Joint Legislative Audit Committee Approves Senator Cortese’s State Audit on San Jose Homelessness Spending

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved a bipartisan audit request Wednesday by State Senator Dave Cortese that will examine public funding spent on homelessness in the City of San Jose. Senator Cortese’s audit request asked the California State Auditor to evaluate the City’s approach to homelessness spending and its efficacy in helping move unhoused people into shelter, housing, and supportive services. In addition to the City of San Jose, the State Auditor will select a second city to undergo a comparable evaluation.

Senator Cortese has requested the audit be published by September 2023 — in time to implement any recommended changes through legislation or through the state budget.

“Adding transparency will help both local and state jurisdictions work together to figure out how to best spend state homelessness funding,” said Senator Cortese (D-San Jose). “This audit is not to single out any city — it is to single out the fact that human suffering on our streets has persisted far too long. Let’s shine a light on homelessness spending, adopt best practices, and get more people off the street and into a better life.”

The bipartisan audit request is authored by Senator Cortese and co-authored by Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), Senator Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks), Assemblymember Evan Low (D-San Jose), Assemblymember Josh Hoover (R-Folsom).

While the 2021 state budget included $12 billion over two years to address homelessness, the population of people living on the streets of San Jose continues to rise. In fact, San Jose has the highest number of unhoused youth in the nation, according to a recent report. Within the City of San Jose, the 2022 Point-In-Time Report on Homelessness counted 6,650 unhoused individuals.

Senator Cortese first called for the audit last year following a tour of the Columbus Park encampment in San Jose, which has been one of the largest homeless encampments in California. The audit request was encouraged by homeless advocates and Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.