Trump Warns California: Fix Homelessness Crisis, or US Government Will Step In

December 26, 2019 Updated: December 26, 2019
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President Donald Trump issued a warning to California and its Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, as the state grapples with its homelessness crisis.

“Governor Gavin N has done a really bad job on taking care of the homeless population in California,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Christmas Day. “If he can’t fix the problem, the Federal Govt. will get involved!”

Trump didn’t elaborate on how his administration would deal with the issue.

Photos of homeless people camping out in public parks and on the street in San Francisco and in Los Angeles have drawn widespread attention and criticism.

Trump was seemingly responding to comments made by Newsom to a reporter on Dec. 19, when he accused the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), led by former presidential candidate Ben Carson, for his state’s burgeoning homeless population.

“Shelters solve sleep. Housing and supportive services solve homelessness. Housing first. You have a new director on the Interagency Council on Homelessness in the United States appointed by Donald Trump that says housing [comes] fourth,” Newsom said.

Epoch Times Photo
Sleeping people, discarded clothes and used needles sit across the street from a staffed “Pit Stop” public toilet in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco, on July 25, 2019. (Janie Har/AP Photo)

Accusing the White House of not being “serious about this issue,” Newsom also claimed Trump and other Republicans of “playing politics with it … There’s been nothing but division coming and emanating from the folks at HUD and the Trump administration.”

However, it isn’t only Trump who has assailed the state’s handling of the problem. Some experts have said that California has poor oversight.

“This isn’t rocket science,” said John Snook, who runs the Treatment Advocacy Center, a group that advises states on mental health and homelessness around the country.

“Arizona is a red state that doesn’t spend a ton on its services, but is the best scenario in every aspect. World-class coordination with law enforcement. Strong oversight. They don’t let people fall apart and then return to jail in 30 days like California does,” he told Forbes.

In September, Trump told reporters that he’s considering using a task force to deal with the crisis.

“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco, and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” he told reporters at the time. He said residents of those cities “can’t believe what’s happening” and added that residents are now forced to leave.

“We have people living in our … best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings … where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige,” he said. “In many cases, they came from other countries and they moved to Los Angeles or they moved to San Francisco because of the prestige of the city, and all of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building. And they want to leave. And the people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up.”

In November, Trump faulted Newsom over how California was handling forest management. He accused Newsom of doing a “terrible job” as wildfires raged across the Golden State.