Last week, Gavin Newsom bragged that California set up a national model to “solve homelessness” by converting hotels into homeless housing. He went on to declare that the Biden administration was working to implement the Newsom model across the country. As the elite media, like the New York Times, cheered, average Californians were left shaking their heads once again.
Why the disconnect between the elites and average Californians? Well, we average folks look at things differently. Gavin Newsom and the elites look at inputs. They point to BILLIONS in new spending on homeless shelters and the like. “That’s progress!” they say and pat themselves on the back.
Regular folks though look at the outcomes and the outcomes aren’t pretty here in California. The sad truth is that California leads the nation in homelessness. In 2020, California had 161,548 homeless people. That’s enough to fill Dodger Stadium nearly three times (back when Gavin Newsom let Californians attend our nation’s past time).
California accounts for 28 percent of all homeless nationally. To put that in perspective, California only accounts for 12 percent of our country’s population. Over the last year for which there is data, California had the largest increase in the homeless population, growing nearly 7 percent. In comparison, California’s overall population grew by .05% over the same period, the worst growth since 1900. We actually lost over 100,000 Californians to other states.
So why is our homeless population growing while others are fleeing our state? Poor leadership and a focus on inputs and not outputs.
The Governor is spending billions on homeless housing, but he’s doing nothing to make California more affordable, to stop people from leaving our state or becoming homeless because of our exorbitant housing costs.
The other thing he fails to do is address what’s the root cause of much homelessness: mental health and addiction. Instead of spending $61,000 per tent in San Francisco, we need to invest more in mental health and addiction services and make the treatment court-ordered if necessary.
You see homelessness is a threat to public safety and sanitation. When we help the homeless this way, we are also making California safer and a better place to live.