Supervisor Jim Desmond: The Leader Who Exposes the Insanity of California’s Housing First Program

In the midst of California’s escalating homelessness crisis, Supervisor Jim Desmond emerges as a beacon of reason and accountability. With an unwavering commitment to his constituents and a firm stance against the Housing First approach, Desmond is the leader we need on the Board of Supervisors to enact real change and address the root causes of homelessness.

The Housing First program, championed by former County Supervisor Gavin Newsom, has proven to be nothing short of a disastrous failure. Despite pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into this approach, the problem has only worsened. It’s time to acknowledge that repeating the same failed policies will never yield different results – it’s a clear sign of political insanity.

Desmond recognizes the flaws inherent in the Housing First philosophy. While providing immediate housing for those in need may sound compassionate, the lack of requirements, conditions, and accountability perpetuates homelessness rather than resolving it. By removing the need for sobriety, treatment, and self-improvement, the system fails to address the core issues of addiction and mental health that contribute to chronic homelessness.

The state’s insistence on enforcing Housing First principles restricts the ability of counties and nonprofits to implement effective solutions tailored to their communities. If we truly want to make a difference, we must acknowledge that a one-size-fits-all approach cannot adequately address the complexities of homelessness. Desmond advocates for a more comprehensive strategy that provides not just housing, but also the necessary support, rules, and accountability to help individuals reintegrate into society successfully.

Furthermore, Desmond sheds light on the exorbitant costs associated with the Housing First program. The recent $157 million expenditure to purchase hotels, averaging an astronomical $478,000 per unit, showcases the financial irresponsibility of this failed approach. Taxpayers deserve accountability for the massive amount of money squandered on ineffective policies, especially when homelessness rates continue to soar.

Desmond’s position is grounded in facts and data. Prior to the implementation of Housing First in 2016, California experienced a significant decrease in chronic homelessness. However, since then, chronic homelessness has skyrocketed by a staggering 93%, reaching levels not seen in over a decade. Meanwhile, the rest of the nation has witnessed a decline in homelessness, proving that Housing First is not the solution we’ve been promised.

It’s time to shift our focus from perpetuating dependency to providing a genuine hand-up to those in need. Supervisor Jim Desmond advocates for addressing the underlying causes of homelessness, including mental health and addiction. By tackling these root issues head-on, we can create lasting solutions that restore our parks, sidewalks, and communities to their intended purpose.

Taxpayers deserve a government that prioritizes effective policies over political posturing. Supervisor Jim Desmond stands at the forefront, ready to challenge the status quo and bring about real change. Let us support Desmond’s vision for a compassionate, accountable, and effective approach to homelessness—one that truly serves the needs of our communities and ensures a brighter future for all. It’s time to put an end to the insanity and reclaim our state from the grips of failed policies.

Newsom’s homelessness insanity fails taxpayers

California’s Housing First program helps make homelessness even worse

By Jim Desmond

Original Article Link: Newsom’s homelessness insanity fails taxpayers | Fox News

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that there are many politicians on the verge of insanity in California. For years, we have witnessed billions of dollars spent trying to “House the Homeless,” yet the problem continues to worsen. One of the biggest reasons is the state’s only approach, Housing First.

California embarked on its Housing First journey by implementing “Care not Cash,” a policy rooted in Housing First principles, in San Francisco. The driving force behind this initiative was then-County Supervisor Gavin Newsom.

The state then doubled down on this policy by adopting Housing First in 2016. Then-Gov. Newsom further intensified these efforts in 2020 by introducing Project Homekey, a program to convert existing structures into permanent Housing First housing units.

Housing First prioritizes immediate, “low barrier” access to housing for those living on the streets. While this may sound like an admirable mission, the requirements for living in housing are … nothing! There aren’t any requirements, conditions or milestones such as sobriety or compliance with treatment or self-improvement.

All state-funded homeless programs must align with the core principles of Housing First, which include providing housing to tenants irrespective of their substance use. If the county or a nonprofit wants to add requirements that residents must be in treatment, or cannot use drugs or alcohol, then they are not eligible for state funding.

Housing First works for some. People who suddenly lose their income sources, a mom fleeing domestic violence and other circumstances occur in people’s lives where they need a place to stay to get back on their feet. The problem is Housing First does not work for many people chronically on the street, but the state mandates it’s the only approach allowed.

Free housing with no accountability or requirement for treatment of core issues and behavior perpetuates homelessness for many people addicted to drugs or alcohol and with severe mental health issues. These people need rules, support and accountability to incorporate back into society.

Last week, the state of California and the city and county of San Diego agreed to spend $157 million on purchasing hotels. This breaks down to an astronomical $478,000 per unit. Again, without requiring any accountability or drug treatment.

If this approach truly worked, we would witness declining homelessness rates. However, the reality is that homelessness continues to rise, despite the California already squandering over $10 billion on “homeless solutions” in just the past three years. Housing First is a failed formula, burdening our communities with disastrous results.

Between 2005 and 2016, chronic homelessness in California decreased by 51%. However, this positive trend took a sharp reversal after the implementation of Housing First in 2016. Between 2016 and 2022, chronic homelessness increased by a staggering 93%, reaching levels not seen since 2005.

Today, nearly one in three homeless individuals in the country resides in California. The rest of the nation has seen a decrease in homelessness, with the homeless count dropping from 622,000 in 2012 to 582,000 in 2022.

Enabling addicts to continue using drugs is not compassionate. We wouldn’t allow our friends or family members to spiral into addiction without intervening, so why should we allow members of our community to do so?

Housing First prioritizes immediate, “low barrier” access to housing for those living on the streets. While this may sound like an admirable mission, the requirements for living in housing are … nothing! There aren’t any requirements, conditions or milestones such as sobriety or compliance with treatment or self-improvement.

The focus should be on providing a hand-up, not a perpetual handout. We must address the root causes of homelessness, tackling issues such as mental health and addiction. Taxpayers deserve accountability for the exorbitant amount of money being spent, and they are rightfully tired of witnessing the problem persist and worsen.

It’s time to reclaim our parks, freeway onramps, sidewalks, open nature, homes and businesses from the grips of homelessness. We cannot continue to burden our hardworking taxpayers with a problem that stems from failed government policies.

It is time for this insanity to stop.

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