California is the world leader in technology and innovation, yet we have the most people living without shelter in the United States. This is completely unacceptable and must end.
Before you dismiss us for demanding more “entitlements”, consider that numerous studies have proven that it costs you, the taxpayer, millions more to support a homeless person on the streets as it does to provide them with supportive housing. Not only that but the majority of homeless people who are given supportive housing and access to resources become functioning people and begin paying taxes. In the North Carolina Moore Place study on average after 7 years of homelessness 94% of the homeless participating in the program retained housing with a 99% rent collection rate after 18 months. This completely turns society’s perception on the homeless situation on its head. We are literally paying people to live in misery when they could be helping produce in our society and living full lives.
A more recent study right here in San Francisco entered about ¼ of their ‘Official’ homeless population into supportive housing, and although costs ballooned initially due to the people receiving real healthcare services for their conditions (Often caused by lack of shelter) the overall costs factoring in ER visits, law enforcement and other publicly funded services has steadily decreased over time. Colorado has housed 200 homeless people in a similar program and cut the estimated costs associated with leaving a person on the street in half.
Of course it’s impossible to talk about urban homelessness in California without talking about the housing market. Housing costs in the Bay Area and large portions of southern California have gone off the charts in recent years. Median home sales in San Jose just passed $1 million dollars and the median Alameda County home just passed $750k. Rents have soared as well. In such an economy it is far too easy for working people to fall through the cracks, especially if a breadwinner gets sick or injured. And then there’s America’s broken healthcare system – even under Obamacare and even among insured people, medical bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy. California’s economy is booming but that growth hasn’t lifted all boats and a growing number of senior citizens are becoming homeless as their rents are raised and their fixed incomes are unable to keep up. From the elderly to families with small children, an increasing number of Californians are at risk here. A perfect example is the recent documentary Motel Kids of Orange County which documents the huge homeless problem in one of the richest counties in the U.S. This is fundamentally a moral issue and demands a response. The good news is that all of these challenges can be met. Our proposal for universal healthcare would guarantee that no Californian ever again loses their home because they were injured and building more high-density housing in our urban centers that have seen the fastest increases in prices would go a long way to address housing costs.
California National Party believes in fact based policy with real solutions, and the numbers do not lie. The crisis of homelessness in our cities is a man-made problem and has clear solutions if we have the courage to act. California needs to set a humanitarian example for the rest of the world, as it leads in so many other areas. Let’s end homelessness in California, once and for all.