Caldwell: California’s flawed assumptions and alarming failures

This is the Platform Gavin Newsom is going to use for his run for the White House.  He will proclaim that he is the only candidate that can spend billions on the homeless, waste that money and get even more homeless at the end of the day.  Newsom will run on a Platform of being a failed Governor—just what the Democrats need.

“—“California provides an alarming example of the failures of Housing First. In 2016, California enacted a law that required that every state dollar spent on homelessness be spent on Housing First programs. 

“From 2015 (the year before the new state policy) to 2019, unsheltered street-level homelessness in California rose 47.1% in just four years. 

“California now boasts almost half of America’s unsheltered street-level homeless population and nearly one in four of America’s overall homeless population, even though it contains only 12% of the U.S. population. Only this year did the state pass a ‘Care Court’ program that may —in a year or two — make it easier to get help for people with serious mental illness. Also, a recent settlement announcement by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights commits L.A. County to more mental health and addiction treatment outreach and beds, not just housing.””

Newsom is proud of his massive failure.

California’s flawed assumptions and alarming failures

by Andy Caldwell, Santa Barbara News-Press,  10/30/22  

I recently interviewed Dr. Robert Marbut, a renowned expert on homelessness and a senior fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty.

Dr. Marbut has a Ph.D. in political behavior and American political institutions, and his career has been marked by bipartisanship having served as a White House fellow under George H. W. Bush, and most recently as the executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness from 2019 to 2021 under both the Trump and Biden administrations. 

The Discovery Institute recently presented Congress its report titled “How Congress Can Reform Government’s Misguided Homeless Policies,” which our local electeds should read as they continue to spend tens of millions of dollars on the problem of homelessness.

Dr. Marbut visited some 65 jurisdictions throughout the United States, and only three of them are dealing with this issue in a comprehensive manner that bodes well for the homeless and the use of billions of American tax dollars. To read the report, please visit www.fixhomelessness.org.  

Here are some key points from the executive summary:

— “The federal policy of Housing First is at the heart of America’s deteriorating homelessness problem. Supported by powerful and self-serving interests, this approach is embraced by many state and local jurisdictions, as well as the White House and Congress. 

“Housing (to repeat) should be part of any homelessness program. But, by insisting that subsidized housing be provided to people experiencing homelessness without time limits or any requirements that individuals participate in wraparound services (such as mental illness clinical services and treatment, substance use disorder treatment, job training, and job retention programs), this approach has become a “housing only” solution in practice. 

“In essence, we have created an enormous federal homelessness assistance program which is functionally equivalent to HUD Section 8 Housing — but with no rules.”

— “The results have been disastrous. The dramatic shift in the trajectory of homelessness numbers correlates with the federal adoption of Housing First. Namely, unsheltered street homelessness rose by more than 20% even as subsidized housing vouchers went up more than 40%.”

—“California provides an alarming example of the failures of Housing First. In 2016, California enacted a law that required that every state dollar spent on homelessness be spent on Housing First programs. 

“From 2015 (the year before the new state policy) to 2019, unsheltered street-level homelessness in California rose 47.1% in just four years. 

“California now boasts almost half of America’s unsheltered street-level homeless population and nearly one in four of America’s overall homeless population, even though it contains only 12% of the U.S. population. Only this year did the state pass a ‘Care Court’ program that may —in a year or two — make it easier to get help for people with serious mental illness. Also, a recent settlement announcement by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights commits L.A. County to more mental health and addiction treatment outreach and beds, not just housing.”

— “Advocates had claimed that shifting to a Housing First approach, with its massive increases in subsidized housing vouchers, would end homelessness in 10 years (i.e., by 2023!). The failure of their prediction is rooted in flawed assumptions about the nature of the crisis, especially the prevalence of untreated mental illness and drug use disorders within the homelessness community. 

“In their 2019 groundbreaking study, the California Policy Lab, a nonpartisan research institute based at the University of California, found that 78% of the unsheltered homelessness population reported having mental health conditions and 50% reported that their mental health conditions contributed to their loss of housing. Additionally, 75% of the unsheltered population reported substance abuse conditions, and 51% reported that the use of drugs or alcohol contributed to their loss of housing.”

 Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

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