Government officials in Southern Calfiornia have thrown a lot of money at the homeless problem in recent years.
Thus far, the expenditure hasn’t paid off.
Los Angeles-based author Mickey Kaus posted a photo Sunday on his Twitter page showing what his neighborhood looks like one year after a county sales-tax hike was approved to fund more than $350 million a year in services for the homeless.
L.A. Mayor Garcetti's $350M homelessness initiative (on top of a $1.2B in housing bonds) passed over a year ago. Diverse stakeholders were consulted! Took this in my LA neighborhood today. Wasn't like this last year. Don't you want to make Garcetti president? pic.twitter.com/a030nDyW6I
— Mickey Kaus (@kausmickey) April 2, 2018
“Wasn’t like this last year,” Kaus wrote below a picture of a row of homeless people camped along a city street.
An estimated 550,000 people in the United States are homeless, with California accounting for nearly 25 percent — the largest number of any state — according to a 2017 survey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Roughly one quarter of California’s homeless are found in Los Angeles.
Last year, voters in Los Angeles County approved a quarter-cent sales tax that would generate more than $350 million per year for 10 years toward “supportive services” for the homeless.
Garcetti has made plenty of promises during his time as mayor of Los Angeles, but from a statistical standpoint, most of those pledges have come up empty.
The mayor vowed in 2014 to end homelessness among veterans by the end of 2015. By the end of 2015, there were still more than 2,700 homeless veterans in the city. Last year, that number had decreased, but only by fewer than 200.
Garcetti’s latest pledge is to get half of all homeless off L.A.’s streets by 2022, and have nearly all homelessness eliminated by 2028.
Meanwhile, L.A.’s homeless population is straining city services. For instance, the Los Angeles Daily News reported in February that city sanitation officials would have to double their staffing in the coming year just to handle the workload generated by the city’s homeless camps.
The amount of feces littering the streets in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco has led to a hepatitis outbreak that spread throughout the state’s homeless communities, infecting 694 people, according to a recent Fox News report.
Officials in nearby Orange County have taken action to clear out a number of homeless camps. One such camp along the Sana Ana River channel created a public health crisis. The river is home to much of the county’s groundwater and empties between two popular beaches.
Those beaches have been closed frequently in recent years due to high bacteria levels, presumably from the homeless camps.
“It’s becoming part of the permanent landscape in those communities and there is no way we are going to allow Orange County land that is supposed to be used by residents to be occupied by the homeless,” Todd Spitzer, who sits on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, told Fox News.
It would seem logical that California could put a significant dent in its homeless population by curbing the number of illegal immigrants in its state. But Democratic lawmakers in the state don’t seem able or willing to connect those dots.
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