Sanctioning Local Governments for Failure to Address Homelessness

Sanctioning Local Governments for Failure to Address Homelessness


As the state of California grapples with and searches for solutions to its growing crisis of homelessness, a task force appointed by Governor Newsom to explore the issue is considering a new policy idea.  The task force identified as the Council of Regional Homeless Advisors, may soon turn to legislators and seek their support to pass an amendment to the state constitution that would make it legal and enforceable for the state to sanction local governments that fail to develop shelters and other housing options to reduce their homeless populations.  Consideration is being given to placing the proposed initiative on the November ballot thus allowing voters to weigh in on the issue. However, the idea is still in the early stage of development and the task force has not yet defined what the sanctions would be or how the sanctions would be administered.  There are more people living on the streets of California than on the streets of any other state in the nation. In the last two years their numbers have continued to climb. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported between 2018 and 2019 the state’s homeless population increased over 16 percent.  According to a California Black Media report although the Governor has expressed some support for the task force proposal, he believes the concept should first be rigorously tested in a pilot program further acknowledging the proposal represents a “tectonic shift” in the way the state has done things in the past.

Header Photo: Council of Regional Homeless Advisors

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