Trump orders crackdown on homelessness in California, as White House officials survey LA area’s ‘crisis’

President Donald Trump has directed White House officials to take on California’s homelessness crisis, including the encampments that fill many streets in and around Los Angeles, it was reported Tuesday.

The news comes as aides with the Los Angeles mayor’s office met Tuesday with a delegation from the White House to discuss strategies for combating homelessness.

The mayor’s staff gave Trump Administration officials a tour of the city’s unified homelessness response center, the Jordan Downs public housing complex that is undergoing redevelopment, prefabricated Flyaway Homes, and an emergency shelter in South Los Angeles.

“Our office learned very recently of the Administration’s plans to visit L.A., to learn more about our strategies for responding to the homelessness crisis,” said Alex Comisar, a spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, who sent a letter to the White House Tuesday publicly responding to the Administration’s visit and outlining steps on how federal officials can help. “We welcome them and look forward to showing them our work to confront this humanitarian emergency.”

A recent count found that there are more than 36,000 people who are homeless in the city of Los Angeles, a 16% jump from the previous year. Throughout Southern California, a lack of shelter has also taken its toll, even in smaller cities. In the San Gabriel Valley, Azusa saw a 127% from 2018 to 2019, for a total of 325 people counted one night in January. And closer to the coast, the South Bay — which includes the cities of Torrance, Redondo Beach, and L.A. neighborhoods such as San Pedro and Wilmington — had an estimated 4,388 people identified as homeless in 2019, a 6% increase from the previous year.

Top federal officials have told the Washington Post that representatives from the White House and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are in California this week for meetings, and that Los Angeles’s skid row is one of the key areas they are interested in.

The ideas being discussed include taking down homeless tent encampments, setting up temporary facilities or revamping government buildings, officials told the national publication. The Washington Post story said that it was unclear what legal authorities the federal government would have to carry out the plans now being developed.

Some have viewed Trump’s efforts as targeting Democratic leaders in California, with Trump frequently blaming Democratic officials for the magnitude of the homelessness crisis in the state.

Trump signed an executive order in June that created a council to look into removing “regulatory barriers” that drive up the cost of constructing housing.

“Like many Americans, the president has taken notice of the homelessness crisis, particularly in cities and states where the liberal policies are combining to dramatically increase poverty and public health risks,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere.

“President Trump has directed his team to go further and develop a range of policy options for consideration to deal with this tragedy,” Deere said.

Meanwhile, some experts on housing say that homelessness is happening as housing costs have gone up, and made worse by cuts to funds that …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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