A TV ad supporting Gov. Gavin Newsom in the recall election claims the governor is “getting 65,000 homeless Californians into housing.”
CapRadio’s PolitiFact California reporter Chris Nichols fact-checked that claim in this week’s Can You Handle The Truth segment. Meanwhile, PolitiFact California contributor Sasha Hupka fact-checked a claim about Newsom’s power to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency.
Nichols and Hupka joined CapRadio’s afternoon anchor Randol White to discuss both claims.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
On the ad supporting Newsom and if the numbers check out
Chris Nichols: The ad was produced by Stop The Republican Recall of Governor Newsom Committee. This is a group formed by Democrats supporting Newsom. They’ve produced several TV ads that talk about how the governor is helping Californians.
The ad focused on things like the state stimulus checks he approved, but then they also make a claim about homelessness that caught our attention.
“Gov. Gavin Newsom has California roaring back,” the ad said. “What does that mean for you? Newsom is delivering money to your pocket, cleaning up our streets, and getting 65,000 homeless Californians into housing.”
This claim really needs some context. Newsom has proposed spending a record $12 billion on homelessness. The big focus is on housing people — but that’s a plan that stretches over the next three fiscal years, according to his proposed budget.
On getting more context on the state’s homelessness crisis and the state’s Project Roomkey initiative
Nichols: It’s not easy to house the unhoused, and it’s mainly the job of the cities, counties and nonprofits to do this challenging, time-consuming work. Though state funding and technical assistance do help.
Project Roomkey has helped more than 40,000 homeless Californians. It provided them with temporary shelter in motels during the worst of the pandemic. CapRadio recently reported that only about 30% of those who left the program have gone on to find permanent or temporary housing.
So, Newsom and local governments have a big challenge ahead to house that 65,000 number talked about in the campaign ad.
On Gov. Newsom’s ability to keep a state of emergency declaration active
Sasha Hupka: We saw claims on Facebook that Newsom can’t extend the state of emergency and that it expired last year, but that’s simply not true.
In fact, he’s already extended it several times. The laws which govern such things say very clearly [that] a declaration is ended either by him or by concurrent resolution in the legislature.
A concurrent resolution is used to resolve issues that pertain to both the Assembly and Senate. Legal experts say it’s a check on Newsom’s power because it means both he and a majority of the legislature have to agree … the declaration should continue.
Experts say there is also a check in the form of public opinion. This is especially true for Newsom, who is facing a recall election.
On what the ongoing state of emergency does, and why to keep it
Hupka: It allows officials to address the crisis, which could be important if cases spike again. It also unlocks funding California usually wouldn’t have access to.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.