Senator Cortese Releases Statement on State Audit on Homelessness Funding

Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) issued the following statement following today’s release of the California State Auditor’s analysis of public funds intended to alleviate homelessness across California. The audit is available on the State Auditor’s website here:

“I appreciate the State Auditor's detailed analysis of California's extensive investments in combating homelessness. The audit highlights the need for improved data and greater transparency at both the state and local levels. Since 2017, California's homeless population has increased by about 38 percent, rising by approximately 50,000 to over 180,000 individuals. Unfortunately, there is a balkanized approach to data collection and outcomes, with no centralized system for tracking our investments. This data desert leaves the Legislature and the public without a system of checks and balances to answer basic questions about the effectiveness of our programs,” said Senator Cortese (D-San Jose). “The good news is that the data showed positive outcomes for people placed into permanent housing. In San Jose, 58% of the people placed into permanent housing remained housed, and 81% in San Diego. The data is less conclusive regarding people placed into interim housing. Additional interim and permanent housing is needed, but there is no quantifiable plan to address this issue, which is troubling. We’re not singling out any agency or city. If we’re seeing these issues in cities as large and sophisticated as San Jose and San Diego, it stands to reason that these issues are pervasive in communities across California. This audit underscores the urgent need to establish best practices and create a blueprint for how the State of California and our cities can address our most visible challenge.

BACKGROUND: In March 2023, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) approved an audit request by JLAC member Senator Cortese related to homelessness funding throughout the state, as well as in the City of San Jose and an additional California city selected by the State Auditor. The State Auditor performed its second analysis on the City of San Diego.