Homelessness: An Emergency We Cannot Ignore

Homelessness in San Francisco – and urban cities across the state – is a growing crisis that we can’t tackle alone.

Homelessness is a statewide issue – California’s homeless population is the largest in the nation and includes countless seniors, children, veterans and people with disabilities.

Make no mistake – we are in a state of emergency.

This is a statewide problem – and the entire state needs to help solve it. The top 5 cities in the United States with the highest rates of unsheltered homeless in 2015 are all in California. Los Angeles alone has seen a 20 percent rise in its overall homeless population from 2014 to 2015.

While big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles can and should do more, and do better, the reality is that many homeless individuals on our streets are not from our cities, they are from other cities or even out of state.

So we must treat homelessness as a regional issue and ask the state for assistance in order to successfully and compassionately address homelessness as one connected challenge, not the sole responsibility of big cities.

That’s why I’m proposing we declare a California state of emergency on homelessness. Please sign my petition to support this declaration.

Sign the petition to ask California to declare a statewide emergency on homelessness.

The state recently took away funds for redevelopment that would have helped fund affordable housing to help those who need it most get off the street. But without the resources, cities are struggling to do more with less.

This problem is not a recent development. It’s been brewing for decades. The federal and state government have retreated their resources for homeless individuals and mental health services. And now with the cost of living in California skyrocketing, the problem has been exacerbated.

Progress is starting to be made. State Senate Democrats recently introduced a plan to provide up to $2 billion for local agencies to construct permanent housing for those living on the streets with psychological disorders. It’s a great first step, and we need to support their efforts to get the legislation passed.

But we need to go further. If California declares a state of emergency on homelessness, cities can receive state funding and staffing resources needed to build more affordable housing, funds to provide more shelter beds, funds for rent subsidies, personnel to provide mental health services and counseling and so much more.

No city in California has been immune to homelessness, and no city can successfully address this problem on its own. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to help our homeless population – especially by creating more affordable housing in our immensely expensive city – but it’s simply not possible to address homelessness in our current budget climate without state assistance.

It’s time to act. Please sign my petition to tell our state government that we need to declare a statewide emergency on homelessness.

Addressing homelessness is not impossible. There are solutions out there – we need to do it together.

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