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Last week, the usually anti-Trump Arnold Schwarzenegger publicly thanked the president for his efforts to address the burgeoning homeless crisis in California.
At an event hosted by the University of Southern California (USC) last week, titled “Unhoused: Addressing Homelessness in California,” the president sent Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to attend, prompting Schwarzenegger’s gracious reply on social media.
“Everyone knows [President Trump] & I have our disagreements,” tweeted the former California governor. “But I want to thank you for sending [Secretary Carson] to our homelessness summit. We’ll only solve this if everyone works together. This issue is bigger than all of us. Now it’s time for action.”
Everyone knows @realDonaldTrump & I have our disagreements. But I want to thank you for sending @SecretaryCarson to our homelessness summit. We’ll only solve this if everyone works together. This issue is bigger than all of us. Now it’s time for action https://t.co/gJVNs3h10f
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 14, 2020
According to the Orange County Register, a recent poll in California showed that homelessness is the state’s number 1 issue above climate change or immigration.
Homelessness — not climate change or immigration — is the single biggest problem in California, according to about 1,000 likely voters surveyed by USC.
California, with more than 150,000 homeless people in need of housing, is home to about half the nation’s unsheltered population, according to 2019 statistics that showed the state’s homeless population grew by about 21,000 over the previous year. Los Angeles County has about 60,000 homeless people, with more than two-thirds living on the street.
The online poll conducted by the USC Price School of Public Policy and the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, the co-hosts for the symposium, surveyed 1,000 people during the first week of February. The findings echoed concerns cited in a November 2019 poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Of the respondents, 22.9% ranked homelessness as the top problem. Other issues lagged behind: 14.8% named climate change/environment, 9.2% said immigration, and another 7.5% simply answered “Trump.”
During his address at the homeless symposium last Thursday, Ben Carson said that bipartisan steps should be taken to combat the California homeless crisis and outlined the Trump administration’s plan to call on “every church, synagogue and mosque” to take care of the homeless.
Speaking on “The Next Revolution” with Steve Hilton on Sunday, former Governor Schwarzenegger attempted to explain how the homeless crisis began in California through an uptick in unaffordable housing.
“When it comes down to it, California was going through a period where we had kind of had a no-growth movement,” Schwarzenegger said. “Therefore there was no supply anymore so the demand became bigger and bigger and the prices of homes now went up.”
“No one could afford it except people that made a lot of money so it priced people out of their homes,” he added. There are 60,000 homeless in Los Angeles. We have a major problem. It has become a crisis.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the number of people living on the streets, in vehicles, or in shelters steadily increased in the city throughout 2019, which followed a small decrease in the previous year.
“The annual point-in-time count, delivered to the Board of Supervisors, put the number of homeless people just shy of 59,000 countywide,” reported the outlet. “Within the city of Los Angeles, the number soared to more than 36,000, a 16% increase. And as in past years, most — about 75% — were living outside, fueling speculation of a growing public health crisis of rats and trash near homeless encampments downtown.”