Nobody disputes that California is struggling to take care of a spiraling homelessness disaster. Our state has greater than 181,000 homeless individuals — a quantity that has elevated a mind-bending 40% since 2019, per a CalMatters report. Regardless of the state authorities is doing, it’s not working.

And what it’s doing, primarily, is throwing cash on the drawback. Figures from final 12 months peg state homeless spending at $7.2 billion a 12 months, or $42,000 per homeless particular person. That quantity accounts just for state spending and never the myriad native prices, together with the quantity of public-safety and public-works budgets that pay for associated prices.

As a substitute of rethinking the state’s failed strategy, Gov. Gavin Newsom desires to throw extra money on the drawback and provides state companies — quite than native governments, which typically have achieved a greater job — extra energy to manage funding. He desires voters to approve Proposition 1.

Modeled on Los Angeles’ failing Undertaking Roomkey, the March 5 poll initiative would run up $6.38 billion in debt to fund particular mental-health-related providers. The final strategy is comprehensible, given most homeless individuals undergo from mental-health and dependancy points. As all the time, particulars matter.

And Prop. 1’s particulars could make one’s head spin. As AP reported, it’s “some of the sophisticated and prolonged measures lately” and “takes up 68 pages” of the voter information. As this editorial board defined, Prop. 1 is a “bureaucratic energy seize that robs counties of psychological well being providers funding” and runs up debt — though a scarcity of funding isn’t the principle drawback.

Different information retailers are echoing these issues. One other AP report quoted native officers who concern the measure “would worsen the issue.” That’s as a result of it empowers the state to meddle in how counties spend practically $3 billion in annual income funded by a 2004 tax on millionaires. If Prop. 1 passes, the state would take 10% of those mental-health funds, leaving much less for packages that hold individuals out of homelessness.

Practically a 3rd of the Prop. 1 cash would fund local-government efforts to construct inexpensive housing through motel conversions and new development. However that cash must conform to California’s official — and misguided — “Housing First” coverage that prioritizes development of everlasting housing, quite than momentary housing mixed with social providers.


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