Los Angeles Shows Kalifornia (and USA) How Not To Address Homelessness
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Thread: Los Angeles Shows Kalifornia (and USA) How Not To Address Homelessness

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    Default Los Angeles Shows Kalifornia (and USA) How Not To Address Homelessness


    A homeless encampment is seen along Gilmore Street near Van Nuys Boulevard in Van Nuys on June 3, 2019. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)


    Orange County Register - Susan Shelly, Columnist

    The definition of “mistake,” the Merriam-Webster dictionary tells us, is “a wrong judgment; a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention.” All those things describe homelessness policy in California, and you don’t need a dictionary.

    In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti is under fire for his failure to stop the growing plague of homeless encampments that are blocking the sidewalks, spilling trash and spreading rodents and disease.

    The entire City Council and City Attorney Mike Feuer deserve blame as well. It was a mistake to settle two lawsuits brought on behalf of homeless people by agreeing to create a right to sleep on the sidewalks (Jones v. Los Angeles) and to store mounds of personal property on the public right-of-way (Mitchell v. Los Angeles).

    But Garcetti is the particular target of public rage. He pushed for the approval of two tax increases for homeless housing and services in 2016 and 2017, and the problem has only gotten worse. The recent Point in Time Count found that 36,300 people are homeless in the city of Los Angeles, an increase of 16 percent from 2018.

    In 2017, the count was about 34,000, and that was a 20 percent jump from the previous year, when the problem was already disturbing enough that voters approved Measure HHH, a tax increase to build homeless housing.

    Now L.A. Controller Ron Galperin is raising questions about how the city is using, or not using, the $86.4 million in bond funds currently available from HHH. Galperin reported that in fiscal year 2018, only $4.5 million was spent.

    “It has been two-and-a-half years since L.A. voters approved Measure HHH to spend $1.2 billion to create 10,000 supportive housing units,” the controller said in a press release. “While nobody expected these units to be built overnight, at this moment not one HHH project has been completed. And the average total development cost per unit is nearly $520,000.”
    At that price, it would cost L.A. taxpayers almost $19 billion to build an apartment for each of the 36,300 homeless people identified in this year’s Point in Time Count.

    In 2017, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority Executive Director Peter Lynn expressed satisfaction that 14,000 people were placed in housing in L.A. County during the previous year, while acknowledging disappointment that the number of homeless people was rising. Two years and two tax increases later, LAHSA’s latest presentation claims that 21,631 people were placed in homes in 2018 and 27,080 made “other exits” from homelessness, but this success was overwhelmed by the “inflow” of an estimated 54,882 people into homelessness.

    Garcetti also argues that although the problem is getting worse, the policies are a success. He says 7,400 new units of homeless housing are in the pipeline and he’s “adding a team” in his office to “cut red tape” and expedite building approvals for housing paid for by HHH bond revenue.

    You don’t need a degree in mathematics to see that this doesn’t add up. It may be worse than a policy mistake. It’s starting to look like the cynical use of homelessness to advance an agenda of long-held political goals.

    Before Measure HHH and its companion county sales tax hike, Measure H, were approved by desperate voters, the message from politicians was that homelessness was increasing because more revenue was needed. That convinced voters to raise taxes. Now the new message from politicians is that the increase in homelessness is caused by property owners.

    If you own an apartment building, according to this argument, you are to blame for homelessness because you charge rent that people can’t afford to pay. In a new twist, L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin now proposes that if you leave your units vacant and refuse to rent them at all, you should be penalized by the city for withholding housing from the market.
    If you own a home, you are blamed for homelessness because you don’t want homeless shelters, housing or service centers in your neighborhood, and also because you’re resisting efforts to override local zoning and build six-story apartment buildings on your street of single-family homes.

    This furthers a statewide agenda of punitive measures against property owners. If homelessness is caused by the increase in rent-burdened households, politicians offer the “solution” of rent control and other limits on the rights of property owners. They offer legislation like Senate Bill 50, which would override local zoning and allow developers to knock down a single-family home and put up a 12-unit apartment building on the same lot. They offer proposals like Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1, which attacks Proposition 13 and makes it easier to raise property taxes.

    But enacting those measures would be a mistake. Rent control steadily reduces the supply of housing. Single-family zoning protects the biggest investment most families will ever make. Repeatedly raising property taxes can force people out of their own homes.

    The biggest mistake is the message California politicians are sending to voters: If you’ve worked and saved and bought a house or built a business, you’re the problem.

    Merriam-Webster’s might call that “a faulty judgment.”

    Susan Shelley is an editorial writer and columnist for the Southern California News Group. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.

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    Last edited by Stevejet; 06-16-2019 at 10:17 AM.

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    What's wrong with these people, don't they know how to go camping?

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    So the taxpayers of Kaliforina are the reason there are homeless people. That should be reason enough to pack up and get.

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    OMG this is so backwards its bizzaro land. I'm sure Connecticut will be sure to follow its big sister.
    "Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power, have in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny..." - T.Jefferson

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    To paraphrase from Fields of Dreams: If you give enough away, they will come!
    I still think that every rich liberal in SoCal should be required to allow these folks to camp in their fenced in yards, bathe in their pools, and be fed by their personal chefs - all costs coming out of their own pockets.
    "Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience", George Carlin

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    We do not have a housing crisis.

    What we have is a drug addiction problem disguised as a housing problem.

    Until the underlying problem (drug addiction) is addressed nothing will be accomplished.
    gvaldeg1 and Stevejet like this.
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