One California Democrat is blaming real estate developers for building high-rise buildings and ignoring the homeless.
Former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Orinda, told at a Capitol hearing, "There's just something immoral about a tent city being silhouetted by 16 cranes building high-rises - the juxtaposition of haves and have-nots.” Perata referred to Los Angeles' Skid Row, a 54-square-block area that is circumscribed by high-rise hotels and buildings. Roughly 2,500 homeless live in the Skid Row area, mostly in tents.
In 2009, the chief federal prosecutor in Sacramento announced that Perata, who had been the target of a five-year-long FBI corruption investigation, would not be charged, despite an FBI probe into whether Perata had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of kickbacks.
CBS News has reported that there are over 115,000 homeless Californians, roughly 25% suffer from mental illness.
This week, the California legislature could consider a proposal that would fund up to $2 billion for between 10,000-14,000 units for the homeless who are mentally ill. Over 60% of the state’s homeless live outdoors. The proposal would permit the state to issue $2 billion in bonds, reimbursed over 20 to 30 years with funds provided under Proposition 63, the “millionaires’ tax” for mental health services approved in 2004.
Maggie Merritt, executive director of the Steinberg Institute, a mental health nonprofit advocating for increased state funding, said "I don't care what part of California you're in, you will see an ever-growing population of people who live on the streets with a mental illness, and that's what we're addressing.”