Auditor: California Isn’t Monitoring Homelessness Spending Or Its Effectiveness

( — A new audit of California’s spending on homelessness found that some state agencies failed to track the costs and outcomes of their programs, ABC News reported.

According to a report from the California State Auditor, the nine state agencies managed by Cal ICH (California Interagency Council on Homelessness) have together spent billions over the past five years on at least 30 state programs aimed at addressing California’s homeless problem.

The auditor reviewed five homeless programs and determined that two—the Homekey program from the Department of Housing and Community Development and the CalWORKs Housing Support Program from the Department of Social Services—appeared to be cost-effective.

For the other three programs, however, the cost-effectiveness was uncertain.

The auditor found that some agencies had no data on the outcomes or costs of their programs, despite the state providing additional funding in the past two years to keep data up-to-date.

According to the report, Cal ICH has failed to create a consistent plan that would ensure accountability and results from each program. The auditor said maintaining current information would allow the state to make “policy decisions on how to effectively reduce homelessness” based on the most recent data.

The auditor suggested in its report that the California legislature mandate data collection from state-run programs and for the state agencies to publicly report on the costs and outcomes of their homeless programs

Homelessness has been rising in California for the last decade. A 2023 report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) found that on any given night in the state, around 181,399 people are homeless.

California accounts for 28 percent of the country’s homeless, according to HUD.

In a statement to ABC News, Cal ICH said the report highlighted the state’s “significant progress” in addressing California’s homelessness in recent years. At the same time, the auditor’s report underscored the need to hold accountable the local governments that are “primarily responsible for implementing these programs and collecting data on the outcomes” the state needed to evaluate the effectiveness of each program.

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