Cities throughout the state of California saw their homeless populations surge in the last two years. Yet, Democrat politicians try to normalize homelessness, while at the same time, try to make California residents accept epidemic levels of homeless as a standard population component of any city.
Earlier in July, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg called for an enforceable statewide “right to shelter” mandate that would require cities to have enough shelter space or other housing to accommodate their homeless populations. Steinberg made this proclamation only one month after the Volunteers of America homeless shelter lost state and local funding and had to shut down.
Steinberg wants the State of California to require cities to offer the homeless places to stay. But politics are at work here, and somehow VOA fell out of favor.
The Sacramento Bee reported in June, “The nonprofit leaders asked Sacramento County for additional funding in its new budget, but did not receive it.”
California Globe spoke with different non-profits about why this happened, but no one was comfortable assigning blame. The one constant mentioned is always Sacramento County, which was found to be hoarding funds supposed to be used for homeless services. A 2018 State Audit found Sacramento County had stashed $98.4 million in the county’s pot of funds allocated under the state Mental Health Services Act. The Sacramento Bee reported that the county spends about $40 million on all of its homeless services every year. That’s in addition to the $6.5 million that supervisors agreed earlier this year to spend on transitional housing and a new, 75-bed “rehousing” shelter, as well as another $5 million to roust homeless people for camping and dumping trash on the parkway.
California’s homeless epidemic could be solved relatively quickly if politicians had the political will to actually solve it rather than hold roundtable discussions, media events, planning sessions and creating commissions to oversee it.
The California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 101, to require cities to build housing in some areas and “attempts to allow for faster construction of homeless shelters” by scrapping some environmental reviews and making it harder for local officials to delay projects,” CBS reported. Politicians exempt certain favored projects from state-mandated environmental review, when it is politically expedient. “There is a law, and you’ve got to abide by the law,” Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters. “And if you don’t, it’s nice to have a tool to encourage you along. And that’s all this is.”
Remember, Gov. Gavin Newsom sued the Orange County city of Huntington Beach for failing to provide enough additional “affordable housing,” while his own home county of Marin is enjoying a moratorium on affordable housing building requirements until 2028, California Globe reported.
The explosion of California’s drug-addicted and mentally-ill homeless can be directly linked to Democrats’ determination to empty out the jails and prisons through legislation and ballot initiatives, claiming to be for safe neighborhoods and the well-being of our children. Combine that with the outrageous housing prices and high rents, and California is ground zero.
Add in the Homeless Industrial Complex, which has grown exponentially recently, and it becomes evident this is an opportunity for local government to grow, and funnel funding to favored non-profits.
“Every major city in California is spending tens of millions or more on programs for the homeless. But most of the money is being wasted,” Edward Ring wrote at California Globe recently. “Why? Because there is a Homeless Industrial Complex that is getting filthy rich, wasting the money, while the homeless population swells.”
Additionally, city Mayors have required retraining police departments to “engage” with homeless, and connect them with local government services. While police are spending time “engaging” with homeless, they are not able to respond to crime calls.
Here is the Sacramento Police Department’s explanation:
The Sacramento Police Department’s Impact Team provides outreach and engagement services throughout the City of Sacramento. The Impact Team responds to community concerns regarding homelessness and engages with our homeless community members. The Impact team connects them with resources that can provide housing and other services. Additionally, our Impact team collaborates with service providers to help address the underlying causes of homelessness, and multiple options are available to assist each person. Below is a partial list of our partners:
- City of Sacramento’s Homeless Coordinator
- Pathways to Health + Home
- Sacramento Covered
- Sacramento Steps Forward
- Elica Health Centers
- City of Sacramento Department of Public Works
- City of Sacramento Department of Utilities
- Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department
- Sacramento County Park Rangers
- Sacramento City Park Rangers
- Department of Human Assistance
- Union Pacific Railroad
- 311 Service Center
- California Department of Transportation
- California Department of Healthcare Services
- Caltrans Customer Service Request
Pomona is spending $4 million to help Pomona police officers and mental health counselors address homelessness. Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez (D-Chino) squeezed the $4 million in the 2018-19 state budget for the City of Pomona.
Pomona is expected to:
- Provide annual training for officers on interacting with homeless individuals
- Provide full-time homeless liaison officer positions, dedicated solely to homeless outreach efforts
- Provide mental health clinician positions to accompany homeless liaison officers during their work in the field, including one position that can provide assistance around the clock
- Annual reporting requirements and data collection
Making Dangerous Cities Even Worse
“The so-called reforms succeeded in promoting crime by decriminalizing many crimes, and reclassifying violent crimes as ‘non-violent,'” I explained. “Gov. Jerry Brown’s A.B. 109, ‘realigned’ California’s overcrowded prison system, shifting responsibility of repeat, newly classified ‘nonviolent’ offenders from state prisons to county jails. Those released were assigned county probation officers rather than state parole officers. Those newly ‘non-violent’ criminals let out of county jails due to overcrowding are living on the streets, living on our parkways, rivers, and canals, and using the streets as their toilets.”
Assembly Bill 109, Proposition 47, Proposition 57 decriminalized theft, drug crimes, sex crimes, and emptied out California prisons. Proposition 47 also reclassified shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, and writing bad checks as “non-serious, nonviolent crimes,” and any theft valued at $950 or less as a misdemeanor, even if committed every day.
Proposition 57, “The California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative” allows criminals convicted of rape, lewd acts against a child, and human trafficking to be released early from prison. Prop. 57 allows career criminals to be treated as first offenders, and it overturned victims’ rights legislation like Marsy’s Law, “three strikes,” Victim’s Bill of Rights, and the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act.
Making dangerous cities even worse, in 2017 the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 180, entirely on a party-line vote, to limit the ability of law enforcement to send chronic drug abusers back to prison. Judges were already neutered by Prop. 47 in 2014, which removed their ability to sentence drug offenders to drug treatment programs, rather than prison.
Now, California cities are even repealing anti-begging and loitering laws.
And don’t blame the homeless population in California on former Governor Ronald Reagan – he did not close the state’s mental hospitals as the leftist media has incorrectly repeated for 50 years. It was President John F. Kennedy who in his October 31, 1963 legislation -The Community Mental Health Act of 1963 — ordered the building of 1,500 mental health centers, while closing many mental health hospitals over time, known as deinstitutionalization. Governors were just required to execute on the President’s Executive Order, while at the same time, Congress failed to fund the mental health centers.
NOTE: The centers were a total failure because they counted on the mentally ill to seek counselling and keep their appointments. Makes me wonder who was more crazy, them or the people who dreamed up the Community Mental Health Act?