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Evening view of Downtown San Bernardino, California. (Photo: Matt Gush, Shutterstock)

San Bernardino City Council Sets Date To Decide On Homeless State Of Emergency

If approved, city would be latest city to approve such an order this year

By Evan Symon, January 17, 2023 2:30 am

The city of San Bernardino announced during the weekend that they will vote on a homeless state of emergency declaration on February 1st. If successful, they will join a rapidly growing list of areas in California with such a declaration.

While homeless initiatives have seen an uptick across the state in the last several years, from Governor Gavin Newsom’s Project Roomkey failure to expanding housing initiatives to billions of dollars going to homeless aid programs, total states of emergency against the homeless crisis largely stayed out of reach, especially at the local level. San Francisco did declare a state of emergency in the Tenderloin District in late 2021, but that only lasted 90 days and was not renewed.

In the last few months, however, with the end of COVID-19 restrictions, new leadership being elected in, and more funding opening up, city and countywide states of emergency have been popping exponentially. New Los Angeles Mayor kicked off the rend by declaring a homeless state of emergency shortly after taking office. This was followed up by both Long Beach and the County of LA issuing similar states of emergency. The recent storms that have hit California have also brought on a number of more temporary states of emergency designed to help out the homeless population, including one recently made by Oakland.

As these states of emergency are geared towards implementing new policies and quickly implementing already passed policies but more quickly, more and more areas of the state have been jumping on the trend. San Bernardino became the latest city to put forward a vote on the matter this week, with the San Bernardino City Council set to vote on a state of emergency on February 1st. A homeless count, expected to occur on January 26th, is expected to give the most recent homeless data to the Council to help them decide on the order. With the number of homeless residents in the city having increased by 28% since 2020, with over 1,300 being counted last year, a jump large enough to warrant a vote is also expected.

“We want to make it clear to our residents that addressing homelessness is San Bernardino’s priority number one,” said Mayor Helen Tran this week. “We must focus our efforts, implement our plan, and demand nothing less than better results. A solution will take the skills and resources of many partners. Our emergency declaration makes it clear that San Bernardino, its leadership, its staff and its residents, are beyond our limit for what we are willing to accept. We are committed to addressing homelessness.”

With a vote expected soon, many political watchers are seeing this as a likely trend this year, as both state and local officials have already pledged to do more about the crisis, such as Governor Newsom allocating billions more to homelessness in the last few months and LA Mayor Bass combatting homelessness as her first acts as Mayor.

“If you recall, Governor Newsom really pledged a lot more to homelessness, as did many leaders, in early 2020, only for COVID-19 to blow up in their faces,” explained homeless relief services aide Annie de la Cruz to the Globe on Monday. “Then there were worries about funding, and then wildfires  and drought popped up. Not to mention ongoing issues like low income housing needs. But this year, homelessness seems to be going front and center and has already managed to stay ahead of these storms and floods. San Bernardino would be the next one with such an emergency order, and they won’t be the last. It’s where we are going this year it seems, and that’s a good thing.”

Other cities are expected to announce their own homeless states of emergency as well soon.

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Evan Symon
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One thought on “San Bernardino City Council Sets Date To Decide On Homeless State Of Emergency

  1. San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran and other Democrat mayors must think they are fooling the public by declaring homeless state of emergencies? They’ll just shuffle the homeless around and offer the homeless no real solutions? The homeless are often a funding source for Democrats so why would Democrats want to permanently end homelessness?

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