PRESIDENT Donald Trump embarked on a visit to California this week where he had some things to say about the state’s homeless epidemic.
On Tuesday, September 17, the president was in Los Angeles for fundraising and speaking events for his re-election campaign. The week before this visit, the administration dispatched White House officials to LA on a fact-finding mission to compose a report on the issue.
Taking aim at Democrats and the liberal policies put in place to combat homelessness, Trump — who has previously called California’s homeless problem “disgusting” and a “disgrace to our country” — vowed to put an end to the rampant problem across the Golden State.
“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One on Tuesday without offering specific any solutions.
Along with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson, Trump promised a crackdown on homelessness by reducing restrictions on housing construction and being more strict on keeping people off the streets.
In the report, the administration stated that “two decades of misguided and faulty policies” were to blame for the 500,000 homeless individuals in the U.S., most of whom are concentrated on the West Coast and Northeast. According to the report, about 47% of all homeless people in the U.S. are in California.
Homeless shelters were also targets of criticism for bringing “in people who would otherwise be housed, thus increasing total homelessness.”
“The people of San Francisco are fed up and the people of Los Angeles are fed up, and we’re looking at it, and we will be doing something about it at an appropriate time,” the president added.
The report directly counters state lawmakers’ plans to address homelessness, which include billion-dollar measures to build apartments for the homeless and requesting federal funding to initiate those plans.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti fired back at the White House report for handling the issue of homeless crisis “like fodder for a cable news debate.”
“We don’t have time for that. If the president really cares about solving this crisis, he wouldn’t be talking about criminalization over housing. He’d be making dramatic increases in funding for this country’s housing safety net,” Garcetti said in a statement.
This week’s visit exacerbated the already complicated feud between the Trump administration and the famously and undeniable blue state of California.
As previously reported by the Asian Journal, homelessness increased 16% since last year, a report from the LA Homeless Services Authority found.