OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The city of Oakland may lose millions of state dollars or more because the city is “seeking to shirk its responsibility” over housing homeless people on Caltrans property along Wood Street in city limits, a letter Thursday to City Attorney Barbara Parker from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said.

According to Newsom’s office, Oakland is taking a “novel legal position” that it has no responsibility to house the individuals, even though the city received $4.7 million for rehousing activities at Wood Street.

The letter stated local governments generally have the responsibility for providing shelter and re-housing for people who are homeless, while Caltrans is a transportation agency. It has no authority to provide housing or shelter to the public, the letter said.

“To be clear, there is no such thing as a ‘resident of Caltrans,’ as the city’s position suggests,” the letter from Ann Patterson, legal affairs secretary in Newsom’s office, states.

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If Oakland maintains its position, the state may redirect funds away from Oakland to local governments that will provide services to Oakland residents. A response from the city of Oakland was not ready at press time.

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