Solutions to Homeless Problem Should Not Target Homeowners

sanfranciscohomelessAs the search for solutions to the homeless problem continues, current property owners and the equity they have in their homes are often cited as targets for funding homelessness relief. What is ignored with these proposed remedies is that homeowners are counting on the equity in their homes to help with retirement or other needs.

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Steve Lopez’s Los Angeles Times weekend article took issue with the wealth built up in homes partially because of limited housing stock while renters face difficult options.

While Lopez cited obstacles to housing reforms, he quoted two professors who suggested ways to find funding for homeless housing. One proposal was a “a tiered transfer tax on equity” promoted by Carol Galante of U.C. Berkeley’s Terner Center for Innovative Housing.

Lopez also spoke with UCLA professor Michael Manville who thinks it is okay to tax property because the increased value of the property has nothing to do with the efforts of the homeowner.

Manville, along with colleagues, wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times last July urging a $3 a day tax on property owners to build a homelessness fund. That $3 a day amounts to $1095 a year, a sizeable chunk of change for many homeowners who can find good uses for that money including maintaining or improving their homes.

Whether the increased property value comes from a wise investment decision or just dumb luck as Lopez writes, the value belongs to the homeowner. While the homeowner lives in the home, the increased property values are merely paper profits. Increased property value does not necessarily reflect an owner’s ability to pay increased taxes. When the increased property value is claimed it can be the lifeline to a comfortable retirement or for other needs.

While the legislature went down this path recently of charging property owners to help the homeless by creating fees for housing related documents, cutting into potential retirement funds with large annual or transfer taxes is a bad idea.

What’s disturbing is that those who enjoy government provided retirement pensions often suggest these proposals that can undermine a homeowner’s potential retirement fund.

Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily.


  1. Laugh, guess that money I have invested in rental property that could make far more with smart investment, should be pulled out.

    Wealth involved in house idiot is the private sector answer to gov. theft by socialist taxes.

    Now about the retirement and benefits that outstrip the private sector but relies on the private sector taxes to get them. Sigh.

  2. California ALREADY has billions in funds set aside for the Homeless issue, but our “Leaders” are held captive by weak law enforcement parameters, as well as confusion about what the best solution to the problem that the California government has itself created…A case of being so deep in the forest they cannot see the trees!
    Between the problems the ACLU has created, and the socialist ideology of Brown’s idea of California governance, this is a real and ever growing problem for every Californian.

  3. The minute I saw “Lopez” I knew it was a liberal solution. He, Hiltzik, Goldberg and Lazurus are the reasons I told the Times where to put their paper. Forgot the racist, bigoted Mexican cartoonist, Lazlo (?) somebody.

  4. Does this mean the state will pay the home owner $3 per day when house prices crash again and people end up under water on their homes?

  5. The hundreds of millions of dollars funneled from LEGAL United States of America citizen services, like the CAL Fire-CDF, CAL-EDD that have been going to support the illegal mexicans could have been used to build simple, but adequate housing for the homeless.

  6. Emanuelle Goldstein says

    I love all these solutions to the homelessness problem. They always assume that homeless people will actually WANT to live in whatever units are built for them. The authors never account for those who are mentally ill and who’s illness compels them to live on the street. The authors never account for the “free spirits” who prefer not to live under constraints of society and society’s rules. The authors never account for the “individualists” driven to be different, throw off the establishment, etc. No, the homeless are just a homogeneous herd that can be corralled and domesticated because the Gods of Urban Planning have ordained it.

  7. One proposal was a “a tiered transfer tax on equity” We are going in the wrong direction

  8. J. Richards Garcia says

    The homeless issue, mainly caused by democrats especially Governor Brown when he emptied mental institutions years ago causing a great increase in former mental patients without places to live and refusing offers to solve their homeless status.
    Today, immigration, especially from and through Mexico but actually from anywhere on planet earth, is a thinly disguised way to increase millions of democrat voters. This is the biggest crime of illegal stuffing ballot boxes in human history, and an immediate threat to the United States today! The threat is multi-edged: political, crime, invasion, financial bankruptcy, hospital and health system collapses, and terrorism. But today many illegal immigrants, all criminals, are without housing. Sending millions of illegal immigrants back across the border would instantly cure the so-called housing crunch.
    At the same time, the democrats push for public, taxpayer-supported bonds for high-rise ghettos (stack-and-pack) next to dishonest, failing BART will make us all prisoners of tyrants not elected to manage regional governments. Regional governments, the creation of democrats, must takeover or dissolve city and county governments to accomplish their goal of total displacement of homeowners in support of so-called climate warming and the environment.
    Said another way: Existing homeowners are the prime targets of being, first taxed beyond their ability to pay, then being finally de-wealthed through other tax policies, followed by total displacement out of their homes into high-rise ghettos near BART stations.
    Housing is a fake issue because San Francisco bayarea planners, who directly caused the shortages, can cure the problem by simply re-zoning large amounts of vacant land and loosen restrictions on housing permits.
    Never has there been a larger conflated toxic brew than the housing deficit, financial and debt-crisis, immigration, hospital and health care, illegal voter fraud, and immediate dangers of crime and terror.
    Somewhere, Lucifer is smiling broadly.

    • You’re both way off and neither Govs. Brown or Reagan had anything to do with it other than Ronald Reagan was governor at the time the bill passed. The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act does not ALLOW any person involuntarily committed in this state without a hearing in front of a Judge. In emergencies they can be held for 3 days and then an additional 14 days. However, if the court finds that they are not an immediate danger to themselves or anyone else and capable of caring for their own needs such as brushing their own teeth, the court will not allow them to remain committed and will order their immediate release.

  9. I live in liberal Los Angeles County. The libs had a homeless tax on the last ballot, and it got voted in, raising our sales tax to 9.25%. There is no way I’m going to be buying a new car anytime soon! So what will be done with the new windfall of money? I see no construction happening. I suspect a new bureaucacy of high-paid political cronies will “study” the problem… until the funds dry up. Because I have equity in a tiny 1,000 sqft. house that I bought 31 years ago, why should I be the one responsible to pay for this? If my house was up for sale today, there is no way I could afford it. As mentioned in the article, it is my retirement asset.

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