Amid unchecked illegal immigration and skyrocketing costs for housing and other essentials, cities across California have experienced troubling levels of homelessness over the past several years.
Now, even far-left Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken notice of the problem and is pledging to do something about it.
In a recent press conference, he highlighted a plan to allocate $750 million of the state’s upcoming budget to clean up camps that have popped up statewide to provide homeless individuals with a place to live.
Claiming that his motivation is to “see accountability” in addressing the problem, Newsom added: “People want to see these encampments cleaned up. They’re fed up. People agree — they want to see more accountability for dollars invested.”
Newsom says he cares about immigrants, women, & addicts, but Maricela, a homeless Mexican immigrant & addict in Fresno told me that, because the shelters are full, she's lived on the street, been beaten, and raped. "You have to stay quiet. Nobody helps you. Nobody lifts a finger" pic.twitter.com/7DlYa6Vc6e
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) May 1, 2022
The $750 million sum is just a portion of the more than $15 billion that the Newsom administration plans to spend on an overarching effort to address homelessness and its root causes. If approved, the sum would be divided up among local governments to clear out the homeless camps within their jurisdictions.
With estimates showing that well over 100,000 people living in California are homeless, however, advocates have pushed back against previous efforts to remove such encampments.
As Jennifer Friedenback of the Coalition for Homelessness said in response to a plan in San Francisco last year, homeless individuals “don’t have disappearing powers,” adding: “You can be as tough as you want on people — that’s not going to magically create a house for them.”
Indeed, as San Francisco rental properties now frequently top $3,000 per month for a one-bedroom unit, it is unclear how the Golden State will be able to provide affordable housing for those who are simply priced out of the system.
As for Newsom’s credibility on the issue, many critics have pointed to his 2008 plan that he claimed would eradicate homelessness in San Francisco within a decade.
Serving as the city’s mayor at the time, he said: “We believe fundamentally that food solves hunger, that shelters solves sleep, and that housing solves homelessness — and if we are going to solve the problem of those that are out on the street, that we define as homeless, we better solve the housing problem if we are going to have an impact, that’s why we established this framework as we call it a ‘ten year plan to end chronic homelessness in San Francisco.’”
In reality, however, statistics show that homelessness has actually increased in San Francisco by a staggering 35% since 2011.