Solving California’s Homelessness: Funding and Programs
California’s homelessness crisis is one of the most pressing issues facing the state today, with 30% of the country’s homeless population and 50% of those who sleep outside as opposed to in shelters or temporary housing. Governor Gavin Newsom has made addressing homelessness his top priority and has invested in programs to prevent and reduce homelessness like no governor before him.
The Homekey Program
One of Governor Newsom’s efforts to combat homelessness is the Homekey program. This program aims to buy and convert hotels, motels and apartment buildings into housing for homeless people. This is a smart way to add affordable housing faster than building from the ground up.
Funding for Homelessness Programs
Governor Newsom’s budget proposal for the 2023-24 fiscal year contains $3.4 billion in homelessness funding. However, several nonprofit organizations that work on issues of housing and homelessness have said that this amount is not enough. The Corporation for Supportive Housing put out a report last month estimating that the state needed to invest $8.1 billion a year over 12 years to solve homelessness in California.
The League of California Cities also wrote a letter to the governor asking for “a permanent funding stream of $3 billion annually to help cities keep Californians in their homes and prevent more Californians from having to live on the street, under bridges, or in their cars.”
Accountability and Long-term Solutions
While housing advocates and local governments want more funding, Governor Newsom has expressed concern that homelessness has increased and encampments have proliferated even as the money invested goes up. He’s right to demand accountability from cities and counties to use this money effectively. Furthermore, this funding should be consistent and allow cities and counties to plan for the long-term rather than just year-to-year.
In conclusion, addressing California’s homelessness crisis will require significant funding and a long-term commitment. While Governor Newsom’s efforts so far have been commendable, more funding will be necessary to truly make a dent in this issue. Programs like the Homekey program are effective, but they require a consistent and significant funding stream to achieve their full potential.
- “Editorial: Yes, it really will take billions of dollars a year to solve homelessness in California,” Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2023.
- “A State Plan to End Homelessness,” Corporation for Supportive Housing, December 2022.
- “Letter to Governor Newsom,” League of California Cities, December 2022.
Wealth and Poverty in Equatorial Guinea: The Role of Corruption
Homelessness is a major issue in Equatorial Guinea despite the country’s newfound wealth from oil production. Approximately 44% of Equatorial Guinea’s population of 1.3 million live below the poverty line and homelessness continues to be an issue. A corrupt and unjust government is thought to be a contributing factor to issues like poverty and homelessness in Equatorial Guinea going unaddressed.
Wealth in Equatorial Guinea
Oil reserves were discovered in 1996 off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, a country previously regarded as relatively poor. This discovery led to rapid economic growth within the country, as Equatorial Guinea quickly became a force in oil production. However, conditions for the general public in this African country have yet to mirror its success.
Despite the development in Equatorial Guinea as a result of its increasing position of wealth, the country has lacked progression in terms of social development. As of 2015, over 50% of Equatorial Guinea’s population did not have access to a reliable source of drinking water. Additionally, the risk of developing diseases such as typhoid fever, malaria and HIV is extremely high.
Many government officials in Equatorial Guinea have amassed great wealth during the country’s oil boom. Many experts believe these officials have potentially illegally taken from public oil revenue, causing a series of money laundering investigations that support suggestions of corruption. The current president of Equatorial Guinea, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, has remained president for over 40 years, suggesting a dictatorship rather than a republic. Furthermore, President Obiang enforces various means in which he prevents any opposition to his power, including media censorship.
Corruption and Homelessness in Equatorial Guinea
As described above, the living conditions in Equatorial Guinea for those not associated with the country’s government in power, are relatively poor. Many live in poverty and without water. In addition to this, Equatorial Guinea’s government has exerted power that has also impacted access to shelter for poorer citizens, resulting in homelessness in Equatorial Guinea. Examples of this include forced eviction of families without notice or temporary housing options.
The correlation between corruption and homelessness in Equatorial Guinea is clear. The government’s illegal use of public funds and unethical practices have directly led to poor living conditions and homelessness for the majority of the population. It is crucial for the government to address and combat corruption in order to alleviate poverty and homelessness in Equatorial Guinea.
- “Homelessness in Equatorial Guinea: A Result of Corruption,” Staff Reports, August 16, 2020.
- “Equatorial Guinea: Overview,” World Bank.
- “Equatorial Guinea: Most censored countries,” Committee to Protect Journalists, September 2019.
Five Political Decisions that Fueled LA’s Homelessness Crisis
The homelessness crisis in Los Angeles is not a new phenomenon, but rather a result of political decisions made by elected leaders on the state and local levels. Over the years, there have been a number of decisions that have fueled the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. This article highlights five of the most notable decisions that have contributed to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.
One and Two
The Passage of the Ellis Act and the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act: A significant factor in the worsening homelessness crisis has been a decades-long assault by state politicians on existing affordable housing, which has severely impacted Los Angeles residents. The Ellis Act, passed in 1985, has allowed landlords to evict tenants in rent-controlled buildings and turn their properties into luxury housing, such as condos or boutique hotels.
This has resulted in the loss of 28,013 rent-controlled units in Los Angeles between 2001 and 2022. The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, passed in 1995, placed statewide restrictions on rent control and allowed landlords to charge market-rate rent after a tenant moved out of a rent-controlled unit. This has also resulted in the loss of affordable housing in Los Angeles and an increase in homelessness.
The Demise of Single-Room Occupancy Hotels: Single-room occupancy hotels (SROs) have long provided affordable housing for poor and working-class residents in Los Angeles. However, over the years, politicians have allowed landlords to empty SROs and keep them vacant or convert them for other uses, such as a boutique hotel or a market-rate apartment building. This has resulted in the loss of 3,868 SRO units in 25 buildings in the Downtown L.A. area, which are now sitting vacant or have been converted.
The Failure to Address the Affordable Housing Shortage: Over the years, elected officials have failed to address the affordable housing shortage in Los Angeles. This has led to skyrocketing rents and declining incomes, making housing unaffordable for almost half of middle-income renters and nearly all those who are poor. This, in turn, has exacerbated the epidemic of homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles.
The Lack of Support for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment: Another contributing factor to the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles is the lack of support for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Many unhoused residents in Los Angeles suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues, yet they do not have access to the necessary treatment and support. This has led to a cycle of homelessness, as these individuals are unable to secure and maintain stable housing.
The homelessness crisis in Los Angeles is a result of political decisions made by elected leaders on the state and local levels. These decisions, such as the passage of the Ellis Act and the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, the demise of Single-Room Occupancy Hotels, the failure to address the affordable housing shortage, and the lack of support for mental health and substance abuse treatment, have all contributed to the worsening of the crisis. To truly address and solve the homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, it is important to recognize and address the root causes and to take immediate action to provide affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and support for the unhoused population.
Mission: End Veteran Homelessness in San Diego
San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher has announced a plan to end veterans homelessness in the county. Fletcher, a former Marine, stated that the federal government has made more resources available to help local jurisdictions keep veterans off the street. The plan includes a new county task force and landlord incentives to take in veterans, among other efforts.
Creating a Task Force
Fletcher announced that he will introduce a policy to the Board of Supervisors next month to create a task force of leaders from different county departments to determine what existing and additional resources are necessary to end veteran homelessness locally. The task force will be responsible for convening leaders to work on the issue and returning with a plan to end veteran homelessness countywide within three months.
The “Built for Zero” Initiative
The San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness has already adopted a “Built for Zero” initiative in 2021 to end veteran homelessness. This initiative is already in motion and focuses on ending veteran homelessness, which has been successful nationwide in the past several years. The homeless veterans population has dropped by 55.3 percent since 2010 and dropped another 11 percent between 2020 and 2022, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Fletcher noted that the Biden administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs have provided new resources to help homeless veterans, making the goal of ending local homelessness that much more attainable. Among the new federal resources, HUD is using American Rescue Plan funds to increase the supply of affordable housing, including for veterans. HUD and the VA also are engaging landlords and affordable housing developers, identifying ways to improve veteran access to new affordable units and supporting state and local collaboration to finance and create affordable housing.
The San Diego Housing Commission already has a program to offer incentives for landlords to accept Section 8 housing vouchers in the city of San Diego. Fletcher proposes making a countywide campaign for landlords to accept Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers to provide housing for homeless veterans. This would be a significant step in providing veterans with affordable housing options and preventing them from falling into homelessness.
Preventing Homelessness After Jail Release
Fletcher also announced that he has spoken with Sheriff Kelly Martinez about instituting programs to help prevent veterans from falling into homelessness after being released from jail. A similar program already exists in the Vista Detention Facility, he said. This would help veterans who may be at risk of becoming homeless after being released from jail.
In conclusion, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher has announced a plan to end veterans homelessness in the county. The plan includes a new county task force and landlord incentives to take in veterans, among other efforts. Fletcher stated that the federal government has made more resources available to help local jurisdictions keep veterans off the street. The “Built for Zero” initiative, federal resources, and landlord incentives would be significant steps in providing veterans with affordable housing options and preventing them from falling into homelessness.