To battle the California homeless crisis, San Diego is constructing tent facilities and Sacramento may force community colleges to shelter homeless students.
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently said (with a straight face) that “California was still the envy of the world” in response to the numerous California critics who brought up the homeless problem, feces and syringes in the streets, and rodents infecting people in city halls.
While Newsom drags his feet, some cities have chosen to tackle those problems, mainly helping the homeless.
Earlier this year, I noted that San Francisco officials determined that the city has more drug addicts than it has students enrolled in its public high schools.
The addiction crisis is a contributing factor to the overwhelming level of homelessness in the city, as is mental illness. San Francisco supervisors are supporting measures that could force drug addicts with serious mental illnesses into treatment.
Officials in San Francisco decided Tuesday to back a plan allowing the city to force some people with serious mental illness and drug addiction issues into treatment — but the program is coming under intense criticism in uber-liberal California for what some say is a deprivation of individual civil liberties.
The city’s Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 on the proposal for a pilot program after months of debate, which initially would apply to a handful of people, pending legislation at the state level, and then could expand.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed and other supporters of the plan — which is known as conservatorship — say it is necessary to help people who are often homeless, addicted to drugs or mentally ill and either have no means or no desire to get off the streets, which the plan’s proponents say makes them a danger to themselves and others..
The proposal permits a court to appoint a public conservator for someone who has been involuntarily detained for psychiatric hospitalization at least eight times in a year under section 5150 of California’s welfare and institutions code. The treatment for the individual could last for as long as a year.
“Anyone who’s been to San Francisco recently, either in our downtown or in the neighborhoods I represent, has seen an alarming number of people who seem to be mentally ill, or in some kind of psychosis, and they seem to be not getting the care that they need,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, a cosponsor of the measure whose district includes the Castro.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, coauthored the state legislation allowing the five-year pilot programs for forced treatment in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego counties.
Farther south, San Diego officials are planning the construction of massive taxpayer-funded tents, trailers and other facilities to house those otherwise living on the streets and in their cars.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, a Republican, signed off last week on a City Council-approved $11 million contract to fund through June 2020 three such “bridge shelters” for the homeless and a facility for people to store their belongings. The contract also laid the groundwork for the construction of a fourth bridge shelter.
“We’re taking dramatic action to move homeless people off the streets and get them help,” Faulconer told Fox News. “Our strategy is to connect, support and shelter them.”
The plan includes safe parking zones for people living in their cars or RVs.
Finally, Assembly Bill 302 is making its way through Sacramento. The measure would force community colleges to allow homeless students to sleep on campus.
Specifically, the campus would have to:
offer emergency grants for students securing housing or facing the risk of losing housing;
dispense hotel vouchers through a public or community agency;
and provide homeless students with rapid re-housing referral services.
…Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, proposed the bill after hearing from college students who lacked stable housing.
“The harsh reality is that students are already sleeping in their vehicles. When we do not provide a safe place for students to sleep, we force them into the shadows where they are most vulnerable. The long term approach is to build more housing, but while we work to make that a reality, AB 302 is a step that we can take now to ensure that homeless students have a safe place to sleep at night.”
The best part? It is opposed by the typically progressive institutions, due to sanitation and security concerns.
The Community College League of California said in a statement that, “While we agree with the author that, like many Californians, homelessness is affecting many of our students, we are concerned that this well-meaning approach masks the deeper issue of lack of resources, such as financial aid for California’s community college students, and instead potentially subjects students to sanitation and safety issues.”
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