President Trump, disgusted with the inability of California’s Democrats to address the skyrocketing number of homeless people in California’s major cities, has ordered White House officials to address the issue, according to The Washington Post.
The Post reports, “Top officials representing the White House and the Department of Housing and Urban Development arrived in California this week for a round of meetings. A particular focus has been the ‘Skid Row’ section of Los Angeles, officials said. The president is directly involved with the initiative, officials said, and has asked for updates. Officials representing the Justice Department were also part of the tour, according to two government officials.”
The Post stated that ideas under discussion include “razing existing tent camps for the homeless, creating new temporary facilities and refurbishing existing government facilities,” according to two administration officials. The Post added that on Tuesday, city officials hosted officials from the Veterans Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Domestic Policy Council, the Justice Department and HUD on a tour of the Jordan Downs housing project.
Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told the Post, “Like many Americans, the president has taken notice of the homelessness crisis, particularly in cities and states where the liberal policies are combining to dramatically increase poverty and public health risks. President Trump has directed his team to go further and develop a range of policy options for consideration to deal with this tragedy.”
According to the United States Interagency on Homelessness:
As of January 2018, California had an estimated 129,972 experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Of that Total, 6,702 were family households, 10,836 were Veterans, 12,396 were unaccompanied young adults (aged 18-24), and 34,332 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
Public school data reported to the U.S. Department of Education during the 2016-2017 school year shows that an estimated 246,296 public school students experienced homelessness over the course of the year. Of that total, 7,533 students were unsheltered, 17,061 were in shelters, 10,095 were in hotels/motels, and 211,607 were doubled up.
Steven Greenhut, the Western region director for R Street Institute, told the Catholic Register in 2018 that he blamed the lack of adequate housing in California on the state, asserting, “We’ve screwed up the whole housing market through all these regulations.” The Catholic Register noted, “Local fees on building can add an additional 6% to 18% to the cost of a home. Energy-efficiency regulations add to the cost of a home as well: A recently enacted California rule mandating solar panels on nearly all new home construction will add about $10,000 to the total cost. In Los Angeles, energy-efficiency requirements increase building costs by 10%.”
Spur.org summarized the problems inhibiting housing construction in California, writing, “During a lengthy approval process (sometimes years), costs can rise to the point that projects are no longer tenable. Local fees, permitting, codes and regulations add 6 to 18 percent to construction costs. Uncoordinated city fees and requirements can add up to substantial sums that have unintended impacts on affordable housing.” All of this adds up, the article states, such that in many cases, by the time builders are ready to break ground “the developer no longer can make a profit” and instead abandons the project.