Deacon Jim Vargas on California’s homeless crisis
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – California is the richest state in the union, but despite its wealth, the Golden State also has the largest population of poverty, the fourth largest population of homeless people and a housing crisis that dates back to the 1970s.
Sixty years of delay, and nothing on the horizon to address this crisis head on. For example, this year Governor Gavin Newsom pledged to build 3.5 million homes.
SB50 was introduced to streamline construction, protect renters, fund affordable housing and reform zoning laws.
Senate leader Toni Atkins created a committee exclusively for housing. She and the governor had a super-majority to do their bidding. In May, the bill was shelved and the governor was largely absent during debate.
There are few people who know more about this problem than Deacon Jim from Father Joe’s Villages. Two housing projects are about to close that will house 485 chronically homeless people.
In the nearly 30 years of covering this issue in San Diego, there have been three master plans to end homelessness, yet the problem has increasingly become worse.