Dems secure $600M in federal taxpayer funds to fight homelessness, but some are skeptical it will help

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California Democratic senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler announced conscionable complete $600 cardinal successful national dollars to curb nan spiraling homelessness situation successful nan state, arsenic officials struggle to get a grip connected nan problem exacerbated by supplier addiction and intelligence illness. 

"As we proceed our statewide count of group experiencing homelessness, 1 point remains clear: We request importantly much national finance to reside this humanitarian crisis," Padilla said successful a Jan. 29 statement. 

Butler said successful a connection nan costs would beryllium "especially important to our younker experiencing homelessness, including unaccompanied and pregnant aliases parenting younker who will now person much entree to programs aimed astatine preventing homelessness."

The backing is portion of a $3.16 cardinal finance from nan Biden management to support nonprofit organizations, lodging authorities and section governments struggling to trim homelessness nationwide.  


Despite much payer dollars astatine work, nan bum organization continues to skyrocket successful nan Golden State. It's up 6% compared to past twelvemonth and boasts nan highest number of bum group surviving outdoors successful nan country. About 181,000 group were considered bum successful nan state's 2023 count, and astir are suffering from supplier addiction aliases intelligence illnesses. 

According to a University of San Francisco study past year, 82% of bum group statewide said they had a intelligence wellness information aliases abused substances successful their lifetime. 

Chris Moore, a candidate for Alameda County supervisor and a committee personnel pinch Bay Rental Housing Association, thinks nan earmarked money "is good," but that nan authorities "isn't utilizing champion practices."  


"And I deliberation pinch much money, it's great, but we request to commencement looking astatine champion practices," Moore told Fox News Digital. "And looking astatine what they're doing location successful Houston and commencement solving nan problem alternatively than enabling nan problem." 

Houston trim its bum organization by 64% complete nan past 12 years and 17% past twelvemonth done collaboration betwixt various organizations contempt minimal financial investment. Texas has spent importantly little money connected homelessness compared to California — $806 versus $10,786 per bum person.

California has dipped its toes successful immoderate of nan country's astir arguable practices to face its increasing homelessness problem. 

The authorities has spent astir $20 cardinal connected homelessness successful nan past 5 years since Gov. Gavin Newsom took agency nether what's called nan "housing first" solution. It's nan belief that homelessness is solved done first putting group successful apartments, motels, hotels aliases "tiny homes," alternatively than mandating rehabilitation for supplier addiction aliases mental health treatment. 


Some opportunity this strategy doesn't work, arsenic astir government-run housing programs don't require "wraparound" services, a holistic attraction exemplary that includes supplier rehabilitation and intelligence unwellness treatment.

Instead, nan "harm reduction" exemplary has been adopted by nan state's Department of Health, which focuses connected reducing nan consequences of supplier usage done offering cleanable syringes, naxolone and different materials to "meet group wherever they're at" and make supplier usage "safer." 

Rev. Andy Bales, nan erstwhile CEO of Union Rescue Mission, 1 of Los Angeles' largest faith-based nonprofit organizations that does not trust connected authorities funding, told Fox News Digital that much group will go bum nether nan strategy. 

"Housing First, specifically pinch nan Harm Reduction rules, which really translates to nan free travel of difficult narcotics and alcohol, has been an utter failure," Bales said. "And there's a logic why we've made perfectly nary advancement aft California has spent $22 cardinal successful nan past six years. And yet homelessness has skyrocketed."

Bales retired successful 2023 from nan nonprofit aft 20 years. He said he continues to study nan state's bum policies and organization trends.

"California unsocial represents 50% of each thoroughfare homelessness because they person doubled down connected nan argumentation of lodging first and harm reduction, and truthful if it continues to beryllium spent, for illustration it has been, we won't spot overmuch positivity aliases betterment because it's a grounded policy," he said. "There's truthful overmuch grounds to show that nan numbers don't lie.

"It's a correction to only money 1 strategy," he added. "You know, aggregate strategies could make a difference."

Homeless lodging programs that usage this attack tin beryllium identified done nan National Harm Reduction Coalition's interactive map. 

"Harm simplification is simply a group of applicable strategies and ideas aimed astatine reducing antagonistic consequences associated pinch supplier use," nan National Harm Reduction Coalition website states. "Harm eduction is besides a activity for societal justness built connected a belief in, and respect for, nan authorities of group who usage drugs."

Newsom is facing unit by voters to curtail nan rumor astatine its root. In March, residents will ballot connected Newsom's projected $6.4 cardinal enslaved aimed astatine adding astir 25,000 psychiatric and addiction curen beds crossed California, a move aimed to beryllium a "course corrective" action from erstwhile California dumped thousands of group from psychiatric centers onto nan streets. 

"There was a righteousness successful nan 60s, pinch Democrats and Republicans saying, ‘We person to move distant from these locked institutions,’" Newsom said past twelvemonth earlier signing respective intelligence wellness bills. "We were expected to replicate that pinch community-based care, and location was nary accountability — location was nary responsibility either way."