Walters: California spends billions on homelessness yet the crisis keeps getting worse

California not only has the nation’s largest number of homeless people, but one of its highest rates of homelessness vis-à-vis its overall population.

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The last official count found more than 181,000 Californians without homes, nearly a third of the nation’s homeless population. When new data are released later this year, the number will probably approach 200,000.

The numbers have continued to grow despite many billions of dollars in federal, state and local funds having been spent – $20 or so billion by the state alone over the last five years. As the problem worsens, it consistently ranks as one of Californians’ most pressing public policy issues, polling has found.

How is it, one might ask, that so much money could be spent with so little, if any, progress?

One factor, certainly, is that the underlying causes of homelessness, such as sky-high housing costs, family breakups, mental illness and drug addiction have not abated.

Another, probably, is that here is no consensus on what programs would be most successful and officialdom has taken a scattergun approach, providing money to a bewildering array of often overlapping programs and services in hopes of finding approaches that work.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who pledged 20 years ago to end homelessness in San Francisco when serving as the city’s mayor, is touting a measure on the March 5 ballot that would authorize bonds to build facilities for treating the mentally ill and redirect some funds from a two-decade-old special mental health tax into new programs. He’s also won legislative approval of “CARE courts” that could compel some mentally ill Californians into receiving treatment.

The multiplicity of programs to deal with homelessness cries out for some kind of independent appraisal of what’s been spent and how effective the spending has been.

We may get such an overview soon because the Legislature has approved a request from Republicans for the state auditor to delve into what’s been spent.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters


  1. Why wouldn’t California have 1/3 of the nation’s homeless when in 2021, headlines read, “Newsom invites world’s homeless to California.”

    Newsom is an idiot and continues to ruin California.

  2. California politicians have proven time and time again that it is so easy to spend air headed taxpayers money. The stupidity of this happening lies squarely at the hands of the California voters. When criminals find they can continue to get away with robbing the people they keep it up.

  3. It is simple……people who do not want to work, or take responsibility for their condition will always reach for FREE.

    Santa Barbara had a working homeless program. The people in the churches decided it was to wearing to help. They then created soup kitchen with 4 beds for really bad cases. Now have over 400 beds, serve food daily, and the numbers have exploded by a factor of a thousand.

    There will never be enough money to give for FREE what the do-gooders on the LEFT (aka Dems) want because it is compassionate.

  4. Until California politicians deal with the drug and mental illness issues, they will never slow the homeless situation. And the homeless-industrial complex of taxpayer funded NGOs who get rich enabling the homeless situation will continue. Now compound that with open borders and invitations from the political class to the entire world’s poor to come for freebies and we have a disaster that is only getting worse.

  5. California’s homeless problem is getting worse simply BECAUSE California is spending $Billions on homelessness. If you want less of something, you tax it. If you want more of something, you subsidize it. California subsidizes homelessness. So, what do you expect????

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