Homelessness

Gavin Newsom's Solution to California's Homelessness Problem: Throw Another Billion Dollars at It

But the underlying problems remain unaddressed.

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California's homeless population keeps skyrocketing, and so has the number of bills aiming at solving the homelessness problem. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a billion-dollar plan designed to get more houses built for those who need it. But even that much money isn't likely to help many people if the underlying problem remains unchanged. To solve California's homelessness problem, you have to address inflexible zoning rules and ineffective municipal bureaucracies.

Newsom's executive order allocates $750 million to build more affordable housing units and to establish a California Access to Housing and Services Fund within the state's Department of Social Services. The goal is to pay rent for individuals facing homelessness and to make vacant state properties available immediately as shelter options. An additional $695 million will be used to boost preventative health care measures for the homeless through Medi-Cal Healthier California for All.

This follows 18 housing bills that Newsom signed into law last fall. The bills are supposed to accelerate housing production, but they don't have much teeth. They require local jurisdictions to publicly share information about zoning ordinances and other building rules—not to roll the regs back, just to be more transparent about them. They also ask cities and counties to maintain an inventory of state surplus land sites suitable for residential development.

California voters also approved $4 billion in bonds last year for affordable housing programs.

"You can't just throw money at homelessness and a lack of affordable housing and expect that you're going to achieve the result that you're hoping to achieve," says David Wolfe, legislative director of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. After all, it hasn't worked so far.

California is home to almost half of America's homeless population, and the median price for a house there is more than twice the national level. Fixing that problem means building more houses, but zoning laws and anti-development activism make that difficult. Serious reform will require moves like modifying city codes to let developers build units that aren't single-family homes. And dialing back rules, such as the California Environmental Quality Act, that let neighborhood activists block new construction with faux-environmental concerns. And, in general, clearing away the thicket of state and local regulations that get in the way of meeting the demand for housing.

"If you're a city council," San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting told Curbed San Francisco, "the people who vote for you oppose the housing you're creating, and you're creating housing for the people who have yet to move in."

Californians also have to contend with a perverse incentive built into Proposition 13, a measure that limits property-tax increases on homes until they're sold. This gives cities a reason to encourage commercial instead of residential development.

As legislators continue to pour money into housing programs, perhaps they should think more about how to address the broken system responsible for the mess. In the meantime, others will look for ways to route around the system. Silicon Valley giants have begun to propose their own housing projects, underscoring the state government's inability to move forwards with its own reforms.

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  1. Newsom unveiled a billion-dollar plan designed to get more houses built for those who need it.

    By “houses”, could he mean “mental hospitals”?

      1. Note to self: Use less-subtle sarcasm.

        1. Or just give up because honestly, that’s not a joke worth making.

          1. Not a joke.

            Given that a significant portion of the “homeless” have mental issues that prevent them from functioning independently, just giving them their own house or apartment, even with other counseling and resources, does not work.

    1. If Only!
      Newsom and his merry band of socialists [Communists without a dues card] are acting as ~enablers~ for the Mentally Ill on the streets who refuse to stay on their meds and won’t use the available shelters because Shelters Have Rules, such as staying on your prescribed anti-psychotic meds.
      Same deal with the Drug Users and Alcoholics.
      These comprise roughly Half of All Homeless according to studies based on street level surveys conducted as recently as last year.
      Until the State stops acting as an enabler [the chief enabler] and forces these people into making the choice of treatment or incarceration the problem will remain intractable.
      To compound the problem, Newsom has just issued a blanket invitation to all “homeless” to “Come To California, we [the already overburdened taxpayers] will take care of you.”.
      When California finally goes toes up bankrupt I implore the rest of the nation ~not~ to pay for any form of bailout.

  2. Just requiring a bond equal to the cost of the delay would eliminate 65% of all development opposition.
    But then, no politicians gets a power thrill from letting people do stuff without supervision by their betters.

  3. Lesseeee ….. average home price $1M, $1B + $4B, 5000 homes. Course, homes are more expensive than apartment blocks, call it 10,000 apartments. Course, government anything is more expensive than the private sector, drag it down to 2-3000 apartments that will be in the wrong area and so shoddy that no one will want to live in them, and those that do will tear them up within a few years.

  4. Not to mention that proposals to require all new housing to have solar panels installed will bump the cost of a new dwelling by $20,000 or so, and you still won’t be able to sell surplus power to PG&E.

    1. The latter is because surplus power from rooftop solar is utterly worthless. Baseload power has value. Dispatchable power has value. Random injections of tiny quantities of power into the distribution system completely unrelated to demand is worthless.

      Oh, sure, if you hold a gun to somebody’s head, they’ll give you money. But it’s asinine to pretend that they’re giving you the money because you’re “selling” them something of value.

      1. “But it’s asinine to pretend that they’re giving you the money because you’re “selling” them something of value.” – so well worded.

        With CA energy bill being the highest in the nation it seems like there wouldn’t be any problem selling for less to your neighbor. Or heck; buy a battery bank.

        If it’s not worth it to ‘you’ what makes you think it’s ‘worth it’ for the power company.

  5. “Californians also have to contend with a perverse incentive built into Proposition 13, a measure that limits property-tax increases on homes until they’re sold.”

    It’s only a perverse incentive if you’ve already ruled out the option of not spending so much fucking money in the first place.

    1. Prop 13 is ridiculous, and has become more ridiculous over time as children and grandchildren can keep their parents’ and grandparents’ tax assessment base year — even if the child rents out the home and never lives in it.

      Prop 13 is unfair to almost everyone but the established “empty nesters” who live in homes that are far larger than they need, and in some cases really want, in part because they want to pass their tax base year on to the their kids on death.

      Prop 13 is a tax on new entrants to the housing market and a handout to existing homeowners.

      Yes, there was a problem — but it should have been dealt with some other way. Perhaps one could elect to pay only the “Prop 13” portion of their property taxes in cash and the government would take a tax lien for the balance — increasing the lien for interest over time. The tax lien would become payable when the home was no longer the primary residence of the homeowners making the election (such as due to death, sale, or moving to assisted living on a permanent basis). If the value of the home drops below the outstanding mortgages and tax liens, the homeowner would have a few years to get back “in the black” and, if they don’t, it gets auctioned by the city/county for back taxes.

      Then, just figure out how much money is needed each year, divide that by the total assessed value of all property in the jurisdiction to yield a tax rate, then bill each property owner for the market value of their property times the tax rate. This would insure that every property owner would pay the price for electing stupid politicians and passing stupid initiatives because no property owner would be shielded from the cost as they are now.

      1. Property tax unfairness is easy to solve without touching Proposition 13; repeal them entirely. Texas can get by without any income taxes; California can get by without any property taxes.

        1. Texas also isn’t building million dollar homes for homeless people.

          I’m sure that’s unrelated to why they can afford to not have income tax.

          1. California, on a combined state-and-local basis, only gets 13.2% of its tax revenue from property taxes. Even without cutting spending, California could restructure to zero out property taxes pretty easily.

      2. children and grandchildren can keep their parents’ and grandparents’ tax assessment base year — even if the child rents out the home and never lives in it

        Doesn’t have anything to do with Prop 13. That’s Props 58 and 193. Prop 13 was supposed to apply to primary residence only.

        Prop 13 is unfair to almost everyone but the established “empty nesters”

        That’s just not true. My daughter still lives with me, and my property taxes would be about 175% of what they currently are if not for Prop 13.

        Prop 13 is a tax on new entrants to the housing market and a handout to existing homeowners.

        Hitting all the slogans, eh? It’s garden-variety progressive taxation. If you can afford a $1M home, you pay taxes on that $1M home. If you could only afford a $250k home you pay on the $250k even if zoning practices push the on-paper value up to $1M.

        Perhaps one could elect to pay only the “Prop 13” portion of their property taxes in cash and the government would take a tax lien for the balance — increasing the lien for interest over time.

        What you describe is pretty much the way things already work. It’s called “not paying your property taxes.”

        Then, just figure out how much money is needed each year, divide that by the total assessed value of all property in the jurisdiction to yield a tax rate, then bill each property owner for the market value of their property times the tax rate.

        Brilliant use of passive voice! Now all we need is some process by which we “just figure out how much money is needed each year.”

        Are you a JFree sock?

        1. Well, he sure does put a lot of thought into how to get more taxes from other people for our bloated government to waste. Just like jfree. Hmmmmmm.

      3. “Prop 13 is a … handout to existing homeowners.”

        Letting people keep money they earn is a handout only if you start with the proposition that that money actually belongs to the government.

        Is that your position?

        1. Meh, it depends whether you like the people or not. Ask many of the people around here whether the SALT deductions were “handouts” or not, and most will say it was a handout that subsidizes high spending states. *shrug*

      4. “Prop 13 is unfair to almost everyone but the established “empty nesters” who live in homes that are far larger than they need, and in some cases really want, in part because they want to pass their tax base year on to the their kids on death.”

        And the solution is to extend Prop 13 across the board. Make it ‘fair’; every structure is Prop 13d.

      5. You need to look at the totality of Prop 13 and not just cherry pick your arguments.
        Businesses are protected under Prop 13 as well as homeowners.
        And the rising Property Tax Rates were already driving people on fixed incomes out of their homes before the Prop 13 Protections were voted into place by the Citizens.
        Property tax bills weren’t just going up keeping pace with the rate of inflation but at a rate faster that the rate of inflation, and the ~rate~ at which this rise was occurring was getting ever steeper.
        You can’t run a business where you are unable to predict what your plant and equipment costs are going to be. An ever increasing Property Tax Bill makes it impossible to compete with businesses in jurisdictions where these costs can be predicted with accuracy for as much as 20 years going forward.
        The Socialists have run out of “other peoples money” and are desperate to consume an even larger percentage of the productive worth of the private sector. The state is already at the point where businesses are being incentivized to fold up shop and exit the state.
        You want a complete collapse of the business sector, including the Silicon Valley tech companies, go ahead and repeal Prop. 13. The rest of the nation isn’t going to rescue you from your foolishness. You will be ~allowed~ to become another Puerto Rico.

  6. The “homeless crisis” is a media scam. The crisis is in mental health; any thinking California citizen knows that. And until we turn the dialog around to focus on that all the money thrown away housing all the addicts imported from other states will not “solve” the problem.
    It’s taken 50 years to create this generation of feral human beings. It will take 2 generations to make the crazy go away.

    1. And until we turn the dialog around to focus on that all the money thrown away housing all the addicts imported from other states will not “solve” the problem.

      Depends on how you define the problem. I read somewhere that we spend something like half a million per year per individual homeless person.

      When you view the problem as “we need to address homelessness” it doesn’t make sense. When you view the problem as “we need excuses for more public construction spending” it makes perfect sense.

    2. Soooo, you don’t think that crazy people will be able to afford housing even if it’s cheaper?

      By golly, alert the governor! Haha

  7. California (and the rest of America) needs to adopt gentle upzoning or it will never get out of its housing crisis. The government has no right telling you what you can build on your own property.

  8. A Democrat, a Republican, and a Libertarian are standing outside of congress, watching it burn.

    The Democrat says “Smother it with $100s”
    The Republican says “Smother it with $20s”
    The Libertarian says “Smother it with gasoline”

    1. This is beautiful.

      1. The best part is that you can re-use it for any government office or agency.

  9. Nothing’s stopping California from adopting Japanese zoning laws wholesale — except Californians.

  10. Damn clingers trying to hold onto our money. Raise taxes to 99% for the 1% and your betters will handle the rest.

    1. You’ve got some work to do if you’re trying to replace Kuckland

      1. Yeah! Clingers should be taxed at 100%, they don’t deserve money as “they didn’t build that” . Do the parody right!

  11. President Trump and the first lady just got such a loud and raucous standing ovation at the college football championship just now that Welchie Boy and all the rest off the faggots are going to be butthurt for days.

  12. I get the impression that homelessness is driven far less by a shortage of housing as it is driven by substance abuse and the lack of long term mental health treatment facilities and the greatly reduced ability to involuntarily commit people to mental institutions.

    1. The science says otherwise.
      https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ucla-anderson-forecast-20180613-story.html

      In a study contained in the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast, released Wednesday, UCLA found that higher median rent and home prices are strongly correlated with more people living on the streets or in shelters. The research backs other studies that have found a similar relationship.

      Last year, Zillow released a study that showed that a 5% rent hike in L.A. County — where more than 50,000 are estimated to be homeless — would cause 2,000 additional people to lose their homes.

      “If we can improve the affordability and the availability of the general housing market … I think it will help in reducing the homeless problem,” said William Yu, the UCLA economist who conducted the research.

      1. There is a lot of confusion and conflation of terms here. Yes, absolutely cost of housing does cause people to lose their homes. But the “Homeless” problem in California has more to do with squatters occupying public land and establishing de facto homes with tarps and cardboard boxes. Once this has happened, the legal system has no ability to clear those people out, and is responsible for treating their box like a straight up house with all the services afforded to it. It is absolutely insane.

        People lose their houses due to high rent. They become “Homeless” when a state with great weather creates legal protections that allow them to stay indefinitely.

        1. Wrong. The study examined cities across the country, with all kinds of laws and weather conditions. Make sure you read a study before you comment on it.

      2. The country takes in over a million new, legal immigrants a year, with about an equal number of illegal ones. With little, to no requirement that they can support themselves.
        They’re not the ones living on the streets.
        A lack of “affordable” housing isn’t the problem.
        Despite what some egghead at a college might say.

    2. I’ve long suspected that the existence of innumerable agencies, bureaus, departments, charities and activist NGOs, all providing comfy white-collar jobs to innumerable people with political science and sociology degrees might have some impact.

      IOW, there exists a large number of well-connected people whose interest lies in INCREASING the amount of homelessness. That this has to be done while simultaneously presenting a desire to decrease homelessness seems to present little obstacle to them.


  13. An additional $695 million will be used to boost preventative health care measures for the homeless

    So, lighting money on fire then? Talk about the wrong group to apply preventative healthcare to. Their risk factors are current, not the future.

    1. Yeah, when someone is using used needles to shoot black market heroin and shitting on the sidewalk I don’t know that making sure they get their flu shot is really going to make much of a difference.

  14. I’ve said all I can say about blue, left coast City homelessness. I’m right, they’re wrong, I’ll now sit back, smoke my cigar and sip my suntory… And watch them continue to be wrong while they spend my money and pay themselves lavish six figure salaries.

    1. California is a net contributor to the federal budget.

      1. “California is a net contributor to the federal budget.”

        A cherry picked statistic as to what California “gets” from the federal budget.
        With a full third of the nation’s welfare recipients living there, that canard is hard to substantiate.

  15. So Gavin Newsom’s solution for California’s homelessness is to throw another billion dollars at it but with California already so heavily taxes where is he planning on getting that billion? Oh I know! He plans getting that billion dollars form the rest of the taxpayers of the US! Then get rid of SaLT tax deduction from federal taxes then where will he get it?

    1. Please re-write another draft, that was bordering on totally incoherent.

  16. There are about 800,000 illegal immigrants in the LA area. They have to hide from the law, most speak poor or no English, and most have about a 6th grade education.
    They don’t live on the streets.
    It is almost entirely a drug problem.

  17. I’m surprised Governor Nuisance hasn’t proposed the Dr. Zhivago solution. House the homeless with the homefull.

    1. Absolutely! Any registered Democrat with a house larger than 2,000 sq. ft. will be required to give room and board to one homeless person for every additional 500 sq. ft. That goes for Silicon Valley, Beverly Hills, Marin County and the like, too.

      1. Same solution for “undocumented” immigrants. Libby “Crazy Eyes” Schaff could take a couple dozen under her wing.

  18. The underlying problem is the 9th circuit ruled they can’t kick people off public property. Now in SF because they aren’t prosecuting crimes I’d beat the shit out of them and steal all their stuff.

  19. De Oppressor and Pete Van Nuys have both hit the nail on the head.
    Since these people are mentally ill drug addicts who refuse social services, you could give each one of them a private mansion for free and it would not solve the problem.
    In a week the mansion would be destroyed and they would be right back at the local park.
    They need to be involuntarily committed to a place that will provide humane care for them.
    I do like the sarcastic idea that the state should force homeowners to quarter them.
    Nancy Pelosi could take a dozen!

  20. California is home to almost half of America’s homeless population, and the median price for a house there is more than twice the national level. Fixing that problem means building more houses

    Homelessness in California is largely unrelated to housing prices or the number of homes being built.

    1. Houses are expensive in the state, especially near the coast. Somehow the 800,000 undocumented immigrants in the LA metropolitan area manage to stay off of the streets anyway. If a foreigner speaking poor English and having a bad education can find somewhere to live off the sidewalks, why can’t the US born do so as well? Some are crazy, perhaps as many as 20%, but the rest are drug addicts.
      The problem is addiction. Address the real problem, or your money and efforts will be wasted.

      1. why the fuck do you idiots call the invaders “undocumented”. They are ILLEGAL immigrants.

        1. P.C. runs rampant – but I like how you just call it like it is — INVADERS.

  21. He’s not throwing another billion dollars at the homeless problem. He’s throwing maybe fifty million dollars at it. The rest will be absorbed by the State Government bureaucracy to pay the Public Sector Union employees that vote for him.

    1. Yes. The purpose of massive government spending is not to “cure” a problem. It is to institutionalize the problem and employ lots of staff, fund contracts, and maintain the issue for political points.

      1. The $700,000 homeless units built by LA are a good illustration of why the government solutions to most problems are only a government solution to finding more jobs in government.

    2. ^ This.
      Every time they come up with another “initiative” to “help the homeless”, most of the money is patronage. It provides jobs to politicos’ relatives, friends and children with social science degrees.

  22. ‘Gee, we keep paying bums to come here, and all we get is more of them!
    How can that possibly be happening?’

  23. It would be cheaper to give them bus tickets to Omaha.

  24. CA is home for the Democratic voter (i.e. The [WE] party Utopia)
    California is home to almost half of America’s homeless population..

    [WE] Democrats have so much heart its bursting at the tent seams!!! We are members of the [WE] foundation and we are here to help you into the worst possible situation imaginable all the while pretending to care.

  25. Nothing smells like success by creating a larger Bureaucracy.

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