OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 5:37 PM – Friday, April 28, 2023
To assist and accommodate the expanding homeless population in the city, The City of San Diego is facilitating a new proposal in which detractors have pointed out will cost taxpayers thousands without addressing the crisis’s underlying causes.
San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond appeared on “Fox & Friends” for an interview.
“California’s got about a third of the homeless of the entire country. And we keep just throwing more and more dollars at this problem without really getting to the root cause of mental health or alcohol abuse or drug abuse,” Desmond said.
According to the proposal, three Extended Stay America suites will be purchased by the housing commission of the city, with the potential to lodge more than 400 homeless people. The three apartment-style hotels, which will cost a total of $157.8 million, will officially be considered closed escrow by the commission in October. Each unit would also cost about $383,000 to produce.
Desmond argued that spending $157 million on “more rooms doing the same thing” that is “causing the same problem” is fruitless, arguing that the focus should be on helping mental and physical health.
“What people really need to get into, is treatment, not just the hotel room where they can continue to use and continue in the bad habits…that got them homeless in the first place,” Desmond said.
In recent years, the number of homeless people in San Diego County has risen drastically. The number of homeless persons in the city reached a record high in January 2023, according to figures from the Downtown San Diego Partnership, at around 1,939 homeless individuals. The number of homeless people in the downtown area of San Diego, as of March, was 1,718, a slight decline from the year’s start.
According to the Regional Task Force on Homelessness’ most recent point-in-time statistics, San Diego County had approximately 8,500 homeless people living there in 2022, a 10% rise from the previous year.
Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) and his proposal to construct 1,200 small houses for the state’s homeless, including 150 houses for San Diego, is one of several housing options and outreach programs that the California government has sought out as the numbers continue to rise.
Newsom announced in March that California will spend about $30 million to build 1,200 small homes across the state this year as part of a plan to help house the country’s largest homeless population and to address a problem that has persistently plagued the state throughout the governor’s term. The hotels were selected given their proximity to essentials like grocery stores and public transportation
“We just keep getting more and more homeless people on our streets. Our numbers are going up. They’re not going down. In the past three years, the state of California has spent $10 billion on homeless and trying to fix the homeless problem, the homeless solution. We’re just caught in this never-ending cycle,” Desmond said.
The Democrat has approved more than $22.3 billion in extra expenditure on housing and homelessness services since entering office in 2019. According to the Los Angeles Times, Newsom has also allegedly requested funding for a “transitional rent” program that would “provide up to six months of rent or temporary housing for low-income enrollees who rely on the state’s health care safety net.”
Desmond and other opponents have pointed out that while this proposal will be costing the city billions of dollars, the measures have still not done anything to address the root of the issue.
“If there’s no rules, if there’s no consequences for bad behavior, we’re just spinning our wheels and just throwing more and more money at a problem that we’re just not going to solve until we get to those root causes of mental health and drug abuse,” Desmond said.
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