Homelessness

California Politicians Want More Federal Money to Keep Doing a Terrible Job With Homelessness

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti doesn't like President Donald Trump's insults, but does want more money from his administration.

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President Donald Trump and California's top politicians are sniping at each other again, this time over the issue of homelessness.

On Monday, Trump gave an interview in which he decried the problem of homelessness in a number of cities—mentioning New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles by name—while saying that the federal government might have to "intercede."

"It's a phenomenon that started two years ago. It's disgraceful," Trump told Fox News host Tucker Carlson, saying that cities with large homeless populations were "usually sanctuary cities, run by very liberal people and the states are run by very liberal people."

It's obviously wrong for Trump to say that homelessness is an issue that started two years.

Were that true, it would have meant that very liberal people like President Barack Obama and California Gov. Gavin Newsom had fulfilled their promises to end homelessness, at least for a time. Obama pledged in 2010 to end chronic homelessness by 2015. Newsom, when he first became mayor of San Francisco in 2004, said he'd do the same by 2014.

Newsom himself shot back at Trump on Tuesday.

"You'll have to ask him what 'interceding' means. If interceding means cutting budgets to help support services to get people off the street, he's been very successful, at least advancing those provisions," the governor told the Los Angeles Times.

Trump has, in fact, not been very successful at advancing cuts to federal homelessness funding. Though his administration's budget proposals have called for cutting spending on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) homeless assistance grants, spending on that program continues to increase every year.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, while decrying Trump's comments as "cheap shots", has also said he supports having the federal government "intercede"—at least financially—in addressing the city's homelessness problem.

On Monday, Garcetti said he would be leading coalition of mayors to lobby Congress to pass the Ending Homelessness Act—introduced in March by Rep. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.)—which would spend an additional $13 billion over five years on new and existing federal homelessness and housing programs. To build support for the legislation, Garcetti has said he will lead a rally in Washington D.C., testify before Congress, and get more co-sponsors on board.

Were federal funding increased further, it's still an open question as to how much that extra money would help people without shelter get into more permanent housing. In places like Los Angeles, there's been a major increase in state and local spending on homelessness alongside a growing number of people living on city streets.

In 2016, Los Angeles voters passed Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond measure city officials said would help construct 10,000 new units of housing, of which 7,000 would be "supportive units" reserved for the formerly homeless, within a decade.

The city is projecting that about two-thirds of those funds will only pay for about half the number of units it was promising. The city has committed $810 million of Prop HHH money, which it is expecting to help subsidize the construction of 5,388 units. Only about 4,100 of these will be supportive units, the rest being reserved for currently housed low-income people.

So far, no Prop. HHH units have been completed, although some 150 (including 100 supportive units) are expected to open by the end of 2019.

Realizing they will likely not have enough money to fulfill their 10,000-unit promise to voters, Los Angeles politicians have started looking for ways to stretch remaining funds as much as possible.

In January, the Los Angeles City Council set aside $120 million of Prop. HHH money for a pilot program that would fund cheaper, non-conventional forms of public housing construction. In late June, City Council member Mitch O'Farrell asked the state to match the $1.2 billion bond measure Los Angeles voters had already passed.

Last week, state lawmakers agreed to spend $650 million on homelessness aid to local governments, earmarking $250 million of this for the state's 13 largest cities. How much Los Angeles will get from this pot hasn't been determined yet.

Judging by Garcetti's aggressive solicitation of Congress for funds, it won't be enough.

And even if Los Angeles were able to secure enough federal and state money to complete its goals under Prop HHH, this new housing would shelter only a small number of the city's surging homeless population.

A 2019 count of the city's homeless population found that it had grown by roughly 16 percent to 36,000 people. In Los Angeles County, the homeless population totaled nearly 59,000. This growth is despite the fact that the city spent $619 million on homelessness—including $442 million in Prop HHH dollars—in 2018. It received $85 million in state aid in the same year.

One possible reason for the increase is that the same restrictions on development that make housing more expensive in Los Angeles—and thus exacerbate the city's homelessness issues—also make it harder to build the supportive housing the city is saying it needs to address homelessness.

Long approval times, sky-high land and labor costs, and a permitting process that gives NIMBYs ample opportunity to slow or stop new development all hamstring the city's attempts to build new housing for the homeless. In one particularly egregious case, Metro—the Los Angeles area's transit agency—spent over a decade trying to get approval to build supportive housing on land it owns in the city.

That combined with the normal inefficiencies we would associate with the public sector ensures that Los Angeles will continue to spend a lot of money on not that much housing.

To Garcetti's credit, the mayor has thrown his support behind a state bill that would exempt emergency shelters and Prop. HHH-funded projects from laborious environmental reviews, which should speed up their delivery. The Trump administration has also proposed reducing federal regulations that drive up the costs of housing. Still, absent wider reforms, rising unaffordability will continue to push more folks onto Los Angeles' streets.

By demanding more federal aid to address homelessness in Los Angeles, Garcetti is asking for taxpayers to subsidize this dysfunction. Instead, the mayor should look at making deeper reforms to the city government he runs.

NEXT: Prominent Pornography Researcher Frames Defamation Claims As Sexual Harassment, Prompting a Defamation Suit by Her Target

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  1. California Politicians Want More Federal Money to Keep Doing a Terrible Job With Homelessness

    FTFY

  2. “””It’s a phenomenon that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful,” Trump told Fox News host Tucker Carlson, saying that cities with large homeless populations were “usually sanctuary cities, run by very liberal people and the states are run by very liberal people.”

    It’s obviously wrong for Trump to say that homelessness is an issue that started two years.””

    I don’t think Trump is saying homelessness is new. I think he means the level of homelessness is new. He wouldn’t be right about that either.

    Some else not new, a president that misconstrues fact for his political ends.

  3. How about some data and facts?

    The report shows California’s homeless population jumped nearly 14 percent from 2016 to 2017 — to a total of more than 134,00 people. It rose nearly 9 percent over the previous seven years.

    That’s much different than the national picture. While the national homeless population ticked up about 1 percent in 2017, it remained 13 percent lower than in 2010, according to an NPR analysis following the report’s release.

    But don’t let facts confuse you, Christian.

  4. One possible reason for the increase is that the same restrictions on development that make housing more expensive in Los Angeles—and thus exacerbate the city’s homelessness issues—also make it harder to build the supportive housing the city is saying it needs to address homelessness.

    No, baby, that’s not the reason. How do we know that? Because there are plenty of very, very expensive cities with very, very strong zoning restrictions that have no homeless at all. In sane societies, housing prices and homelessness are generally negatively correlated because wealthy communities have more resources for law enforcement.

    The homeless populations in cities like SF and LA are overwhelmingly drug addicts and the mentally ill, encouraged to move to those cities because they subsidize homelessness.

    1. In addition, almost all the homeless people living under overpasses in my town are from somewhere else. Somewhere much cheaper to live. It isn’t an affordable housing problem, it’s an affordable heroin problem.

    2. In sane societies, housing prices and homelessness are generally negatively correlated because wealthy communities have more resources for law enforcement.

      So you are actually saying that sane societies criminalize homelessness?

      1. No, sane societies criminalize beating people with a baseball bat until they have a permanent speech impediment. Meet Lonnie Sanderson arrested and released each and every time because “it’s not a crime to be unhoused”.

        King County officials don’t currently know his whereabouts.

      2. Meet Randolph Neil Humiston who attempted to kidnap a 9 year old girl out of a park in broad daylight. He’s been arrested 104 times.

        Humiston’s career criminal conviction resume’ includes four felonies, and 38 gross misdemeanors including “Threats to Kill, Assault, Resisting Arrest, Stalking, Escape, Indecent Exposure, Possession of a Dangerous Weapon and many Vehicle Prowl” and multiple drug convictions, according to court records.

      3. So you are actually saying that sane societies criminalize homelessness?

        Not at all. Sane societies criminalize trespass, theft, and violence. Sane societies also provide shelter to the homeless and treatment to the sick, but they do so away from residential neighborhoods.

        Did that answer your question or do I need to draw you a diagram?

    3. “”encouraged to move to those cities because they subsidize homelessness.”‘

      You get more of what you reward.

    4. The homeless populations in cities like SF and LA are overwhelmingly drug addicts and the mentally ill, encouraged to move to those cities because they subsidize homelessness.

      And no they aren’t. You very clearly did not read the report you linked to. But hey – you don’t need facts when you’ve got pre-established opinions to inform you.

      1. That’s a neat parlor trick the media pulls here. It’s a fun game. We talk about “homelessness” in the most generic of ways, when what we’re talking about are everyone from the drug addict living in the third world encampment to the mother with four kids to left her abusive boyfriend and is living in a temporary shelter, obeying the rules, not attacking other residents, not addicted to substances. The latter isn’t what people in these cities worry about. In fact, there’s a lot of compassion for those people. There isn’t, however, much compassion left for Travis Berge. Those people are in fact overwhelmingly drug addicted and/or mentally ill. Those are the people literally shitting in the street, attacking tourists, pulling the pants of young girls down in the drug store, coming in through my neighbors front window while his 12 year old boy is quaking in the living room, leaving used needles out in front of my house. Unfortunately I can’t post all the supporting links because my comment will go into moderation hell. But trust me, that’s the homeless J W is talking about.

        1. I pulled out the subsets of homeless below. The chronics (mental/drug) are always undercounted – but the census counts of the homeless show that only about 16% of the homeless are chronics. Double the number if you want to believe that they all just KNOW the homeless census taker is out to eat their brains with fava beans and a nice chianti so they avoid being counted. That’s STILL nowhere near a majority. The CITY where that subset is nearest a majority of the total homeless is DC – and its 41% there.

          And yes – they are FAR more likely to be visible – at the bottom – on the street. Where their life expectancy in ‘homelessness’ is less than 10 years. They are also almost everywhere semi-criminalized as well. Every county in the US spends a ton putting these folks in jail and taking them to the ER many times per year. And some places still mostly force them out of town so someone else has to deal with the problem.

          But this really ain’t ‘the homeless problem’. It is simply the most extreme combination of every problem we don’t want to think about wrapped up in one person – including homelessness. Some states have succeeded in sheltering them (eg IN shelters about 90% of them even if only temporarily during the winter – CA shelters about 10% of them). Others have combined other elements of treatment or shelter or ‘life skills’ or whatever might work. Others – like your WA – are fuckups.

          Pretending this is ‘the homeless problem’ merely means one ignores the biggest part of the actual homeless problem.

          1. I pulled out the subsets of homeless below. The chronics (mental/drug) are always undercounted – but the census counts of the homeless show that only about 16% of the homeless are chronics.

            Not even close. 41% of SF homeless say they have drug or alcohol addiction and 39% of SF homeless say they have mental health issues. There is also a smaller percentage of homeless youth.

      2. Oh yea, I forgot one, raped in the bathroom of a car dealership and then attacked by the progressive homeless activists.

        After being raped, she had approached city leaders and met with the sitting councilman for nearly an hour but was received, she says, with dismissiveness. Teel’s crime against her did not fit the preferred narrative of compassion for the homeless, so the political class downplayed it. By the time Lindsey reached out to me, she was ready to speak out.

        […]

        Then came the backlash. Progressive activists launched a counterattack against Lindsey on social media. Local journalist Erica Barnett claimed that the story drew attention because Lindsey is an “attractive blonde woman” and dismissed the victim’s “many tears” as theatrics serving a false narrative that the homeless represent a danger to the community. She demanded that the media temper its reporting and be mindful that “graphic descriptions of violent rape may be triggering for survivors.” Barnett’s message was amplified on left-wing Twitter; Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez claimed that Lindsey’s story would create fear and cause harm to communities “that may already be triggered.”

      3. And no they aren’t. You very clearly did not read the report you linked to.

        I didn’t link to a report, I linked to a Politifact article providing statistics about the number of homeless; that’s a fact.

        Either HUD or NPR “attributed” the rise in homelessness to rising housing costs, a belief that clearly cannot be true.

        But hey – you don’t need facts when you’ve got pre-established opinions to inform you.

        You bet that I have “pre-established opinions” because I actually looked into it. In particular, the belief that rising housing costs cause widespread homelessness is clearly wrong since high housing costs simply don’t correlate with large homeless populations. Even within the Bay Area, housing costs have risen in many cities, but only a few cities have large homeless populations.

    5. J W gets it
      the people are homeless because they have chosen to do so because places like LA and Sf give them phones, money, drugs and now they have to give them land. why work when you can get everything free and still get high. California is enaballing them and in the little town I live in they are now going to build a four story housing project for them for free while others are taxed so much they can barely pay for rent and food. the enaballing is actually creating more homeless

    6. Temporary homelessness might be caused by a bad economy. But the kind of permanent homelessness by derelicts, pan handlers, and sidewalk shitters is not.

      I feel for those rendered jobless and homeless by our hidden recession. I have no qualms helping them. It’s the permanent homeless making homelessness into a lifestyle that is the problem. There are solutions for them. We have shelters for them. But they refuse to use them and the proggie elites in this state celebrate them.

  5. The worst thing that happened was when blue west coast cities discovered you could turn homelessness into an eternal cash cow. The instant that happened, we got more homelessness.

    1. “”when blue west coast cities discovered you could turn homelessness into an eternal cash cow.”‘

      NYC says hold my beer. Servicing the homeless is a big industry here.

      1. I did hear some good news, Austin is going to legalize homeless tent encampments on their streets so that might have a distributive effect, drawing some people away from here. Every time a new cities legalizes tent camping on city streets, I get hopeful.

        1. LA Just did that as well so they wont be moving and store owners have to allow them to camp in their parking lots at night which means more crime for the store and we know they won’t move their camp during business hours

  6. As long as we’re in the #DrumpfRecession, it’s inevitable people will be living on the streets. Homelessness will only end when a Democratic President reverses the economic devastation Orange Hitler’s tariffs have caused.

    Furthermore, when the next Democratic administration implements the Koch / Reason open borders agenda, that will of course reduce homelessness as well.

    1. lol

  7. “It’s obviously wrong for Trump to say that homelessness is an issue that started two years.”

    In terms of media coverage…it’s not far from accurate.

  8. Why does Newsome want federal money? I’m constantly hearing about how rich California is, world’s fifth largest economy, rollin’ in the dough.

    1. That money is earmarked for something else.

      1. Choo-Choo

  9. “On Monday, Garcetti said he would be leading coalition of mayors to lobby Congress to pass the Ending Homelessness Act—introduced in March by Rep. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.)”

    No. Just due to the Rep alone. Fuck her.

    Also, I don’t see how CA homelessness is a problem I, across the country, have any need to give a shit about. You want to vote for asinine nonsense? Well, this is what you get.

  10. Caring about the homeless only started two years ago only because of TDS when Obama was in office not a peep. Same thing happened to Reagan and Bush all sorts of yelling about a fake 3 million homeless but as soon as Clinton was in office not a word Just like the Pink war protesters always dissapear when a dem is in office

  11. Give up on eliminating homelessness. Here is the ideal scenario:
    1. Through divine intervention, every currently homeless individual obtains food clothing and shelter in perpetuity.
    2. The massive ‘helping the homeless’ bureaucracy, government and private, disappears, and thousands lose their jobs.
    3. The newly fired become homeless.
    4. Repeat as necessary.

  12. By demanding more federal aid to address homelessness in Los Angeles, Garcetti is asking for taxpayers to subsidize this dysfunction.

    Britschgi is wrong on just about everything he writes about re housing/homelessness but on this point he is right. This is not a federal problem at all. Some states actually solve their homeless problems or parts of it – and not by criminalizing it. People in those states should not be asked to subsidize the fuckups. From that HUD report, it’s easy to see the fuckup states:

    For the chronically homeless (the addicts and mental) – WA is the fuckup. TX/OH/NJ do a pretty good job. CA has a larger problem than most – but its not getting worse.

    For veterans – CA has the biggest problem but all states are paying attention to this subset. Call it the only positive from the ‘Thank you for your service’ tripe.

    For teenage runaways – all the west coast states suck as does NYC. The solution is easy everywhere (and will happen nowhere) assuming no one wants to deal with the underlying problem. SRO housing which used to be common everywhere (20-30% of total housing stock in 1900) and is now nearly gone everywhere.

    For families w children (33% of total homeless) – NYC, Boston, DC, LA are the fuckups. Every big city has problems but most are glacially whittling away. Brticshgi will yap about zoning – but this is always a land price problem. It is nonsense for feds to tax places with low land value to give to places with high land value merely cuz those places with high land value don’t want to pay for the problems high land value creates.

    For older individuals NEC (36% of total homeless) – West Coast, CO, NY are the fuckups. TX,FL,GA are reasonably successful. Solution is easy and the same as for teenage runaways – SRO housing. With zero likelihood everywhere.

  13. I hate to say it, but the problem did start two years ago. We’ve always had a homelessness problem. But starting around two years ago the cops stopped shooing the homeless off of the streets. They became a protected class, and to complain about the homeless shitting on your lawn is to be an evil reactionary.

    To repeat, the cops are deliberately not doing anything about the homeless in California.

    They’re opening shitting on the streets in San Fransisco. But even in ordinarily staid towns like San Jose they have exploded, and there are permanent tent encampments in residential streets. You have to step around them to get into a store. They’re sleeping on people’s lawns. Camping in their backyards. And the police do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Fuck, the proggies in this state look at you like you’re foaming at the mouth reactionary just for complaining about it.

    Well it’s starting to seriously affect property values, and the property owners are getting mad. Either these clown politicians get voted out, or the tax base will continue to leave the state in droves.

  14. Pretending that homelessness is caused by the high price of housing is misleading everyone. Most of the homeless have no jobs, which means that even if housing cost a tenth of what it does now, they still couldn’t afford to pay the rent.
    If anything, we need drug treatment centers and mental health facilities. And we also need to return to when it was easier to involuntarily commit people.

  15. Sounds like a municipal issue.

  16. I do want to see a study of Austin. TX homeless population right now and a review in 10 years. Their public camping law seems destined to generate MASSIVE homelessness.

  17. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is right to ask for more money.
    Money solves all problems.
    History has shown that many times over.
    So let’s all empty the US Treasury and solve our problems.
    Then, and only then, will we all live happily ever after.

  18. Ending Homelessness Act—introduced in March by Rep. Maxine Waters (D–Calif.)—which would spend an additional $13 billion over five years on new and existing federal homelessness and housing programs.

    “Ending”. If you’re planning on rewarding homelessness with more handouts, I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  19. Low-Information California voters are to blame with Props. 47 & 57 and perpetually electing weak-kneed, do-nothing, pandering liberals to office. We now have bums taking over entire metropolitan areas. It’s positively disgraceful.

    As an actual taxpayer in California I say screw high-speed rail. Roll back 47 & 57 and expand the prison system to include low-level vagrancy detention facilities. Enforce vagrancy laws. Get the bums off the streets. Do not build them BS apartments in the cities unless you want more of them in your cities. Hello!

    For those who are truly are mentally ill, give them the help/chance in Vagrancy Prison to turn things around. But for the bums…screw ‘em. Get them on a chain gang doing something that needs doing like clearing brush leading up the fire season.

  20. […] And rather than fixing the problem with more housing, some city leaders prefer to beg the feds for […]

  21. […] And rather than fixing the problem with more housing, some city leaders prefer to beg the feds for […]

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