health care and housing can no longer be divorced,” said Newsom. “After all, what’s more fundamental to a person’s well-being than a roof over their head?

The question at hand: but what does it take to get people out of tents and into treatment?

“Doctors should be able to write prescriptions for housing the same way they do for insulin or antibiotics,” said Newsom.

Much of it is a trickle-down effect, not enough affordable housing means more people on the streets. But then, there’s the chronically homeless are often fueled by mental health issues.

Midtown resident Scott Will works with the homeless often at his job and said their problems aren’t all mental health-related. But for those who battle mental health issues, it’s not always easy finding help.

“Accessing those services is extremely difficult for a lot of people,” said Will.

READ: Governor Unveils Billion-Dollar Plan To Solve Homeless Crisis

Newsom also proposed a $750 million long-term solution with the California Access to Housing Fund. It devotes state dollars to work toward affordable housing by converting hotels and motels into housing, expanding board and care homes among other things. Newsom also made mention of reforming Prop 63, the California Mental Health Care Act.

But do Sacramentans think it will work?

“It’s great if it’s used wisely,” said Will.

Reyes is hopeful, “Maybe more will clean up themselves.”

Newsom said this is a crisis than can’t be solved overnight or even over the span of a year. He also referenced one of the first steps to take is to take emergency actions, with plans to open up more shelters across California.

Heather Janssen

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