Trump Wants to Help End Homelessness in California Cities

July 19, 2019 Updated: July 23, 2019

President Donald Trump expressed frustration while discussing the homelessness problem in Los Angeles and San Francisco during a recent interview, calling the situation “disgraceful.”

“It’s very sad. Very sad. It’s a phenomenon that started two years ago. It’s disgraceful,” Trump told Fox News. Adding that he’s thinking about getting involved, he said he would like to “get that whole thing cleaned up.”

“I’m looking at it very seriously. We’re doing some other things, as you probably know … but we’re looking at it very seriously.”

While the president didn’t hint at what type of program he would try to implement to help California tackle its homelessness problem, some experts believe the president isn’t looking for a quick fix. Instead, he might embrace a solution that could give the homeless population a chance to get back on their feet.

According to Baron Christopher, a turnaround consultant and start-up affordable housing real estate developer, Trump likely wants to give the homeless “a fighting chance.”

“Trump is less interested in policies than he is core rules,” he told The Epoch Times. “What he always wants are solutions, measurable results, and simply more people off the street or back in a sustainable job so they don’t commit crimes, harm others, or engage in hard drug use.”

Whatever he decides to do at the federal level, Christopher added, it won’t involve “a giveaway.”

“Trump typically makes people jump through hoops to prove they will earn their keep, basing rewards on some degree of merit or show of effort. I would not be surprised if [his] … homeless housing solutions involve a tier system or matriculation process — akin to how halfway houses work — slowly moving the bulk of homeless people through a transition process or stage of independent living.”

In the book “Ending Homelessness: Why We Haven’t, How We Can,” the authors highlight insights from a variety of experts who talk about the importance of looking at homelessness as a local problem, adding that those living in the streets are not only after housing. Instead, they, too, want to feel like an important part of society by finding meaningful employment. In spite of this desire, many government policies have done nothing to address that need, as the scholarly paper The Impact of Federal Homelessness Funding on Homelessness by David S. Lucas shows, with decades worth of federal subsidizing of housing not yet improving the situation.

But while the authors of “Ending Homelessness” blame the market for the current crisis, Lucas explains that government has created a “homelessness industry,” which encourages government officials to take actions that do not result in long-term solutions.

According to “Ending Homelessness,” housing and homelessness service workers ultimately know that when they are doing their job well, they “will soon be out of work.’”

Rob Moore, a nonpartisan health and human services policy analyst, told The Epoch Times that if Trump were to intervene to help Los Angeles and San Francisco bring an end to the homelessness problem, the administration would be better off understanding this dynamic by looking at efforts put forth by previous administrations.

“The Bush administration spent considerable resources on trying to reduce homelessness in cities to varying results,” said Moore.

To make a difference, he added, Salt Lake City could provide a positive example.

“Salt Lake City has achieved [substantial] reductions through sustained investment, smart placement of transitional housing, and high caseworker-to-client ratios. If the Trump administration wants to put its money where its mouth is, it will fund initiatives that draw from the successes of the Salt Lake City experience.”

Unfortunately, he added, the president may have a hard time bringing about change as implementing these policies would require cooperation “with cities and future administrations to create lasting change.”

That “may be a tall task with the political hurdles he currently faces,” Moore concluded.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said he would welcome the president if he’s truly interested in helping.

During an interview on KNX Newsradio, Garcetti said that Trump’s interest was a good thing for the city.

“Any day the president is talking about homelessness is a good day,” he explained.

He then added that while the president mentioned that the homelessness issue had been going on for a couple of years, it’s been a problem for much longer than that.

“I welcome federal help,” he added. “To me this is going to require all hands. I think people are so sick of the political games. So if [Trump] wants to roll up our sleeves and meet us, I’m ready.”

In an email to The Epoch Times, CEO of real estate agency Crossman & Company, John Crossman, agreed, saying that while both the federal government and local agencies look for long-term solutions, it’s important to take some small steps to help those in need.

To be effective, he told The Epoch Times, Trump should “partner with [Alcoholics Anonymous] and other similar organizations to create consistent programs that will provide resources to those dealing with addictions,” and “provide a system of psychiatric treatment that is free,” but grant access only to patients “[who] work service hours.”

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