Frank: There is a solution to the Homeless problem



By Stephen Frank,  California Political News and Views

We have a homeless problem due to government creating an “industry” of publicists, lobbyists, non profits and donors that love to save folks—by building bureaucracies, agencies and crying rather than solving.  If the courts allowed the police to take the drug addicts, alcoholics and mentally ill off the streets—putting them in treatment and job training center—we would not have a homeless problem.

The homeless problem is really a government problem—both politicians and judges are the cause.  No amount of money will solve the problem until these folks get out of the way.

Walk the streets of San Francisco, Los Angeles or Santa Ana and you are stepping over the homeless.  Thanks to a court order, the homeless are allowed to sleep and stay living on our streets.  In fact, under the law, they can use a street address of a building, claim it as their own and register to vote..  In San Fran and L.A. the streets have literally become toilets.  The smell, the disease—typhoid has been found in Los Angeles—is causing decent people to stay away.

How bad is the problem?

“Homelessness is the number one issue for California voters heading into the 2020 presidential primary in March, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), as reported by the  Sacramento Bee. More than 150,000 California residents are homeless, according to the latest counts.”, per Breitbart.

In reality, upwards of 90% of the homeless are mentally ill, drug or alcohol addicts or a combination.

Gov. Newsom spent a little over one billion dollars in 2019 on the issue.  The Legislative Analyst Office in Sacramento, a non partisan agency of government, audited the programs and could not find any successes or how most of the money was spent.  We know this was just a payoff to friends and donors, contracts given, but little or no oversite of the spending and results.

Los Angeles also spent one billion dollars.  The results?  Homelessness GREW by 16% in one year.  Obviously money is not the answer.

The first step to an answer is to determine who is on the streets and why.  We already know that approximately 90% are ill.   We also know that many of the homeless have been given tickets for infractions, drug use, disorderly conduct or other minor crimes.  In most cases they did not show up in court.  Under current court orders you can not force the homeless into treatment centers or get rehabilitation, job training or take vouchers for housing.

In Utah they have a novel idea.  Since many of the homeless have failed to show for hearings, the police can do a warrant check of each of the homeless, find those with outstanding warrants and arrest them.  Then the person has a choice—jail or treatment centers.  In this way the police stay within the court orders, but use the law to treat and save those on the streets.

The more you get off the street and help, the fewer on the street.  That allows for limited assets to be used for fewer people—helping more.

We know that most on the street need help.  Why not provide the needed mental health care or treatments for drug and/or alcohol addiction?  The better news is that in this economy, workers are needed, job training is available and jobs can be arranged.  This is a full range approach to the problem.

This also allows private social service agencies, religious organizations and community groups doing more to help, not the “homeless”, but the individual that is homeless.  Yes, 150,000 is a large number—but how many churches do we have, non profits involved in this crisis?  More than enough to make a significant dent in the sizeable number of homeless.

The Utah effort is cheap, quick and can be successful.  Imagine 50,000 homeless off the streets in a few months.  Then treatment and rehabilitation centers doing their jobs—followed by job training and jobs.  That is a real success.

Sadly, in California that probably will not happen.  Why?  Unions do not get new members, special interests making money in the homeless industry will lose grants.  Too many make money off the homeless—the more homeless, the more they make.  Newsom wants to spend $1.4 billion in his new budget after the first billion dollars had no results.

It does not take legislation from Sacramento.  It takes city by city making the commitment to get people off the streets.  This can be done by city councils—your city council.  That means citizens like yourself bring this approach to local government.  We can solve the homeless problem, not in Sacramento, but in your hometown.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

Stephen Frank: Is the the publisher and editor of the California Political News and Views.  Mr. Frank speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows and is a full time political consultant.

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Jeffrey Kilpatrick
Jeffrey Kilpatrick
1 year ago

Based on my limited research on this subject, I believe that most of the homeless people in the Ventura area are not from here, in fact, most are not from California.
Do you have any insight on this?

William Hicks
William Hicks
1 year ago

What caught me in this article is drug addict’s and mentally ill homeless people can chosen address and be able to vote.

Just what do you think the results will be from that?