Susannah Luthi of the Washington Free Beacon explores the California governor’s record on tackling homelessness.

California governor Gavin Newsom, in a pre-recorded state of the state address on Tuesday, touted himself as the first Golden State leader to write a homelessness plan. California’s homeless population has grown 17 percent since Newsom took office and the state has the largest homeless population in the country.

“Let me remind you that when I became governor in 2019, there was no state homeless strategy, no state plan,” Newsom said. “There was no significant investment. … There was no accountability expected or anything demanded in return, no requirement for demonstrable results.”

His boast comes just a few months after a state auditor found that California officials failed to track $24 billion in homelessness spending and have no way to determine which of their many costly programs are working. Since Newsom assumed office in 2019, California’s homeless population has grown from 151,278 people, according to federal figures, to 181,399 at the last count.

In his taped address, Newsom highlighted the clearance of 9,300 “dangerous encampments” and praised his signature “Project Homekey” program that converts hotels and motels into housing. The costs for this enterprise vary. Last year, Newsom invested another $156 million in taxpayer funds for housing units through the program, spending between $206,513 and $341,196 per unit just to renovate them for use. This money did not account for operational costs or promised food and health care, according to a report from Center Square. Yearly additional costs for operating each of these rooms are estimated to top $31,000.

Newsom also thanked voters for approving a March ballot initiative he had championed and poured considerable political capital into supporting, to borrow an additional $6.4 billion for homelessness programs. The measure barely passed, despite its well-funded bank of support, and Newsom scrambled to get volunteers to cure rejected ballots as a way to guarantee it would succeed.