In the crisis mode that the state has been operating under for the last few years, we haven’t really done a great job of trying to create solutions for big, long term problems. And many of these big problems have only gotten bigger while we dithered.
Take homelessness. With the Sacramento tent city springing up and getting international attention, and then being “closed “, it is an unavoidable issue. Stories of the middle, and even upper middle, class rapidly falling into homelessness are easy to find.
Yet, despite all the stories of the homelessness problems, the Governor has done relatively little to combat the growing plague upon our state. And his proposed budget cuts, which are as CA Democratic Party Chair John Burton called “beyond cruel”, will only make things worse. Waay back in 2005, Arnold promised to create a program to address the issue, or at least the substantial portion caused by mental illness in his so-called Homelessness Initiative.
Another aspect of that Initiative was an intent to create an interagency council on homelessness. Despite that pledge, Arnold hasn’t convened such a council since 2005. So, Asm. Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) decided to push the issue. His AB 1177 creates an Interagency Council on Homelessness. By promoting communication through the multiple agencies that serve the homeless population in the state, hopefully the council will find ways to efficiently use resources and reduce duplication of efforts, and create greater accountability in state government.
It is particularly important now that every possible resource is perfectly targeted to address this massive issue. This is a good idea to work on just that problem. However, all the communication in the world won’t help if we destroy the social safety net.