A new state report was released last week that showed California spent nearly $10 billion on homelessness over a three-year period. This was released during the same week that the Downtown San Diego Partnership announced a record number of homeless people living on the streets.
This report confirms what many of us already knew: throwing money at the problem is not the answer.
Here's another excerpt from the report:
"The state has spent nearly $10 billion and provided services to more than 571,000 people, each year helping more people than the last.
And despite all that, at the end-of-year three, the majority of those more than half a million Californians still didn't end up with a roof over their heads. The number of unsheltered Californians continues to swell."
The State of California believes there is only one way to fix homelessness, and that is "Housing First." While that may sound nice, "Housing First" allows people to continue to use drugs and, as we see, leads to more people living on the streets.
Instead of just focusing on housing, we should be addressing the root causes, which are primarily mental illness and drug addiction.
In North County, we've become a hub for mental health services focused on outcome-based results. We have established three Crisis Stabilization Units, broken ground on psychiatric beds, and opened "One Safe Place" for domestic violence victims. I'd like to see the state follow our lead and help people suffering from homelessness by addressing the root causes.
It doesn't take a report to show us what we already know: there are more and more people living on the streets. For the past decade, the State of California has only used one tool to fix the problem, which has made it worse. It's time for the State to change their one-size-fits-all mindset and truly help the people suffering on the street.