Not Accepting Homelessness as a Way of Life

That is the secret to dealing with it effectively and this article from the LA Times reports on that stance as taken by Orange County and one that should be adopted by Sacramento, and I’ve highlighted the key statement.

An excerpt.

Orange County isn’t an exclusive club where only the wealthy can live. We’re 3 million people who have problems just like everyone else in California: We work hard to pay for housing, we’re overtaxed and we’re trying to eke out a safe existence in a county where many cities are facing an increase in property crime.

We put a premium on our quality of life. Law and order are our priorities. We are not complacent about our problems. Maybe that’s why people want to live here, including a large homeless population.

We have set aside $55 million for homeless services in the current county budget, plus $1.6 million for those with extreme mental health problems and an additional $90.5 million for housing.

The county operates two fall/winter shelters and two year-round facilities, including the well-planned transitional housing at the Bridges at Kraemer Place. The latter opened a year ago in my district and has operated successfully without incident despite initial community concerns.

Los Angeles County’s homeless population numbers well over 50,000; Orange County has about 5,000 homeless people. Los Angeles’ total population is three times larger than Orange County’s. If our rate of homelessness matched L.A.’s, we would have about 15,000 people on the streets. Perhaps Mayor Garcetti should be looking to us for solutions for his homeless problem, instead of taking potshots.

We don’t accept homelessness as a way of life, and we don’t enable the homeless population. We are dedicated to pulling the homeless out of that existence. A lawsuit on behalf of homeless people who wanted to continue living along the river has resulted in monitoring by a federal judge, who is requiring additional shelters throughout the county. Still, we have an anti-overnight camping ordinance, and we can use it to arrest lawbreakers.

In contrast, Los Angeles does not have an anti-camping ordinance, and it has decriminalized sleeping on the streets. The city’s essentially hands-off police presence beckons homeless people from across the nation like a neon sign. L.A.’s skid row encompasses 50 blocks, and it’s spreading.

One of Mayor Garcetti’s solutions is a pilot program to place homeless individuals in the backyards of homeowners (a huge liability lawsuit waiting to happen). The city and county are trying to build thousands of private-public housing units with no guarantee that the homeless will undergo mental health or job training to make them productive members of society.

Retrieved June 4, 2018 from


About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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