The Trump Administration's Plan For Fixing U.S. Homelessness
With Anthony Brooks
America’s homeless crisis. The Trump administration’s controversial plan to fix it starts in California. We take it up.
Ben Carson, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. ( @SecretaryCarson)
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Sacramento Bee: “ Sacramento mayor ‘wary’ of Trump’s offer for homeless aid. But says CA cities should listen” — “Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other California elected officials are skeptical as the Trump administration focuses attention on homelessness in California cities, but are hopeful more federal funding could be on the way to address the growing crisis.
“The Trump administration, which has been highlighting problems in major U.S. cities with Democratic leaders, has discussed moving homeless people off the streets of California cities and into government-backed facilities, according to a Washington Post report. Administration officials visited Los Angeles this week to learn about the city’s strategies for responding to the homelessness crisis, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
“It’s unclear whether the efforts will help Sacramento, where an estimated 5,570 people are homeless on any given night. That’s a 19 percent increase from two years ago.”
CityLab: “ Housing Organizations Slam White House Report on Homelessness” — “President Donald Trump capped off a week in which the White House spent considerable energy on the housing crisis in California by threatening to slap the city of San Francisco with a notice of environmental violation. The reason: water pollution caused by homeless people.
“The administration appears to be on a war footing with local and state governments in California. That threat followed reports that White House officials were planning a crackdown on L.A.’s Skid Row and had toured a former federal office building near Los Angeles as a potential site for detaining hundreds or thousands of unhoused people. To complete the administration’s West Coast tour, Housing Secretary Ben Carson made crude remarks about transgender people, telling Bay Area staffers how ‘big, hairy men’ could infiltrate women’s homeless shelters.
“Like so many Infrastructure Weeks before it, Trump’s Housing Week did not exactly go off without a hitch, and it was partially overshadowed by other Trump scandals-in-progress. But it did produce a document that could have lasting consequences: the White House’s new report on homelessness. The paper, released by the Council of Economic Advisors, outlines what might be a conservative template for fixing homelessness: more police, more market-rate housing, and more strings attached to aid. The report takes a dim view of several traditional approaches and widely understood principles, contradicting even this administration’s own expert conclusions about what causes homelessness. Among housing advocates, it set off lots of alarm bells.”
Los Angeles Times: “ Trump’s big idea to fix homelessness is to do what California is already doing — sort of” — “President Trump’s big idea for fixing California’s homelessness crisis should look familiar to many prominent Democrats: Eliminate layers of regulation to make it easier and cheaper to build more housing.
“On the eve of a two-day swing through the state this week, Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors released a report blaming “decades of misguided and faulty policies” for putting too many restrictions on development and causing home prices to rise to unaffordable levels. It’s a continuation of a strategy that the president began in June, when he signed an executive order to establish a White House council to ‘confront the regulatory barriers to affordable housing development.’
“‘Harmful local government policies in select cities, along with ineffective federal government policies of prior administrations, have exaggerated the homelessness problem,’ Tom Philipson, acting chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, told reporters Monday.
“Although the administration’s argument broadly mirrors what some Democratic lawmakers have been trying to do in California — easing rules on development, allowing fourplexes on land currently zoned for single-family homes or cutting some state environmental rules that restrict building — it’s too simple to link Trump’s approach with that of his liberal antagonists, several state lawmakers said.”
Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast.
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
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