News

Researchers argue Bay Area could end homelessness with $11.8B investment

'They deserve better and we must do better'

The Bay Area could end its homelessness problem with an $11.8 billion investment, according to a report released Thursday by the Bay Area Council, a business advocacy group.

The report calls for one-time investments totaling $9.3 billion and $2.5 billion in annual investments. Authors of the report say the money could come from local, regional, and state sources, including a voter-approved measure that raises $10 billion.

Sobering statistics on homelessness in the region show that 73% of the homeless population is unsheltered, the highest rate in the nation.

Also, the rise in homelessness in the region has accounted for 30% of the total rise in homelessness in the country since 2017. Since 2010, the Bay Area's homeless population has grown four times faster than the region's population.

"They (homeless people) are our neighbors," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who is vice chair of the Bay Area Council's Economic Institute, which wrote the report.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support DanvilleSanRamon.com for as little as $5/month.

Join

Earlier in the week, Schaaf and two Oakland city councilmembers announced legislation to provide opportunities for the private market to supply Oakland with lower-cost housing such as mobile and manufactured homes.

The legislation also provides opportunities for people to live in tiny homes and recreational vehicles without the fear of having to leave those homes at some point.

"They (homeless people) deserve better and we must do better," said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, which provided support for the report.

More state funding is key to achieving some goals in the report and state lawmakers face a June 15 deadline to approve a new state budget.

Researchers at the institute, including economist Adrian Covert, who presented the report's findings in a webinar Thursday morning, suggest taking an approach that hasn't been tried before in the U.S.

That approach goes beyond a mandate to provide shelter to people, something Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed at one time.

Mandates have been effective in New York and other places in getting people off the street, but people are languishing in shelters for years.

Instead, the institute's team recommended a blended approach that includes increasing the number of temporary or emergency shelters, expanding services such as rental assistance so people can stay in their homes, and building lots of housing for extremely low-, very low- and low-income residents.

The institute's researchers also recommend investing in mental health and substance abuse programs, something they said is critical.

"We have an opportunity to improve on what's been done before," Covert said.

The report recommends passing the $10 billion ballot measure and passing legislation to make it easier to build new housing, especially rental housing.

It also recommends declaring a shelter crisis in cities where 10% of the homeless people are unsheltered. That would trigger the quick approval of new shelters.

Lastly, it recommends more federal money to fully fund the Section 8 program.

"I think it's time to take it with the seriousness it (homelessness) deserves," Markovich said.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get the latest local news and information sent straight to your inbox.

Looking for more Livermore stories? The Livermore Vine will be your new source of vital news and information. Sign up to be among the first to get our daily local news headlines sent to your inbox for free.

Follow DanvilleSanRamon.com on Twitter @DanvilleSanRamo, Facebook and on Instagram @ for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Stay informed on important city government news. Sign up for our FREE daily Express newsletter.

Researchers argue Bay Area could end homelessness with $11.8B investment

'They deserve better and we must do better'

by / Bay City News Service

Uploaded: Sun, Jun 6, 2021, 4:49 pm

The Bay Area could end its homelessness problem with an $11.8 billion investment, according to a report released Thursday by the Bay Area Council, a business advocacy group.

The report calls for one-time investments totaling $9.3 billion and $2.5 billion in annual investments. Authors of the report say the money could come from local, regional, and state sources, including a voter-approved measure that raises $10 billion.

Sobering statistics on homelessness in the region show that 73% of the homeless population is unsheltered, the highest rate in the nation.

Also, the rise in homelessness in the region has accounted for 30% of the total rise in homelessness in the country since 2017. Since 2010, the Bay Area's homeless population has grown four times faster than the region's population.

"They (homeless people) are our neighbors," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who is vice chair of the Bay Area Council's Economic Institute, which wrote the report.

Earlier in the week, Schaaf and two Oakland city councilmembers announced legislation to provide opportunities for the private market to supply Oakland with lower-cost housing such as mobile and manufactured homes.

The legislation also provides opportunities for people to live in tiny homes and recreational vehicles without the fear of having to leave those homes at some point.

"They (homeless people) deserve better and we must do better," said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California, which provided support for the report.

More state funding is key to achieving some goals in the report and state lawmakers face a June 15 deadline to approve a new state budget.

Researchers at the institute, including economist Adrian Covert, who presented the report's findings in a webinar Thursday morning, suggest taking an approach that hasn't been tried before in the U.S.

That approach goes beyond a mandate to provide shelter to people, something Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed at one time.

Mandates have been effective in New York and other places in getting people off the street, but people are languishing in shelters for years.

Instead, the institute's team recommended a blended approach that includes increasing the number of temporary or emergency shelters, expanding services such as rental assistance so people can stay in their homes, and building lots of housing for extremely low-, very low- and low-income residents.

The institute's researchers also recommend investing in mental health and substance abuse programs, something they said is critical.

"We have an opportunity to improve on what's been done before," Covert said.

The report recommends passing the $10 billion ballot measure and passing legislation to make it easier to build new housing, especially rental housing.

It also recommends declaring a shelter crisis in cities where 10% of the homeless people are unsheltered. That would trigger the quick approval of new shelters.

Lastly, it recommends more federal money to fully fund the Section 8 program.

"I think it's time to take it with the seriousness it (homelessness) deserves," Markovich said.

Comments

Tom
Registered user
Danville
on Jun 6, 2021 at 10:27 pm
Tom, Danville
Registered user
on Jun 6, 2021 at 10:27 pm

When with Californians learn that the more money we throw at “homelessness,” the more comfortable we make the lives of the many drug addicts that are the homeless population. The more comfortable they are, the less likely they are going to find their bottom and try to turn their lives around.

The humanitarian crisis here is the enablement via tax dollars that sees our homeless populations grow year after year, despite throwing ever more money at them. Spend $12 billion this year and I promise you, the number of homeless will double within the decade.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.