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Homeless camp, San Francisco (youtube video by KPIX)
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Government is Failing at Solving California’s Self-Imposed Homeless Crisis

If the problem or crisis is solved, the need for more money dries up

By Katy Grimes, November 25, 2019 2:15 am

Local Mayors value their worth on how much public funding they can spend and spread around to campaign donors.

In a new White House strategy on homelessness aimed at California, Trump administration officials say that housing needs to be deregulated to reduce skyrocketing costs, shelters delay launching into permanent housing, and police presence must be increased in the interest of public safety.

“Almost half of all unsheltered homeless people in the United States are found in California, about four times as high as their share of the overall United States population,” says a recent report from the Trump Administration, The State of Homelessness in America. “Among the five cities with the highest rates of unsheltered homelessness, four are in California (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, and San Jose), and the other is Seattle.”

Reacting, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Newsom accused President Trump of using the hundreds of thousands of homeless vagrants living on California streets as political fodder. In fact, many “homeless advocates” targeted the Trump administration for lacking in solutions — for a problem not created by the federal government.

“If joining and funding real solutions to homelessness, instead of political theater and points scoring, are the Trump administration’s objective, California continues to be ready to engage,” says California Gov. Gavin Newsom spokesman Jesse Melgar, USA Today reported.

California politicians, homeless advocates and state government agency heads say the federal government has always had the power to provide relief, yet never taking time to self-evaluate to understand the complexity of the issue, but more importantly, what policies led to this crisis.

Homeless camp at WW Street and 22nd, Sacramento.

What they want is more federal funding without any strings attached.

USA Today reported:

“It is my hope that if the administration issues an Executive Order, it will be one that supports and expedites proven solutions to homelessness,” says Nan Roman, president and CEO of the nonpartisan National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington, D.C.

Roman says helpful measures could include providing access to surplus federal properties for shelter and linking health and behavioral care to housing.

“Instead, the administration has suggested providing more shelter, but nothing about getting people from those shelters into the housing that would end their homelessness,” she says. “It has promoted more aggressive policing, which has proven not to end homelessness, and proposed policies that create barriers for people trying to access shelter and housing.”

While members of the Trump administration, including Health and Human Services Secretary Ben Carson have met with faith leaders in California to observe the crisis first hand and discuss temporary and long-term solutions, the California state government and city governments have kept faith-based organizations out of the loop on real solutions.

Yet it is the faith based organizations which actually have any real success at getting people off of the streets through accountability measures and faith.

“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” Trump told reporters in September. “The people of San Francisco are fed up and the people of Los Angeles are fed up, and we’re looking at it, and we will be doing something about it at the appropriate time,” Trump said.

The President is correct. Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, Modesto, and Redding  residents feel local politicians care more about the rights of those living on the streets than the victims of their drug use, theft, property damage, and even personal assaults.

It has become abundantly clear that local Mayors are merely holding their hands out for state and federal funds – and that is because they value their worth on how much public funding they can spend and spread around to campaign donors.

Yet money doesn’t solve everything, as we see in California.

The more California spends on anything, the worse it gets: public education, roads and highways, Covered California (Obamacare), DMV, utility costs, illegal immigration, and housing, to name just a few issues with record-high spending and historical crises.

If the problem or crisis is solved, the need for more money dries up.

After Trump officials visited Los Angeles to discuss homelessness, his team presented a conservative approach to addressing the homeless crisis in its report, “The State of Homelessness in America.

“More liberal prescriptions favored in the city include a massive and costly plan to build apartments for the homeless.”

Los Angeles has already failed at housing, including their attempt at providing tiny homes to drug addicts living on the street. These tiny homes became tiny crack houses.

“Due to decades of misguided and faulty policies, homelessness is a serious problem,” the White House report on homeless opens with.

“Homelessness almost always involves people facing desperate situations and extreme hardship. They must make choices among very limited options, often in the context of extreme duress, substance abuse disorders, untreated mental illness, or unintended consequences from well-intentioned policies,” the Trump strategy says. “Improved policies that address the underlying causes of the problem and more effectively serve some of the most vulnerable members of society are needed.”

The Trump Administration is addressing the root causes of homelessness. “President Trump signed an executive order that will seek to remove regulatory barriers in the housing market, which would reduce homelessness due to an outward shift in the supply of homes.”

The Trump Administration is addressing this several ways:

  • the expansion of drug treatment and reduction in the supply of illicit drugs;
  • an increased emphasis on serious mental illness and helping formerly incarcerated individuals reconnect with society;
  • supporting the police in promoting safe cities;
  • the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has improved Federal homeless assistance programs by providing flexibility for communities to utilize service participation requirements and more strongly encouraging self-sufficiency.

The Trump Administration report identifies mental illness, substance abuse disorders, former incarceration, poverty, and weak social ties that place individuals at a higher risk of homelessness.

With California cities increasing the “tolerability of sleeping on the streets,” outside of housing or shelter, increases homelessness as well.

Lastly, cities with right-to-shelter policies in place will have a larger supply of homeless shelters, which only encourages more homelessness.

Read the entire report: The State of Homelessness in America

Katy Grimes

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California's War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?
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3 thoughts on “Government is Failing at Solving California’s Self-Imposed Homeless Crisis

    1. Apartments for homeless priced at $700,000 to $1,000,0000 are most certainly NOT the answer. 100,000 homeless or more in the state. The failed Democrats running this state will not let go of their “housing first” mantra. Get the military in here to set up temporary living quarters that are run like a military operation. Assess each individual for mental illness, drug addiction and treat as needed. This isn’t that hard.

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