Among Other California Government Failures, Homelessness Crisis Dogs Newsom

California Governor Gavin Newsom has a lot to answer to the state’s voters for, which is why the governor who won the election by such a wide margin (so long ago in 2018) faces so much voter wrath at Tuesday’s imminent recall election tally.

His mishandling of the coronavirus response, overreacting by far, closing down California’s businesses, leaving its families living stranded in their homes cowering in fear for months, no doubt animates much of the voter outrage against this administration.

But the ones hunkered down in their homes were even the lucky ones as the entire world flipped upside down over the past 18 months, with Gov. Gavin Newsom chief among the leaders helping to make it happen.

Many others suffered unhoused, living in hotels or with friends, or worse on the streets in urban, coastal California’s infamous, ugly, sprawling homeless districts. Not that the people are ugly. What’s ugly is that the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world could have allowed the problem to get this bad.

Writing at Red State, Jennifer Oliver O’Connell disclosed that she’d been forced from her home by the skyrocketing rise in housing prices. The state’s mismanagement of the housing economy has left her and others like her without anywhere to go. O’Connell is staying at an extended stay hotel for now, and others have it much worse.

In June, NPR reported that the downtown area of San Francisco is full of tents, makeshift cardboard beds, and human feces all over the sidewalks. According to the news site, destitute homeless people can be seen lying on the ground as some of the world’s highest-paid professionals stroll by on their way to work in the city’s expanding corporate office towers.

The report further related that this is typical of the American West Coast today and that tent cities litter San Diego to Seattle. How could the homelessness problem have gotten so bad with such a bright, shining, liberal, compassionate hope of marvelous modern management as Gavin Newsom in the governor’s office?

Stating the problem is simple enough: There aren’t enough houses. The chronic housing shortage leads to a horrible real-life game of musical chairs. The people were clinging to the bottom of society, overwhelmed by the worst personal problems, and even some of the people who just come up short of the massive amounts of money required to buy or rent the ever more expensive dwindling supply of housing, don’t get a place to live.

In 2016, the McKinsey Global Institute projected that California would need 3.5 million new housing units built to meet demand, ensuring that everyone who wants to live has a place to live by 2025. But since then, under California’s mismanagement, housing starts have slowed, not increased. That’s despite Gov. Newsom’s promise to build all 3.5 million of those houses by the deadline. Instead, the state has had around 100,000 housing starts a year since he took office, even before the pandemic. The number fell after that, of course.