Governor Gavin Newsom has launched California’s $1.1 billion plan to clean up garbage and graffiti from California’s highways, streets and other public spaces.
SAN FRANCISCO – Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday launched California’s $1.1 billion plan to clear trash and graffiti from California’s highways, streets and other public spaces, an effort he said would beautify the state and create 11,000 jobs. will create.
“It’s an unprecedented attempt to acknowledge what we all recognize when we drive around this state: It’s so dirty!” Newsom said from the side of the San Francisco Bay Area highway.
Jobs created by the three-year program will be given priority to at-risk youth and those formerly homeless or previously imprisoned. Newsom said that in the past week, he said 400 people had already been hired or offered jobs.
The cleanup comes amid growing frustration with homeless camps near freeway exits and entry ramps across California over the past few years. The camps have grown during the pandemic, and many are filled with thrown away sofas, mattresses and other garbage.
An estimated 161,000 people are experiencing homelessness in the country’s most populous state, more than any other state. Advocates say they cannot afford to house people quickly, with a shortage of housing units and high rents.
Funds from the Clean California program are not allowed to be used to displace people who experience homelessness.
Republican candidate for governor of California John Cox is campaigning with an 8-foot (2.4 m) trash can to tout his homelessness plan, which calls for forcing homeless people to undergo mental health or addiction treatment before providing housing. does.
The governor said the beautification plan would be a partnership with cities and counties, which would receive a third of the funding in grants.
“Those dollars will be leveraged by more than a billion dollars of state investment because we are going to leverage local dollars with a matching program,” he said.
Newsom first announced the $1.5 billion Clean California initiative on May 14, but funding dropped to $1.1 billion in the final budget signed by the governor last month.