What is the Problem
Much of the homeless we see today have come from a rise of our military heroes returning from war with mental issues and PTS. In addition, we have seen the courts deinstitutionalize mental healthcare facilities, and finally the rising cost of housing ratio over wages and salary growth are making it impossible to sustain rents or mortgages. We have failed as a society to care for our Veterans and the mentally ill. Honestly, we have neglected both and we are paying the price for that today.
California is home to 12% of the U.S. population, but 25% of the homeless in the nation. Weather counts for some of the attraction here. Who wants to live on the streets in New York or Philadelphia in the winter? Orange County has seen a 42% spike in homelessness recently. 50% of California residents in homes today, are but one house payment away from becoming homeless themselves. There are estimates that 600,000 people living in Los Angeles today are paying 90% of their income to rent.
20% of low-income housing has disappeared due to gentrification. The homeless population in Los Angeles has grown by 75% in the past six years. Los Angeles takes 300 people off the streets per week, but 480 more people turn out on their streets each week. San Francisco and Los Angeles are seeing significant increases to policing, ambulances, fire and emergency room healthcare. Portable toilets cost upwards of $170,000 a year including maintenance per year while permanent toilets run as much as $320,000 a year per unit. San Francisco has even set up space in public parks to urinate on the ground.
Our unsheltered population (new, politically correct name for homeless) comprises 25 to 35% that are considered to be mentally ill. Portland and Seattle have declared their cities in a state of emergency due to homelessness. Predators continue to pursue the homeless population including assault and battery. Major cities in California are soaking in urine and human feces, disease and neglect.
Medieval disease including typhus and the Black Death are emerging in our wealthiest city streets. Rats are the fastest growing population on our streets today. Architecture of our once beautiful cities are being replaced by row after row of Port-a-Potties.
Housing permits in the State have fallen 12% in the past year. New apartments for low income housing in Los Angeles ranges from $520,000 to $700,000 per unit due to land cost, labor cost, material cost and unnecessary regulations and the time it takes to get permits. Reports from Federal housing programs indicate that all of the anti-building regulations in our State may account for 40% of the homeless population.
CEQA has become weaponized by unions, environmental activists and NIMBY populations. We find that NIMBYism is not a particular partisan issue. Liberals in San Francisco and conservatives in Orange County both contribute to the NIMBY condition. Yet we see that in our Legislature the passage of laws giving tax credits benefiting owners of historic or architecturally significant homes will slide right through to the Governor for signature.
California has become the 5th largest economy in the world. In the World people! Orange County spends $300 million a year on the homeless. Nine Counties around the Bay Area Region have a GDP of $748 Billion which is greater than that of Switzerland or Saudi Arabia. San Jose job growth is double that of the nation, but in the past 5 years San Jose has only built one housing unit for every 6 jobs they have created. The result is obvious. Rising rents equal greater competition for available housing units and will lead to economic evictions. All this wealth is not going to solve our homeless problem. The cities with the greatest wealth, the most rigidly regulated housing markets, and the most lenient civil laws are an attraction for the homeless. Housing has increased at a rate of 32% greater than median income in the State, while Los Angeles housing is 49% greater than the median income rate. Our progressively run cities and State continue to pass rent control laws that only go to raising rents and reduce investment in projects that will not pencil profitably for developers. Democrats in the State continue to propose legislation that increases demand but inhibits supply.
[Next Page: Who is to Blame?]