State senator wants to give CA homeless a ‘right to shelter’

Democratic lawmakers are already gearing up for brawls with Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom over costly efforts to expand state government with a single-payer health care system and a bold new push for subsidized pre-kindergarten education. Now, another ambitious bill with a huge price tag has emerged: one guaranteeing the state’s steadily growing homeless population an inherent right to government paid or provided shelter.

A 2017 federal estimate put the total number of California’s homeless at 134,000. If 100,000 took advantage of shelter at a cost of $100 per night, that’s a $3.65 billion annual outlay.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is the lead proponent. He told the Bay City Beacon that his “right to shelter” Senate Bill 48 is inspired by the policy put in place by New York City in 1981 after New York courts interpreted the state’s constitution as creating such a right.

“Shelter isn’t the ultimate goal – permanent housing is the goal – but shelter is a critical step in helping people get back on their feet. Access to shelter shouldn’t depend on where you live, yet in California today, it does. Too many parts of California either have no shelters or inadequate shelters,” Wiener said in a statement about his measure.

Wiener won praise from some fellow Bay Area politicians for his framing of the homeless crisis as a state problem, rather than one that should be seen exclusively as a local headache – one that San Francisco has seemed overwhelmed by in recent years.

“Elevating this up above our internal San Francisco food fight is certainly good,” San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said.

Proposal knocked for vagueness on details, funding

A 2017 report in The Urbanist online magazine found that while the focus had long been on San Francisco’s homeless population, officials in neighboring counties – Alameda, Oakland, San Mateo and Santa Clara – all struggled to come up with effective plans and funding to deal with their growing homelessness.

However, some of the coverage of Weiner’s bill paralleled the criticism that California Senate Democrats faced in 2017 when they passed Senate Bill 562. It would have committed the state to establishing a single-payer health-care system without offering such key details as how its $400 billion annual cost would be covered – or outlining how such a state law could overcome the obstacles to state single-payer that are well-established in federal law. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon knocked senators for expecting the Assembly to fix a bill that was “woefully incomplete.”

Similarly, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Heather Knight wrote last week of Wiener’s bill, “He doesn’t know exactly how it will work. He doesn’t know how much it will cost or how it will be funded.”

In interviews, Wiener offered a vague vision of a statewide network of “Navigation Centers” – friendlier, more supportive homeless shelters that offered access to health, substance abuse and other programs.

Inspired by New York City program with many critics

Yet even after Wiener begins fleshing out his proposal in substantive ways, California residents will learn that the history of New York City’s pioneering program is as problematic as inspirational. While the city’s program is widely praised on humanitarian grounds for sheltering more than 60,000 people a night, it has also long been a political punching bag that faces criticism from across the ideological spectrum.

A 2017 report by the Daily Beast website – normally sympathetic to liberal initiatives – was typical.

On the left, there are complaints about the shoddy, crime-ridden private facilities and residential hotels that the city contracts to handle some of the homeless.

Moderates worry that so much is spent on shelter that there’s not much money left to spend on programs to transition the homeless to jobs and productive lives.

Conservatives like the American Enterprise Institute’s Kevin Corinth say there’s statistical evidence that family homelessness is increasing much faster in New York City than nationally because once such families secure city shelter, parents lose their incentive to seek jobs or career training. The average stay in a shelter is more than a year.

But on his home turf, at least, Wiener is finding praise for thinking big.

“We can’t just have people languishing and dying in the streets as we wait decades to build enough affordable housing for everyone,” San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen told the Chronicle. “We need a safe, dignified place for people to be in the interim.”

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons photo of homeless woman in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.


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  1. Stoptheinsanity
    Stoptheinsanity 17 December, 2018, 09:58

    Addict in many cases is a more accurate description of what is commonly referred to as “Homeless”. Many of the people seen walking the streets are suffering from addiction or mental health issues brought about by chronic addiction. Homeless folk should be triaged. The folks who are functional should be the first to get help to get into housing. The dysfunctional addicts should be moved into Mr Wiener’s neighborhood so that he can get a clear understanding of the Behavior of addicts. (They really need treatment, court ordered if nessesary) There is a TV show on the Vice Channel called Intervention. Watch this show and you will see how professionals deal with addicts and how addicts will continue their self destruction as long as they are enabled by bleeding hearts. Our State Legislature needs to pay attention to these facts. Enabling self destructive behavior is destroying California. These addicts are currently living on Government right of ways throughout the State. Their waste and garbage are headed into our streams and rivers, their dysfunction and thievery spills out into our streets and neighborhoods and degrades life for all Californians. Weiner sees this and somehow thinks that if they create Legislation to put addicts into homes it will all get better? Who’s cleaning up after them Wiener? Are you?

    Reply this comment
  2. Ginny
    Ginny 17 December, 2018, 13:19

    Many of the homeless are addicted or mentally ill. The addicts will not go to the shelters because they do not want to follow the rules. As for the mentally ill, we need to reopen the hospitals that were closed. Update the facilities, get good doctors and staff. Many of these can be helped. I am a caregiver to a mentally ill person. I would never put him out on the street.

    Reply this comment
  3. Nick Prophy
    Nick Prophy 17 December, 2018, 16:06

    Wiener is a clear and present danger. His goal is state control of all housing decisions, type, code, and location.
    He was seen in San Francisco wearing a pink tutu on election day.

    Reply this comment
  4. Hcat
    Hcat 17 December, 2018, 19:15

    Very nice, but there can be no “right” to resources,other than property rights. The state performs some valuable services, but it cannot decree money or resources into existence.

    Reply this comment
  5. Anonymiss
    Anonymiss 17 December, 2018, 23:39

    How nice. Spend money we DON’T have. Oh, right. Just add another BIG tax on businesses and on “those rich bastards!” After all, they “don’t pay their fair share” right? Hey, CA politicians. Have you ever considered that “those rich bastards” might LEAVE the state rather than have their wealth, which they have worked hard for, redistributed to lazy ne’er do wells? So…what do we do with the ne’er do wells who hear “free housing! free medical car! free this! free that!” and say, “why not me?” then move their tents here. “HEY EVERYONE! California is giving out free stuff!!! Let’s go!”

    Reply this comment
  6. Anonymiss
    Anonymiss 17 December, 2018, 23:42

    You are exactly right. This entitlement stuff WILL stop at some point. Hopefully BEFORE the state goes bankrupt. We have a looming financial Armageddon already with CalPERS and CalSTRS with all their liabilities.

    Reply this comment
    KLFLANCASTER 18 December, 2018, 06:32

    Anyone who has had a Bird Feeder;
    Knows when the Feeder becomes Empty;
    The Birds Stop Coming.
    But this will Never Happen in California !
    The Feeder is always being filled;
    And the Birds are Migrating here by the Millions.
    Eventually California will run
    out of other peoples money.
    “That’s SOCIALISM”

    Reply this comment
  8. Queeg
    Queeg 18 December, 2018, 13:10

    Rome was sacked about six times by various goody seeking marauders, pagan fanatics, Atila types.

    Sacking California is different. Being done from within. Will be excrutiatingly painful/prolonged.

    First phase about complete…..clean out of the play by the rules middle class by the political and corporate globalist elites.

    Reply this comment
  9. Dean
    Dean 18 December, 2018, 14:21

    Democrat elected officials are simply cunning educated children in charge of power they know nothing about, other than to abuse it because they can. Give a child carte blanche and the keys to the city and you end up with J.B. and now G.N. Monkey’s can be trained to do what most of these liberal left winged bureaucrats are doing. They have no sense of actual responsibility to preserve and protect their franchise, let alone actual citizens. Tax revenue is simply THEIR money that they feel they can spend, on anything that their tiny minds manufacture. The last election proves it. The first 4 proposals on the ballot were costly bonds, one of them requiring tax revenue to be deferred from an older bond still not paid for by taxes. Incredible. Yet, the childish Democrats voted to approve all four of these new bonds. Any smart middle class or blue collar Mom and/or Dad raising responsible kids off of fixed incomes could run and operate California in their sleep simply by accessing the waste, needs and wants of it’s demographic. The homeless ‘vagrants’ are not normal or they wouldn’t be out on the street living in the manner they do. Mentally ill, drugged out or not, they are a menace, and in some cases, a danger to a nominally functioning society complying to healthy social standards. They can’t be trusted, can’t be expected to follow the rules. Que in New York. NY simply wastes the states taxpayers money by putting their vagrants up in $200 plus motel and hotel rooms to get them off the streets, most return. These people aren’t monitored ensuring that they are bathed, fed, and medically provisioned. They are left to their own devices. From some reports, city officials are getting kickbacks from these arrangements. Each motel/hotel owner allows for a given amount of rooms to let out, then charges enormous fee’s, splits the difference up with the city. Imagine that. Where’s the RICO act? Democrat politicians are full of shenanigans, like… “Given the RIGHT to a shelter.” Ahh, such noble ignorance.

    Reply this comment
    • johnboy
      johnboy 18 December, 2018, 16:10

      Dean your post sounds a great deal like the posts read during the Trump campaign. Unfortunately it then came from the communist bots by Russia designed to sew discord, distrust, and anger among its readers. This is America. These homeless people are Americans whether they are addicts or just down on their luck. We help Americans.

      Reply this comment
      • ricky65
        ricky65 18 December, 2018, 20:49

        No. We help those who are willing to help themselves. To the 90 % of homeless who are addicts and parasitic ticks on the ass of humanity: Go to hell. You get nothing but my boot in your ass.

        Reply this comment
        • Ted S
          Ted S 20 December, 2018, 13:41

          You are a pathetic excuse for a compassionate human Ricky. Have you ever been to any church? Do you have an ethos of any type?

          Reply this comment
          • ricky65
            ricky65 21 December, 2018, 08:51

            Where’s your compassion, you senile old fart? It’s people like you who have made heroes of these drug addict homeless while you pile scorn onto people who try to do the right thing by working and contributing to society.
            You and your liberal friends have allowed millions of illegal alien invaders into the state to use up all the available housing and put 70% of them on some sort of government assistance.
            You and your wacko enviro policies have blocked housing and a ‘right to shelter’ for the hollowed out middle class. You and yours have made energy unaffordable for all but the rich in the state and driven the cost of living to the highest in the nation. I don’t need any lectures from you about compassion, Ted the Red.
            And don’t give me your righteous BS about Jesus. You hate religion and religious folks. To you, Jesus is your illegal alien landscaper.
            You’re the kind of lib who’s idea of compassion is sticking a fork in an unborn baby’s head.
            You can go to hell too as you surely will.

          • Anonymiss
            Anonymiss 21 December, 2018, 12:08

            So Ted, since you have so much compassion for the homeless…how many of these downtrodden and forsaken homeless people do you have living in your house? How about the ones who have a “fuck the rules! I’ll do what I want to do…WHEN I want to do it!” attitude? How about that one who SUED for her “right to sleep outdoors”? The way some homeless people think is really strange. Try dealing with someone who has ZERO income but qualifies for some form of disability…but would rather live under a bridge with NO money than get a disability check every month and a roof over their head because “I don’t want to pay 1/3 of my money for the rent someplace”? They would rather live under a bridge without any money…

          • Ted Steele
            Ted Steele 26 December, 2018, 11:15

            Ricky— Read the bible dude– you are waaaaaay off of Christ’s message. Using principles espoused by my Lord Jesus Christ exactly who would you shelter? Who would you feed? And please site to any biblical authority for your choices?

            Jesus was a radical, I have no doubt that you would not have followed him had you been on the scene 2k years ago.

            I also can see that during the American revolution you surly would have been loyal to the King—-

            I can spot the “dull-normal” follower sheeple a mile away…..

  10. Inlitenem
    Inlitenem 18 December, 2018, 16:19

    Whatever became of personal responsibility? Accountability? Being a contributing member of society? Enhancing ones surroundings? Why does the Legislature and the 9th Circut Court enable addiction? If we refer to addicts as “Homeless” it’s now a protected right to wander about in various states of intoxication behaving badly? A right to force your drug riddled dysfunction on the community? Didn’t Dr. Jack Kevorkian serve 8 years in prison for assisted suicide? When the 9th Circut Court or the Legislature protects and enables addiction they are also guilty of assisted suicide. These chronic addicts left untreated usually end up dying early. Their Illegal camps degrade the environment. Communities, Sidewalks, Parks, Trails & Store fronts which all suffer from the blight. As far as functional work ready individuals, the elderly or disabled folks, yes, they could use to be assisted into homes. The addicted need intervention and monitoring. We don’t tolerate drunk drivers on our highways, we shouldn’t be tolerating drug addicts on our streets. Our Legislature should be working to clean up California, not turn it into a drug riddled flop house. (Which it pretty much is now unless your living in your gated community.) Wake up Sacramento!

    Reply this comment
  11. Ted Steele
    Ted Steele 19 December, 2018, 14:40

    As Christians who follow our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, shouldn’t we do everything we can to screw the homeless people? I mean, they could get jobs and pull themselves up by their bootstraps just like our other saviors Saint Ayn Rand and Jesus Reagan taught us? Right?

    Reply this comment
  12. Grasshopper
    Grasshopper 20 December, 2018, 08:31

    Our beliefs affect all areas of our life through the influence they have over our decisions. If we’ve been happy with the decisions we’ve made over the course of our life, then we can be satisfied with the beliefs supporting them. But if our decisions have left a trail of casualties in our wake, with bridges burned and opportunities lost, then choosing a new set of beliefs seems to be a worthwhile endeavor.

    Reply this comment
    • Ted Steele, Philo Dept Chair
      Ted Steele, Philo Dept Chair 20 December, 2018, 13:12

      True Grasshopper— But let the master tell you….

      Many preach compassion and Christian care for the weak, sick, meek and then do nothing but help themselves…..

      We call them Doomers or Trumpaloopas.

      They don’t need to “choose a new set of beliefs”, they just need to live up to the ones they preach….

      Reply this comment
      • Grasshopper
        Grasshopper 20 December, 2018, 13:52

        The statement I made applies to everyone Religion aside. The statement is inclusive of all. We will never solve problems in this country with insults. Nor will we solve problems by enabling bad behavior.

        Reply this comment
        • Teddy Baby
          Teddy Baby 20 December, 2018, 19:16

          insults maybe not….

          one persons “enabling behavior” is another persons freedom and ethos and compassion…..

          Reply this comment
    • Ulysess Uhaul
      Ulysess Uhaul 21 December, 2018, 11:43

      Ulysses Uhaul

      Philosophy is liberalism without solutions. Yawn bro. Yawn

      Reply this comment
  13. dork
    dork 20 December, 2018, 14:25

    All homeless persons shall be entitled to Shelter on any property owned or maintained by any Public Employee, Public Servant or Officer of the Court.

    Lets see how they like it then.

    Reply this comment
  14. Nick Prophy
    Nick Prophy 20 December, 2018, 20:17

    Ted Queeg,
    You are truly an a&&hole.
    JC Superstar.

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 21 December, 2018, 11:39

      Comrade prohfy whatever

      CWD is for reasonable discourse. It’s for the kids. Globalists stripped California. The poor, imigrants, the sick, homeless need positive solutions. Doomers are heartless. Publicans and the political elite are relentless…to clean us out. So there-

      Reply this comment
  15. Marin Native
    Marin Native 22 December, 2018, 05:09

    We will look back on the days of that Old School Democrat Governor Jerry Brown. His warnings will be ignored. Spend and tax then tax and spend.

    Reply this comment
    • ricky65
      ricky65 22 December, 2018, 08:56

      Nice sentiment MN but Moonie was the King of Tax&Spend.
      He increased the state budget over 50% in his last two terms. Interestingly enough, the media has fawned over this idiot for fifty years. Like most gullible people they cannot tell the difference between a person of substance and a snake oil selling bullshit artist.

      Reply this comment
      • slydawg
        slydawg 22 January, 2019, 19:20

        ricky65 – you’re the man. written very well. glad there is some people who have a brain these day. cheers bro.

        Reply this comment
  16. ricky65
    ricky65 23 December, 2018, 09:02

    In the spirit of the holidays to all the CWD posters, friend, or foe:
    Merry Christmas, dammit!

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 23 December, 2018, 09:20

      Comrade Ricky

      We look forward to Teddy converting you in 2019!

      Reply this comment
      • ted the ted of ted's
        ted the ted of ted's 28 December, 2018, 08:27

        Queeg— Sadly, he may be too dimwitted, not sure yet, but he is clearly not as smart as OC Observer….just sayin…..

        Reply this comment
        • ricky65
          ricky65 28 December, 2018, 14:21

          I’ll never go over to the dark side,TedUlyQueeg. I stand for truth, justice and the American way.
          Very disturbing though to learn in this thread that Dr. Evil has born yet another spawn of the devil—Ed Steele, Ted smarter brother.
          We have not heard from Ed because he has reportedly spent the last 60 years trying to graduate from 3rd grade.

          Reply this comment
          • Ulysses Uhaul
            Ulysses Uhaul 29 December, 2018, 09:42


            You have no shame. Always foul. No one listens to devisive posters. Be positive. The NOOSE is going to tweek a few things to ramp up Uly’s hauling doomers.

            2019 all the best-

            In fact, we have our frisky Dobie pup Romeo in security training….he is just a love-


  17. Bubba
    Bubba 7 January, 2019, 17:31

    With the ungoing shift of progressive socialism in Cal. one can only wonder how long it will be before Big Brother tells joe homeowner that he has to let some homeless drug attic use his spare bedroom because the states HSR project is shiponing all the monies from the drug treatment program ? And the states NIMBY isom and the CEAQ act prevents companies from building these facilities to treat these people
    Oh and tell me one more about the nice weather we have?

    Reply this comment
  18. Valleyman
    Valleyman 8 January, 2019, 13:30

    The $100 per night estimate is interesting. I’m assuming hotel rooms of some sort. That means that you would immediately use about 20% of all the hotel rooms in CA – assuming the hotel owners want drug addicts and mentally ill individuals in their establishments. Sooo – why not just build new housing units? Well, due to the high costs of public construction, average costs for subsidized housing is about $400,000 per unit. That comes to $40 BILLION in one-time construction costs for 100,000 homeless – plus the ongoing o&P costs annually. Yes, this is a wonderful idea.

    Reply this comment

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Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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