|(Jan. 14, 2020, 3:10 p.m.) -- An advisory body created and chosen by Governor Gavin Newsom to offer recommendations on homelessness has called for a state constitutional amendment to be put on the ballot by the state legislature in November 2020 to create a "legally enforceable mandate" requiring cities and the state -- meaning city and state taxpayers -- to create the capacity to provide housing to homeless persons including funding and rapid approval to site homeless related housing -- or face lawsuits and possible court orders requiring them to do so.
A Jan. 13, 2020 "Interim Report from the Governor's Council of Regional Homeless Advisors," obtained by LBREPORT.com, signed by all 13 of its Governor-chosen members (listed below) doesn't call the "legally enforceable mandate" a "right to housing" but is peremptory in tone and substance.
"The state must establish in law that it is not morally or legally acceptable to deny housing for people on the streets and create the legal mandates and funding mechanisms necessary to dramatically improve this unacceptable condition," the advisory group's report stated. It called for making the legal mandate enforceable through a "public right of action" (details below) "that requires state and local governments to create the capacity to bring unsheltered homeless people under a roof, including both funding and rapid approval and siting of interim housing, permanent housing, supportive services, and targeted prevention to reduce homelessness by the tens of thousands."
The advisory group acknowledges that because of its fiscal impact relating to state mandate laws, creating a legally enforceable, results-based accountability mandate will require a state constitutional amendment. The group recommends that the state legislature place such a measure on the ballot in the coming months [LBREPORT.com believes 2/3 vote of Assembly and state Senate required] that voters statewide could enact with a majority vote in November 2020.
The advisory group recommends that "designated public officials" identified in the constitutional amendment be given the power "to file a public right of action [legal action] requesting the Superior Court in any non-compliant jurisdiction to either appropriate existing resources, consolidate resources with neighboring jurisdictions, override any siting restrictions, and/or effectuate any actions that would move the jurisdiction toward compliance. Any appeals would be heard by higher courts on an expedited basis."
The advisory group voiced hostility toward enforcing current laws against homeless/vagrant behaviors. "Sweeps and criminalization have been shown not to work in this effort. Strategies that explicitly or implicitly encourage these actions will be unacceptable."
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We propose that both state and local governments be held legally accountable to achieve the aims of dramatically reducing homelessness and creating avenues to rapid resolution. A legally enforceable, results-based, accountability mandate will require state and local governments to provide resources for, and reduce barriers to, the creation of both interim and permanent housing that is high quality, low barrier and complies with fair housing rules...
The Governor's advisory group recommended the following:
Create an Enforceable, Results-Based Accountability Mandate to End Homelessness
The members of Governor Newsom's created and chosen "Council of Regional Homeless Advisors" are:
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Co-Chair
The proposal creates Long Beach political issues with City Council elections approaching in districts 2, 6 and 8 (do the incumbents or candidates seeking to replace them support such a constitutional amendment?) and Mayor Robert Garcia (who's begun raising sums for 2026 Lt. Governor run) taking positions thus far consistent with Governor Newsom and Sacramento's Democrat legislative majority.
On January 13, 2020 Governor Newsom called himself the state's "homeless czar" in unveiling his proposed FY21 state budget that seeks $1 billion in homeless-related funding. That sum comes on top of millions-into-the-billions in local, regional, state and federal taxpayer spending on homeless related matters while homeless encampments continue to proliferate.
Governor Newsom (currently touring homeless-related facilities statewide) stated on January 13 that he "would lean in the direction" of swiftly enabling a legal "obligation" to provide services and housing but noted that a number of cities and counties had already volunteered to demonstrate the feasibility of such projects in the coming months.
In December 2018, a Long Beach "Task Force" chosen by Garcia produced a report praised by Garcia that advocated a "dedicated revenue source" to provide "affordable" (subsidized) housing and homeless related services. No LB City Council incumbent(s) voiced public dissent to that recommendation at that time. However on Jan. 7, 2020, Mayor Garcia remained mum when the Council, on a
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