The President is Suddenly Very Interested in California’s Homeless Problem

Officials with the Trump administration descended on L.A.’s streets Monday and Tuesday to assess the homeless crisis and meet with city leaders to discuss a possible solution. The Washington Post reports that President Trump is considering federal intervention, not just in Los Angeles, but in other cities as well. Subsequent reporting suggests he is eyeing an old FAA facility in Los Angeles for a homeless shelter.

“The president has taken notice of the homelessness crisis, particularly in cities and states where the liberal policies of overregulation, excessive taxation, and poor public service delivery are combining to dramatically increase poverty and public health risks,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere (Los Angeles Times).

Needless to say, that kind of tone is not what state and city leaders want to hear. They say the president’s policies have made the situation worse and they’re skeptical of his motives.

“If the president is willing to put serious solutions — with real investment — on the table, California stands ready to talk,” Nathan Click, a spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom, said. “He could start by ending his plans to cut food stamps, gut healthcare for low-income people, and scare immigrant families from accessing government services.”

“The decline in federal resources for affordable housing has been significant, and cities can’t do it alone,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed told City Lab. “But simply cracking down on homelessness without providing the housing that people need is not a real solution and will likely only make the situation worse.”

Union Rescue Mission Chief Executive Rev. Andy Bales felt encouraged after giving White House staff a tour of skid row on Monday, however.

“They are here to bring resources to assist the city and county and state in addressing homelessness,” he said. “I believe they were sincere individuals.”


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