“Homelessness is an emergency. Let’s call it what it is,” Rep. Harder (D-CA) said in a statement Tuesday. “My bill will bridge the gap between the president and the governor and allow us to get the federal support we need to get people off the streets.”
Comparing the excruciating policy-created homeless crisis in California to a natural disaster needing the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is like comparing the Berlin Wall with the U.S. Mexico Border wall – they are two very different issues.
U.S. Representative Josh Harder, a Democrat representing Modesto and the surrounding San Joaquin Valley, introduced the Homelessness Emergency Declaration Act on Tuesday, Courthouse News Service reported.
Harder said, “If we can declare an emergency after a natural disaster that leaves people without homes, we should be able to do the same thing for an economic disaster.”
Harder’s press statement quotes several managers of housing and health NGOs who stand to receive FEMA funding if Harder’s disaster assistance request is approved.
Courthouse News then quoted Jennifer Friedenbach, director of the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco, who “believes the federal government helped cause the current crisis by divesting in housing and social welfare programs for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.”
“Friedenbach also blamed the housing crisis on rising rents, which she said force people to spend more money on housing, making them even more vulnerable to a temporary loss of income, hospital bill or gap in benefits.”
“We in San Francisco have seen a massive amount of displacement especially among black and brown people and people with disabilities, and the thing they have in common is they don’t have access to accumulated wealth and are too poor to afford a place to live,” Friedenbach said.
The policies Friedenbach incorrectly refers to have very little to do with California’s crisis of criminal drug addicts and the mentally ill living in rat-infested tent cities, on public streets, in downtown centers, and along rivers. It is the policies passed by the California Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown and now by Gov. Newsom making the homeless and crime crisis worse.
Gov. Newsom’s homeless task force wants to force cities to provide housing, when housing is not the prevailing problem – those living on the streets are not our former neighbors down on their luck – mental illness and drug addiction is, as is the state’s policies of prison population reduction, early release programs, bail “reform,” and reducing felonies to misdemeanors and misdemeanors down to citations for a notable list of crimes under Propositions 47 and 57, California Globe reported this week – all of which can be overturned in order to restore law and order in California, but there is little political will to make these policy corrections.
Housing first policies, mandated by the Obama Administration, put the cart before the horse, and fail when dealing with drug addicts and the mentally ill. Tiny homes for the homeless in Los Angeles became tiny crack houses.
As Susan Shelley reported Thursday in the Orange County Register, “the ‘housing first’ policy is working exactly as intended — it’s taking money out of the public treasury and handing it to developers to build dense housing that otherwise might never be approved. The developers pay their workers the ‘prevailing wage,’ generally the highest local union wages and benefits, raising the cost of the project. The politicians collect generous campaign contributions from everybody who makes money on the deal.”
The governor announced at Friday’s budget briefing he plans to set aside $1 billion in new funding designated for housing subsidies, and another $1.4 billion by 2022 to provide preventative care and mental health services for homeless people.
Spending the preventative care and mental health services funding first would make an impact long before a “high quality” home or apartment will – especially if the homeless recipient is still addicted to meth or heroin, suffering from untreated schizophrenia, and robbing neighborhoods to feed his habit.