SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's plans to reduce the nation's largest homeless population aren't good enough, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday, prompting him to halt $1 billion in state spending for local governments as he seeks to reset the state's strategy ahead of his expected second term in office.

California's homeless population — likely higher than the 161,000 people estimated in 2020 — is one of the state's most pressing and public problems as the high cost of living has only increased the size and number of homeless encampments that dot cities throughout the state.

For decades, California's state government has viewed homelessness as a local issue, handing cities and counties tens of billions of dollars to design and run programs aimed at getting people off the street and into permanent housing. That included a recent commitment by state lawmakers to spend $15.3 billion over the next three years.

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