Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
California Voters May Consider Mandate to End Homelessness
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 5 years ago on
January 14, 2020

Share

SACRAMENTO — An advisory council appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom called Monday for California voters to consider a legally enforceable mandate to end homelessness, as the state grapples with one of its most pressing and politically fraught problems.

“We can no longer make homelessness or alleviating homelessness an option. People are angry, and understandably so. People are suffering. This can no longer be optional.” — Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
Newsom notably did not adopt the council’s recommendation when he outlined his own $1 billion homelessness plan to lawmakers last week, and said the proposal leaves many questions including its cost.
The group wants state lawmakers to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot giving state and local governments one year to find solutions.
After that, an as yet unnamed public prosecutor could ask a judge to require any lagging jurisdiction, from state government on down, “to do whatever it takes to meet the aggressive but reasonable timelines” required to end homelessness, said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, the advisory council’s co-chairman.
“We can no longer make homelessness or alleviating homelessness an option,” Steinberg said. “People are angry, and understandably so. People are suffering. This can no longer be optional.”
Newsom said he had broadly encouraged the debate, which he expects to continue in the Legislature controlled by his fellow Democrats in coming months. He also endorsed putting more expectations and obligations on cities and counties to find housing and services for the state’s estimated 151,000 homeless, who together account for more than a quarter of the nation’s total.

‘This Is Tough Stuff, This Is Complicated’

“The question is, how do you do it?” Newsom said after visiting the Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) project in Nevada County to kick off a week-long, statewide tour promoting his homelessness plan.
“I am not naive,” the governor added. “This is not black and white, this is tough stuff, this is complicated.”
Newsom said he wants to test whether and how a smaller number of cities and counties can alleviate homelessness in coming months “to prove we can do this in the appropriate and right way.” The issue of cost and who would pay for such a mandate “also has to be addressed … before we go statewide.”
It would take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature by late June to put the measure on the ballot.
Graham Knaus, executive director of the California State Association of Counties, called homelessness “the crisis of our time” and agreed that more must be done. However, he said, “a legally enforceable mandate can only work with clarity of who’s obligated to do what and what new sustainable resources will fund it.”
The League of California Cities also emphasized its potential cost.

Photo of Gov. Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom, answering questions on his 2020-21 state budget on January 10, 2020, told reporters: ““You want to know who’s the homeless czar? I’m the homeless czar in the state of California.” (CalMatters/Anne Wernikoff)

‘We Can No Longer Think of What We Do in This Area as Voluntary’

“Any workable solutions will require additional resources, including from the state and federal governments, and flexibility to address homelessness in a way that considers the diverse nature of all of our communities,” spokeswoman Jill Oviatt said in a statement.

“Any workable solutions will require additional resources, including from the state and federal governments, and flexibility to address homelessness in a way that considers the diverse nature of all of our communities.” — spokeswoman Jill Oviatt
Steinberg said the advisory panel did not lead with a request for more money because “we are focused on a legally enforceable imperative to bring the people home. That will make the case for more money.”
The proposal is not the “right to shelter” sought by some advocates and would not create an individual right but a government responsibility, Steinberg said.
Assemblyman David Chiu, a Democrat from San Francisco who chairs the Assembly’s housing committee, said he is “very open to that idea.”
“I think given the intensity of the homelessness crisis, we can no longer think of what we do in this area as voluntary,” Chiu said. “We have to act and we need to ensure that every county and city in the state are held accountable.”
Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who heads the Senate Housing Committee, said the state needs stronger tools to get people off the streets, but “we also need to remember that the root cause of homelessness is our severe housing shortage.”

His Plan This Year Builds on $1 Billion in Spending

The committee’s vice chairman, Sen. Mike Morrell, a Republican from Rancho Cucamonga, said the real issue is that “California is unaffordable.”
“ Suing cities and seizing local control won’t fix that problem,” Morrell said. “The homeless issue can’t be meaningfully addressed if the state’s priorities are primed to make the situation even worse.”
The debate came as Newsom began a week-long statewide tour promoting his $1 billion effort to address the growing homeless crisis. Additional stops are to include a Southern California suburban area, Los Angeles County, the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.
His plan this year builds on $1 billion in spending he sought a year ago. Conservative critics have said the state also should streamline its strict environmental protections to speed up housing construction and address transients who may be resistant to help because of mental illness or drug addiction, perhaps by expanding involuntary treatment.
Newsom dismissed the idea that there is a widespread refusal to accept help if it is offered without barriers.
“I think that’s bunk,” he said. “The vast majority of people … will jump at the opportunity not to live out in the elements.”

DON'T MISS

Young Republicans on Why Their Party Isn’t Reaching Gen Z (And What They Can Do About It)

DON'T MISS

JD Vance Puts the Con in Conservatism

DON'T MISS

UC Merced Finally Annexed Into City Limits After Two Decades

DON'T MISS

Donors Challenged Fresno Pacific to Match Their $1.5M Gift. Was the Goal Reached?

DON'T MISS

Garlic, Curry, Fresh Corn – Would You Scream for This Ice Cream?

DON'T MISS

Meet Po: A Gentle Superhero Looking for a Home

DON'T MISS

Largest Housing Provider for Migrant Children Engaged in Pervasive Sexual Abuse, US Says

DON'T MISS

25 Million Watched Trump’s Speech at the RNC on Thursday

DON'T MISS

City Wants Hard Reset on Art Hop. Don’t Expect Food Trucks or Vendors in August.

DON'T MISS

More Victims Come Forward in Dinuba Sex Assault Case

UP NEXT

911 Systems Disrupted in at Least 3 States

UP NEXT

Mourners Gather for Funeral of Man Slain at Trump Rally in Pennsylvania

UP NEXT

Long Beach Breaks Ground on $1.5B Railyard Expansion at Port to Fortify US Supply Chain

UP NEXT

University of California Regents Ban Political Statements on University Online Homepages

UP NEXT

Widespread Technology Outage Disrupts Flights, Banks, Media Outlets and Companies Around the World

UP NEXT

If Californians Vote to Ban Slavery This Fall, Will Prisoners Get a Raise?

UP NEXT

California Helped GOP Take Control of the House in 2022. Biden’s Decision Could Swing Districts in 2024.

UP NEXT

Founder of Fandango Dies After Plunge From Manhattan Hotel

UP NEXT

CA Mom Pleads Guilty to Masterminding $8 Million Makeup Theft Ring From Her Mansion

UP NEXT

California Sent a Mentally Ill Man to a State Hospital. Then It Charged Him $760,000

Donors Challenged Fresno Pacific to Match Their $1.5M Gift. Was the Goal Reached?

13 hours ago

Garlic, Curry, Fresh Corn – Would You Scream for This Ice Cream?

13 hours ago

Meet Po: A Gentle Superhero Looking for a Home

13 hours ago

Largest Housing Provider for Migrant Children Engaged in Pervasive Sexual Abuse, US Says

1 day ago

25 Million Watched Trump’s Speech at the RNC on Thursday

1 day ago

City Wants Hard Reset on Art Hop. Don’t Expect Food Trucks or Vendors in August.

1 day ago

More Victims Come Forward in Dinuba Sex Assault Case

1 day ago

‘Twisters’ Is the Long-Awaited Sequel to ‘Twister.’ Where to See It in Fresno.

1 day ago

Fresno Offers Free Movie Tickets for Seniors to Beat the Heat

1 day ago

Mexican President Calls Donald Trump ‘a Friend’ and Says He’ll Warn Him Against Closing Border

1 day ago

Young Republicans on Why Their Party Isn’t Reaching Gen Z (And What They Can Do About It)

Polls show that two-thirds of voters aged 18-24 say they don’t identify with the G.O.P. We asked young Republicans why. – By The New Y...

6 hours ago

Photo of President Donald Trump
6 hours ago

Young Republicans on Why Their Party Isn’t Reaching Gen Z (And What They Can Do About It)

8 hours ago

JD Vance Puts the Con in Conservatism

10 hours ago

UC Merced Finally Annexed Into City Limits After Two Decades

13 hours ago

Donors Challenged Fresno Pacific to Match Their $1.5M Gift. Was the Goal Reached?

13 hours ago

Garlic, Curry, Fresh Corn – Would You Scream for This Ice Cream?

13 hours ago

Meet Po: A Gentle Superhero Looking for a Home

1 day ago

Largest Housing Provider for Migrant Children Engaged in Pervasive Sexual Abuse, US Says

1 day ago

25 Million Watched Trump’s Speech at the RNC on Thursday

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend