The Golden State is currently facing a vagrancy epidemic, with places including San Francisco and San Diego plagued with businesses shutting down and encampments. Now, Democratic governor Gavin Newsom has admitted California’s homeless crisis is a disgrace but blamed Republicans for creating the situation.
Newson was grilled on the homeless crisis by Fox News host Sean Hannity, and he shared that California has not made progress in the last two decades.
He added that the state didn’t progress as “it relates to homelessness because housing costs are too high, our regulatory thickets are too problematic, and localism has been too impactful—meaning people locally are pushing back against new housing starts and construction.” According to the Public Policy Institute of California, homelessness figures have risen 13% in the state during Newsome’s time as governor.
The statistics from the Public Policy Institute of California show a 6.8% increase between 2019 and 2022 and a further 6% increase between 2020 and 2022. Newson, however, claimed he had only been in office for four years, and that was not sufficient time to “make up for the fact that in 2005, we had a historic number of homeless under a Republican administration. He added, “I own this. I take responsibility for this when confronted with California’s homelessness figures.
Hannity noted that California currently reports over 170,000 homeless people across the state, to which Newson replied, “I just got 68,000 people off the streets last year, and by the way, that’s been PolitiFact’d. 68,000.
‘I have a $15.3 billion homeless plan. When I got here, it was half a billion dollars. The state of California was not involved in the homeless issue. We got involved.’ He continued, ‘We’re holding cities and counties accountable. I’m suing cities that are not producing housing. We actually have a 15-year high in new housing starts in the state of California. We’re actually seeing programs produce real results, but I want accountability.’
Newsom confessed that businesses were leaving and the state’s cities were plagued with safety issues but insisted: ‘I love this state. I don’t like what’s happening with encampments, and I don’t like what’s happening to streets and sidewalks.
‘I don’t like the bashing of my old city, San Francisco. Whole Foods did shut down one business, but that was in a bad location, to begin with. They’re opening a new one, referring to the closure of the upmarket supermarket in San Francisco just a year after it opened. As per the Daily Mail, Whole Foods opened a new location at Trinity Place in the city’s Tenderloin district in March 2022, but its spokesperson declared the store closed down in April due to safety concerns for its staff.
‘We are closing our Trinity location only for the time being,’ the spokesperson said in a statement. ‘If we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store, we will evaluate a reopening of our Trinity location.’ The retail crisis further deepened in May when Nordstrom announced the closures of its stores and Nordstrom Rack. In a statement, the company referred to the ‘dramatically’ changed ‘dynamics’ of downtown San Francisco, impacting customer foot traffic and our ability to operate successfully.’
Hotel consulting firm AVE CEO Michelle Russo had also told the Journal that concerns over safety have made San Francisco a no-go area. Russo said that the impact of a lack of conventions will be greatly felt for some time as most organizers typically book space years in advance. As a result, ‘hotels are not worth as much today as they were pre-Covid in San Francisco,’ Russo said. However, according to government figures for San Francisco, there were 5,400 individuals experiencing homelessness in 2005, compared to more than 7,700 in 2022.
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