America has overcome the Great Depression, WWII and has passed Civil Rights legislation. California can begin to solve the homeless tragedy by beginning with common sense solutions. Breaking down government regulations, policies and barriers will begin to help.Among the first things we must do is stop allowing petty theft that facilitate drug addicts to pay for their habit. We must also stop allowing public and open drug use in our communities. This enabling is morally wrong and does not help those with drug addiction to actually get sober. Stop passing out needles and drugs! Who are you helping? The only winners with these kinds of programs are not the drug plagued, but rather their suppliers.
We must start to provide greater levels of mental health intervention and be prepared to pay for it. This is an area where money can make a difference. We must begin to provide the best care in America for our Veterans suffering from mental illness. California is home to the most veterans in the country. Let’s do right by them. Period. Anything less is a disgrace.
Recently the cities in South Orange County proposed setting up a protected safe space for many homeless in Trabuco Canyon but was dismissed out of hand by a local judge as being segregated and an unacceptable solution for him to consider. Yet we see Housing First Villages that require accountability are a way up and a way out for the homeless.
What we see here in California is a human tragedy that has played out by decades of progressive, socialist, utopian legislation. It is time to stop the all the lawsuits, police sweep’s and price and wage controls. The federal government, state government and local governments must begin to work together along with non-profits if we are to put an end to our homeless condition.
The Housing First model adopted by California in 2016 provides funding with no preconditions or expectations of recovery. It does not work in its current format. Funny then how homelessness continues to grow while we throw money at the problem. California assumes one size fits all and that is to provide subsidized housing with no accountability or expectations of the inhabitants. The program fails when we consider that a mentally ill or drug addicted person will be able to get a job and pay rent without any expectation to get job training or at the very least to get sober. Recently we placed a homeless family in Mission Viejo with an apartment, furniture, food and clothing. It was a great feeling. Two months later the parents were back on drugs and the children returned to child protective services. There must be accountability.
Non-profits are merely asking that for someone to be placed in a housing first village they must agree to job training classes and sobriety. But to get State and Federal grants, they are barred from asking for these requirements. How does this make any sense? Let’s get rid of these restrictions and require accountability from those we are going to put into subsidized housing.
We must also begin to provide protected spaces for people to live that meet guidelines for public health and safety while providing transportation to work, schools and training facilities. Bringing social services to these communities will also be of great help. Perhaps we should also entertain public projects that hire the homeless.
I propose that we set up some Community First Villages consisting of tiny homes and mobile home trailers that are considerably less expensive than $700,000 apartments. Residents will be required to undergo a background check and begin paying a scaled and laddered rent program that considers income. In addition, the residents would need to abide by civil laws and community rules. Programs where people have skin in the game works!
Having a home and a job and the hope of a way out offer individuals purpose. Let’s begin by admitting that what we have done, and are currently doing, is not working and let’s move forward from that point.
Please feel free to send me any questions or comments you have via email to: Ed@SachsforAssembly.com
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