CA Spending on Homeless is Never Enough

From the LA Times – Special Report on Homeless

In a few weeks, Los Angeles is expected to report an increase in homelessness — the latest in a string of similarly dire reports from cities and counties across California.

The pressure is on to find ways to get more people indoors quickly and to prevent others from becoming homeless in the first place. To that end, Gov. Gavin Newsom this week announced the leaders of a new statewide homelessness task force.

Newsom also recently sent California lawmakers a revised budget that would provide cities and counties with a one-time infusion of $650 million to open emergency shelters, provide rental assistance to struggling tenants and underwrite the construction of permanent housing, among other uses. Of that funding, $275 million of it would go directly to 13 of California’s largest cities, most of it to Los Angeles.

But if the past is any indication of the future, the millions of dollars — even with a task force to coordinate solutions — probably wouldn’t make much of an immediate dent in the status quo of homelessness.

Last year, for example, former Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that provided a similar one-time injection of $500 million under to fight the explosion of homelessness under the Homeless Emergency Aid Program. The state’s 11 largest cities received $150 million of that and their mayors — with L.A.’s Mayor Eric Garcetti front and center — were the ones lobbying the Legislature for it.

For San Jose, $4 million of the $11.3 million the city received was spent on rental subsidies to 400 households. In Sacramento, which received about $6 million, the city put a sizable portion toward a new, 100-bed homeless shelter. Anaheim was able to put the money toward a shelter for 224 people. The funding proved particularly useful for this Orange County city, which was forced to provide 325 shelter beds after a group of homeless residents sued.

Yet, homelessness is still on the rise. (Not surprisingly, since we’ve created a huge magnet for bums and druggies)

Some state-funded projects and programs have been slow to show results by the standards of a frustrated public. And housing in California has become so expensive that it has been hard to feel the impact of the spending because, in many places, people are falling into homelessness as fast as people on the streets can be housed.

In Los Angeles, a recent county report found that 27,000 homeless people had been placed into permanent housing in 18 months. But a renter needs to make $47.52 per hour, which is more than triple the minimum wage, to pay the median monthly rent of $2,471, according to another report by the California Housing Partnership.

In Alameda County, where Newsom launched his task force, the most recent point-in-time count revealed a 43% jump in homelessness since 2017. EveryOne Home, the organization that conducted the count, says that every year, about 1,500 people enter permanent housing in the county, while nearly 3,000 people also become homeless for the first time.

Cities are expected to commit at least half their Homeless Emergency Aid Program, or HEAP, funding to projects and programs by the end of the year, and spend it all by June 30, 2021.

A coalition of big-city mayors issued a report in March that found 53% of the funds had been committed to “capital improvements.” Across the state, cities and counties proposed spending 34% of the $500 million on such projects, including new shelters, according to the California Homeless Coordinating Finance Council, which oversees the program.

Another 38% went to services, while 13% has gone to rental assistance or subsidies. But state officials couldn’t say yet exactly how the money had been spent at the local level. That’s partly because they just finished distributing it in April.

State lawmakers also deliberately created the block-grant program with few strings attached. All cities had to do was declare a shelter emergency and demonstrate “a local collaborative process was conducted prior to application submission.”

Many cities and counties had existing strategic plans to fight homelessness, but didn’t have the money to fully implement them. So when the HEAP money was announced, it was easy to use. Many did what Sacramento did, where officials covered spending holes on capital improvement projects to finish them sooner.

Mayors welcomed the freedom.

“I think it’s critically important that the state have high standards and accountability for outcomes,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, “but that doesn’t suggest a need to micromanage how the dollars are used.”

The lack of a coordinated plan has frustrated some advocates for the homeless, though. They would’ve liked the state to tie the money to programs and ideas that have a proven track record of working.

“If the state is going to do anything on homelessness, we need to drive best practices,” said Christopher Martin, a legislative advocate at Housing California. “We don’t know what that money went for, and that’s really concerning because we’re giving money to jurisdictions and just trusting they’re doing the right thing.”

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who chairs Newsom’s task force with Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, said most experts agree that more housing coupled with intensive outreach is the only solution to homelessness. But the HEAP money has been a useful tool in finding shorter-term fixes.

“There has not been nearly enough emphasis, in my opinion, statewide — until now — on actually getting people off the streets,” Steinberg said. “We can’t just wait for all the housing solutions to come to fruition before we get people off the streets.”

la-1558648973-8msiootpy8-snap-image

A pedestrian walks past the entrance to a former MTA facility on Sunset Avenue in Venice, a proposed location for a homeless shelter that has been strongly opposed by some nearby residents.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

As the largest city in California, Los Angeles received the largest share of the HEAP funding, with $85 million going into its coffers. The city hasn’t been able to spend the money as fast as it came in, though.

In April 2018, Garcetti committed to building temporary homeless shelters in each of L.A.’s 15 council districts. At the time, $30 million was committed from the city’s coffers to his “A Bridge Home” program and L.A. was able to augment that with about $50 million from the state, so far.

But through March of this year, just $2.8 million — or about 2.7% — has actually been spent, according to city documents. The challenges of building in Los Angeles along with opposition from residents in some neighborhoods, including Venice, have slowed the process.

Only three shelters have opened so far — one recently. The city is seeking to use some of the state funds to help cover higher-than-expected construction costs and pay to run several shelters, which weren’t totally covered by Measure H, the 2017 sales tax hike. The city has also set aside $20 million of the state money for projects on skid row.

Despite the slow rollout of HEAP money, which the city received in mid-November 2018, Deputy Mayor Christina Miller said that more than half had been obligated nine months before the deadline to do so. She said that while she and the mayor are impatient to see results, the fact that the city had a preexisting plan helped the city figure out what to do with the money fast.

“When the applications came down the pipe, no one was sitting around wondering what to do,” she said. “The ability for this grant to be as flexible as it was was a real game changer. We never had flexibility like this from [the] state.”

benjamin.oreskes@latimes.com

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18 Responses to CA Spending on Homeless is Never Enough

  1. Peggy says:

    Wonder how many homeless now wouldn’t be on the streets if Moonbeam hadn’t pocketed the money intended to help them. Will Newsom do what the lawsuit required? I doubt it. Too many illegals to give free healthcare to.

    California misspent $330 million that should have helped homeowners, court holds:

    “California must use money it obtained from banks through a lawsuit over unfair mortgage practices to help homeowners after the state’s highest court rejected arguments from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration that it could use the money for other purposes?

    The state secured the money in 2012 as part of a nationwide settlement with Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial.

    California as a whole received $18 billion as part of the settlement, according to Bee archives. Much of that money went directly to homeowners.

    State government received $410 million and set aside $331 million for programs to help homeowners with legal assistance and consumer education. But Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature instead used most of the money to pay off state debts from housing bonds.”

    https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article232847737.html?fbclid=IwAR2RtHxYev0Uvl91v-kY_oasbSvebBkOalOs9MfgBEnauBD3jVnz0ZFGW8g

  2. J Soden says:

    “We don’t know what that money went for, and that’s really concerning because we’re giving money to jurisdictions and just trusting they’re doing the right thing.”

    That says it all! Politicians will now sprain their shoulders patting themselves on the back and claiming they’re “helping” the homeless when all those taxpayer $$ might as well be spent flushing them down the sewer.

  3. J Soden says:

    And in other good news . . . .tics/2019/07/19/judge-to-slash-planned-parenthood-lawsuit-against-undercover-baby-parts-videos/

  4. Peggy says:

    Off topic.

    Found this article today written three years ago. Found the content interesting for its historic facts, but found the last paragraph even more interesting because of today’s political atmosphere.

    The Secret Racist History of the Democratic Party:

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/05/the_secret_racist_history_of_the_democratic_party.html#ixzz5uSpgkQVz

    • Peggy says:

      Another really good article about our civil rights history.

      The ugly history of Democratic suppression of blacks:

      https://www.wnd.com/2016/07/the-ugly-history-of-democratic-suppression-of-blacks/#vPap5XjDsjsuLeFP.99

      • Chris says:

        Do I even need to do this one? Fine:

        Based on reviews by all of our researchers, WND is a Questionable online news source that has a far right bias and dabbles in right wing conspiracies such as President Obama’s birth certificate. They also use misleading clickbait headlines that do not always match the content of the article (See M. Allen’s review below). WND also has a very poor track record with fact checkers:

        “California To Register Illegal Aliens To Vote – Automatically.” – Pants on Fire
        “A U.S. Government Accountability Office report says Planned Parenthood Federation of America cannot find some $1.3 billion given to it by the federal government from 2002 through 2008.” – Pants on fire
        White House spokesman Robert Gibbs “lied” when he said President Obama’s birth certificate is posted on the Internet. – False
        Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya vowed to “drown the United States in Muslims” and is “importing them to Idaho 300 at a time to work in his factory.” – Mostly False
        Elena Kagan Tied to Obama’s Birth Certificate – False

        https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/world-net-daily-wnd/

        But sure, it’s Libby and I who believe fake news. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

    • Chris says:

      There is nothing “secret” about it. Every eighth grader at the school I teach at is taught that Abraham Lincoln was the leader of the Republican Party and his opposition was Democrats who were terrified he would abolish slavery. If this wasn’t in your textbooks growing up, those were probably dictated out of Texas and left out the fact that preserving slavery was the Confederacy’s primary goal in order to go easy on the South, not on modern-day Democrats.

      Who is more likely to fly a Confederate flag today? A Republican, or a Democrat? Was it the “alt-left” that protested tearing down a Confederate statue in Charlottesville? Was it a Democratic president who said they had some good points? Do Democrats currently run the South, or is it now Republicans? What changed? Did Democrats just get slapped down by the Supreme Court for trying to manipulate the census under a false premise when their real goal was to increase the power of white voters? Or was that Republicans?

      It takes a lot of gall to pretend that Democrats are the party of racism while your standard-bearer presided over chants of “Send her back” directed at a black woman who followed the American Dream all the way to Congress, but if you’re the kind of person who trusts birther websites like the American Thinker and World Net Daily while accusing others of believing “fake news,” that’s just the kind of cognitive dissonance you are used to tuning out. Try a real historian next time. No, Dinesh doesn’t count.

      • Peggy says:

        Just because you don’t like the source I use doesn’t mean most of the facts presented aren’t true.

        You can’t deny that: slavery was supported in the south by democrats, a civil war was fought by primarily the republican north and won to set the slaves free, Jim Crow laws were written by democrats to keep blacks and whites seperated and deny them the right to vote, the KKK was the military arm of the DNC and the birth place of White Supremacy groups.

        Rewriting our history is just something democrats have done and you’re doing it today. Accusing Trump of being a racist because he said something he’d say to any colored man and woman is not proof he’s racist, it’s proof he’s an equal offender. Why don’t you look up all of the awards he was given by black groups before he became president and ask yourself why he became a racist the day he announced he was running. Continuing to deny you and your party are the real racist and always have been just shows your lack of common sense, critical thinking skills and should not be in a roll of teaching our nation’s future leaders.

        “In the former Confederacy and neighboring states, local governments constructed a legal system aimed at re-establishing a society based on white supremacy. African American men were largely barred from voting. Legislation known as Jim Crow laws separated people of color from whites in schools, housing, jobs, and public gathering places.”
        https://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/1-segregated/white-only-1.html

        “Black codes were strict laws detailing when, where and how freed slaves could work, and for how much compensation. The codes appeared throughout the South as a legal way to put black citizens into indentured servitude, to take voting rights away, to control where they lived and how they traveled and to seize children for labor purposes.”
        https://www.history.com/topics/early-20th-century-us/jim-crow-laws

        “Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States.[1] All were enacted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by white far-right Democratic-dominated state legislatures after the Reconstruction period.[2] The laws were enforced until 1965.[3″

        … ” The U.S. military was already segregated. President Woodrow Wilson, a Southern Democrat, initiated segregation of federal workplaces in 1913.[7]” …

        … “During the Reconstruction period of 1865–1877, federal laws provided civil rights protections in the U.S. South for freedmen, the African Americans who had formerly been slaves, and the minority of blacks who had been free before the war. In the 1870s, Democrats gradually regained power in the Southern legislatures,[11] having used insurgent paramilitary groups, such as the White League and the Red Shirts, to disrupt Republican organizing, run Republican officeholders out of town, and intimidate blacks to suppress their voting.[12] ”

        … “In 1877, a national Democratic Party compromise to gain Southern support in the presidential election (a corrupt bargain) resulted in the government’s withdrawing the last of the federal troops from the South. White Democrats had regained political power in every Southern state.[13] These Southern, white, Democratic Redeemer governments legislated Jim Crow laws, officially segregating black people from the white population.”

        Note Chris this is biased left-leaning Wikipedia.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws

        I could go on and on filling this with links to back up the facts about the Democrat’s party involvement in black suppression, from the beginning, but I’ll leave that up to you. As a teacher of young minds you owe them the truth and to do your own research.

        • Peggy says:

          Above should read, “Accusing Trump of being a racist because he said something he’d say to any man and woman is not proof he’s racist,”

        • Chris says:

          You can’t deny that: slavery was supported in the south by democrats, a civil war was fought by primarily the republican north and won to set the slaves free, Jim Crow laws were written by democrats to keep blacks and whites seperated and deny them the right to vote, the KKK was the military arm of the DNC and the birth place of White Supremacy groups.

          No one has ever denied this.

          What you deny is all history past the 1960s, which is why you refused to answer every question I asked you in this paragraph:

          Who is more likely to fly a Confederate flag today? A Republican, or a Democrat? Was it the “alt-left” that protested tearing down a Confederate statue in Charlottesville? Was it a Democratic president who said they had some good points? Do Democrats currently run the South, or is it now Republicans? What changed? Did Democrats just get slapped down by the Supreme Court for trying to manipulate the census under a false premise when their real goal was to increase the power of white voters? Or was that Republicans?

          Will you answer these questions now?

          Accusing Trump of being a racist because he said something he’d say to any colored man and woman is not proof he’s racist, it’s proof he’s an equal offender.

          But he does not use the same language against whites and blacks. He does not tell white Americans to “go back where they came from.” And even Fox News’ Chris Wallace pointed out today that Trump only uses words like “infest” and “infestation” to describe poor areas where minorities live–not poor white areas.

          https://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/455049-mulvaney-defends-trumps-infested-remarks-in-grilling-from-chris

          Why don’t you look up all of the awards he was given by black groups before he became president

          K, I looked it up. The first thing I found was a fact check of a false claim that Trump won the Ellis Island Award for his work with the black community. Is this what you were talking about?

          https://www.apnews.com/afs:Content:6348420521

          And, of course, you do not actually believe that being awarded by black groups makes someone not a racist, because you have called Joe Biden a racist. Why do you say things that you don’t really believe?

          and ask yourself why he became a racist the day he announced he was running.

          This is such a tired lie that I am surprised even you would repeat it in 2019. Trump has been called racist for decades. He refused to rent to black people in the 70s. He called for the execution of the Central Park Five after they were exonerated. This was called racist. Birtherism was called racist. All of this was before he announced he was running in his “Mexican Rapists Address,” which was racist. Even if he had never been called racist before he started running for president, he would have still cleared quite a record for racism since: saying that Jeb Bush has to support illegals because his wife is Mexican, saying that a Mexican judge should recuse himself for being Mexican, assuming an Arab Muslim woman “wasn’t allowed to speak,” lying about thousands of Arab Muslims celebrating 9/11 in New Jersey, telling congresswomen who were born here to go back to where they came from, constantly using dehumanizing language against Mexicans, Muslims, and blacks…to say at this point that Trump does not have a problem with race is pure gaslighting, just like your attempts to rewrite history to pretend that the Southern Realignment never happened.

          Continuing to deny you and your party are the real racist and always have been just shows your lack of common sense, critical thinking skills and should not be in a roll of teaching our nation’s future leaders.

          It’s spelled “role,” dear.

          • Peggy says:

            No Chris, I’m not going to answer your questions, again. It would be a waste of my time. You’re not going to believe me any more than I’m going to believe you.

            Also, thanks for pointing out my spelling mistake “Teach.” Would you have done the same to all of the men who post comments here or did you just enjoy making yourself feel like a really big superior man by embarrassing this woman? I do believe there’s a name for men like you. Misogynist.

            12 Ways to Spot a Misogynist:
            https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mysteries-love/201502/12-ways-spot-misogynist

          • Chris says:

            Hilarious! I am just as harsh if not harsher with the male commenters here. You support a president who called Carly Fiorina and Heidi Cruz ugly, who suggested Megyn Kelly asked him a question about his misogyny because she was on her period, who bragged publicly about watching teen girls undress backstage at the Miss Teen USA pageant, who said he didn’t rape multiple women who’ve accused him because none of them were his “type,” who told the entire country to check out another accuser’s sex tape, who has cheated on all of his wives, at least once with a porn star he paid off while lying to the country about ever sleeping with her, and who has made comments about his own daughter’s body that would have gotten him fired and sued were he a low-level employee in any other line of work.

            But I’m a misogynist because you can’t spell.

            No wonder you won’t answer my perfectly relevant questions about your attempts to pretend the parties haven’t changed since the 1800s. You can’t.

        • Chris says:

          Peggy, here’s another fact check of one of your claims. Unlike the fact check you linked me to about the Mueller hearing, this one addresses something you actually said.

          https://www.politifact.com/facebook-fact-checks/statements/2019/may/22/viral-image/donald-trump-has-faced-allegations-racism-decades/

  5. Pie Guevara says:

    Sorry Chris but Democrats still are the party of racism, nevertheless they do some pretty good lip service though. You just turn a blind eye to it. It does not take a lot of gall from you to deny it, just a supreme amount of ignorance and stupidity. Your rhetorical questions “Did Democrats just get slapped down by the Supreme Court for trying to manipulate the census under a false premise when their real goal was to increase the power of white voters? Or was that Republicans?” alone illustrates just how intentionally ignorant and absurd you are. And vile by suggesting that inquiring about citizenship on the census form is somehow racist.

    I do not know even why I should bother with a person as stupid, angry and despicable as you are and have always been. You would be able to answer some of your own questions if you had an open and balanced mind but you do not and never will.

    If your answer to why Republicans “control” the south is “because they appeal to racism” you truly are a consummate ass with the IQ and rational analytical ability of a doorknob.

    Your implications that the Republican Party is the party of white supremacists is stupid and pathetic. You, sir, are a fool.

    • Chris says:

      Nothing in that comment was a rebuttal, Pie. And it wasn’t I who decided that the government was lying about its real reasons for implementing the census question–that was the determination of the United States Supreme Court. If the Trump administration did not lie about their motives because said motives were racist, would you like to provide an alternate theory for why they lied? Because it is a settled fact, as documented by the Supreme Court decision, that they lied.

      https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/18-966_bq7c.pdf

  6. Peggy says:

    Once again Trump was right. Rat problem so bad the internet is filled with residents complaining Cummings hasn’t done anything to fix it. Verified by a documentary.

    Dems aren’t used to dealing with a Republican who fights back. He turns the spotlight back on them. Just ask AOC and Omar.

    Baltimore Rat Infestation Is So Bad They Made A Documentary About It 2 Years Ago:
    https://dailycaller.com/2019/07/28/baltimore-rat-infestation-documentary-trump/?fbclid=IwAR0wMwD6scIyFhy7FrCL9UbaFzKIpXTauE_xwzy0pBLHvO_NvxjsZWJRcN4

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