First, I want to state I live just off Venice Beach, and have done so for the majority of the last ten years. I want to state right from the get go, if you do not live amongst the homeless in SoCal, you do not know and your opinions really do not matter….. because you do not get it. No offense, you just do not “really get it.” Unless you have seen a grown, ungroomed and unbathed man in a dress pop a quick squat above the gutter and take a crap in front of you, you do not “get it”.
First, there is really very limited amounts of “down on my luck homeless”, it is such a small fraction of the homeless issue in SoCal. The OVERWHELMING amount are strung out drug addicts, people who have massive amounts of psychiatric issues, and just degenerates who do not want to be part of a functioning society. This is the “truth” of the situation, I know everyone wants to feel that the homeless are just people that feel behind in society and never caught-up. As much as I would like to tell you this is the truth, it simply is not. Most, probably will never be able to function as a member of society again, and that is just the real truth to it.
So, how do we as a compassionate functioning society “really deal with the issue effectively”. First, we have to “pop the titty out of their mouth and make them grow up.” How will this in my opinion, simply put, “we help those willing to be helped, and those who do not want to be helped we cut the cord on them.”
First Objective: Social Services are for the Clean and Sober. Simply put, there are NO SOCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS for the drunkards and the drug addicts. All homeless receiving any social assistance of any kind must be fitted with Drug and Alcohol Monitor. Any detection of drugs or alcohol, or tampering with the monitor, will immediately disqualify that party from receiving any social assistance of any kind from the State of California. This does not take away from the “rights of the individual”, they are free to be homeless and do what they want with their lives, just the State of California is not going to be paying for it. The State of California needs to “help those who want to be helped”.
Second Objective: For those offended by the first objective, this will help you……. As part of my second rule (spitballing here), we will take over one of the camps in Camp Pendleton, California (or another deserted military base) where there are a number of Military Barracks and other facilities. Here, we can house in an isolated area hopefully many homeless people strung out on drugs and alcohol. At this facility, we will provide a ONE-TIME ONLY 180-day rehabilitation program where we will help these people forever kick drugs and alcohol. Just like joining the United States Military, once you sign on the dotted line to join this program you are the property of the State of California for a period of 180 days (you do not get to quit). For 180 days at this location, the residents will get three square meals provided at a “chow hall” (same prepared food the Military Members at Camp Pendleton Eat), they will have classes & meetings with counselors, they will have doctors looking at them (probably from the California National Guard, the Navy, the V.A. or even medical schools), they will get dental treatment (probably from dental school students), we will have certificate programs for employment (welding, autobody, landscaping, computers and so many more), and we will have a mandatory physical fitness program put on by current & former members of the United States Military. After 180 days of state funded rehabilitation, education, counseling and physical fitness (and getting a clean bill of health) we will transition them to a “sober living home” where we will begin reintroducing them to society. A Healthy Body free of toxins and a Healthy Mind will increase the odds of success. NOTE: this will not be a “rinse & repeat program”, one shot is all you get.
Third Objective: State Hospitals for the Mentally Incapacitated. Everyone in SoCal has seen it time and time again, the homeless person yelling at a street sign, the homeless person talking to themselves, the homeless person in obvious mental distress. With compassion at the forefront, we have to seriously increase the number of, and the funding for, State Owned & Operated Psychiatric Hospitals. We all have to be honest, there are people that are clearly troubled and are being let loose on our streets, and they are a danger to society and themselves. There are a number of aged-assisted living facilities, abandoned hospitals, etc. that can be retrofitted for this objective. The staff can range from licensed professionals to medical school and certificate program team members.
Fourth Objective: Fixing the cost to build transitional homes for the homeless in California. The average cost to build a single unit for the homeless in California is a whopping $531,000 USD. The “Lorenza Plaza Apartments” are anticipated to cost more than $746,000 PER UNIT!!
Sidenote because this drives me crazy, everyone associated with this should be embarrassed, and everyone taking a “fee” for this should have their name and fee amount made public. We the taxpayers flipped the bill for this, we should see where every single dime went, and not in a ‘redacted audit recap’, but the full results, line-by-line.
Back on topic, every manager of the programs to consult for constructing housing for the homeless needs to be fired day one, no questions, no this, no that, they just need to be canned and a fresh slate needs to be drawn from. If you do not get rid of the garbage day one, it will just come back to infect the next attempt at fixing the issue.
From day one, all parties receiving “consulting fees” for any projects connected to the California Homeless need to be publicly identified, and the amount of consulting fees needs to also be publicly identified. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE COST TO BUILD ANY HOMELESS UNITS NEED TO HAVE THE FULL COST OF SUCH CONSTRUCTION PUBLISHED FOR PUBLIC REVIEW. In the $531,000 USD cost to build from above, 40% is absorbed in “financing costs” and “consulting fees”. This needs to be eliminated out the gate, since the State will be funding the construction (check my future blog post for “California Loan Guarantee Program” for information on where the funds will come from), you can eliminate this from the get-go.
So, $531,000 minus 40% of BS = $318,600 USD per unit. Average construction costs per sqf. in California is $220 custom. Transitional homes for the homeless should be a standard layout multifamily basic design utilizing essentially the same contractors over-and-over again as much as possible, brining the cost down to around $150 per sqf (government funded project, guaranteed money, that is a doable number). These units should be 1-2-3 bedroom units consisting of 900 to 1,200 sqf with the “basic amenities” (this is not a Dream Home TV Show, this is reality). Cost to build should not top $150,000 USD per unit, and land costs should be at a minimum. Not one single unit should top $200,000 USD all in for a Government funding project.
Also, this is transitional housing, this should not be confused with “permanent housing”, these are short term accommodations until the ‘transitioning party’ gains gainful employment and secures their own ‘permanent housing’. This should be for 12-18 months at a maximum.
STATE COSTS: I could not even in my wildest dreams come up with a price tag, but between inefficient spending on the problem to date, continued wasteful spending on the problem to date, the elimination of assistance for those on another plan and/or not willing to conform, I think there are costs on the front end, followed by fallings costs after a few years of the program. Cutting off the non-conformers will make them find accommodations elsewhere (another state like Oregon), allowing us to focus on rehabilitation, reincorporation into society, and psychiatric care.
NOTE: This blog is only for conservational ideas and I have ‘zero point zero’ percent interest in running for any political offices.
The Score so far on State Budget:
Plan One: Eliminate California State Income Tax
· Resulted in $90 Billion Deficit
Plan Two: Decriminalize Prostitution in California
· Resulted in $1 Billion in State Revenues
· Still have a $89 Billion Deficit, but we have no State Income Taxes and we have Decriminalized Prostitution in California.
Plan Three: California Mortgage Tax
· Resulted in $7 Billion in State Revenues
· Still have a $82 Budget Deficit.
Plan Four: California Real Estate Transfer Tax
· Resulted in $30 Billion in State Revenues
· Still have a $52 Billion Budget Deficit.
Plan Five: Ending the California Homelessness Epidemic
· Resulted in increased state spending, followed by State Budget Savings over many years. Total costs, I could not even come up with a guess, but would try to work within the current budget by utilizing current state land owned, governmental facilities, and current government programs. I am calling it “Even Steven”
· Still have a $52 Billion Budget Deficit – but we have a No Income Tax State, Prostitution is Legal, the Wealthy are Paying their Fair Share, and the streets are less cluttered with homeless.
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