Video: California Counties and Cities Make Strides Against Homelessness

Homeless men sort through their belongings on a traffic island near downtown Los Angeles.

Homeless men sort through their belongings on a traffic island near downtown Los Angeles. Richard Vogel / AP Photo

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Identifying policy barriers is the first step toward alleviating the problem.

In California, homelessness isn't just an issue in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other urban centers. It impacts all of the Golden State's 58 counties, from Siskiyou in the north to Imperial in south.

A recently posted video from the California State Association of Counties details why collaboration is key among intergovernmental and other social service and community stakeholders in order to effectively address and respond to homelessness.

CSAC works with public safety, administrative justice and housing and land use agencies to identify a comprehensive set of policy barriers to securing affordable housing. In April, CSAC partnered with the League of California Cities to establish a Joint Homelessness Task Force .

“It’s bringing the electeds from cities and counties together to examine the issues,” says Farrah McDaid TIng, CSAC health and human services legislative representative, in this video . “And then we have our policy folks. We’re working in the legislature. We’re working with our members. We’re getting out there in the community.”

Workshops are another means of informing state and local leaders and legislators on the issue.

“While there is a lot of work left to do,” McDaid Ting says, “We’re receiving great feedback from our city partners, our members and the state on CSAC’s comprehensive efforts to address homelessness.”

At the city level, Los Angeles voters last week approved a ballot measure increasing property taxes in order to finance a $1.2 billion bond covering construction of 10,000 affordable and supportive housing units for its homeless population of about 28,000 people.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a number of homeless propositions made the November ballot.

Proposition C, providing for $250 million in seismic upgrades and affordable housing loans, passed, as did Proposition J, creating a fund for housing and homeless services. Unfortunately Proposition K, which would’ve raised the city sales tax by 0.75 percent to fill that fund with $50 million a year for homeless services and $100 million a year for transportation, failed—rendering Prop J an unfunded mandate.

San Francisco voters also approved a proposition granting the city authority to remove sidewalk tent camps with 24 hours’ notice, so long as their homeless residents are subsequently sheltered or their transportation out of town is covered.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Washington D.C.

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