Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

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The four-month plan at the Rose Garden Inn ― expected to cost the city between $1.6 million to $2 million ― would provide emergency lodging, food, transportation, and services for as many as 50 people now living on the streets. | Credit: Courtesy
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This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.

By Nick Welsh of The Independent

Jeff Shaffer has spent the better part of the last 20 years pushing boulders uphill. Sometimes, they’ve chased him back down again. 

In various organizational and spiritual incarnations, Shaffer has emerged as the closest thing to a homeless whisperer that the South Coast has. It’s not nearly enough to find housing for those without homes, he’s discovered. Even more care must be taken to ensure that those used to sleeping on the streets can adjust to sleeping between sheets. It’s a formidable task. Not surprisingly, he’s learned to calibrate his enthusiasm with care and precision. 

Yet now — as Santa Barbara’s delicate ecosystem of tolerance where the homeless are concerned is experiencing yet another quantum shift — Shaffer is uncharacteristically optimistic. “The universe is on our side,” he said at the tail end of a short interview this Friday. A former class clown, Shaffer had once harbored ambitions of becoming a professional comedy writer. Even he had to laugh at how improbable that statement sounded.

As is always the case when the issue is homelessness, the picture is very complicated and very contradictory. This week, Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the state’s emergency restrictions on COVID. This, in turn, freed up local governments to take whatever steps they deemed desirable or necessary to deal with the proliferation of homeless encampments — both in plain sight or off the beaten path. During the prior 18 months, their hands had been tied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which issued strong recommendations that homeless camps were to be left alone because of public health considerations.

Santa Barbara’s City Hall responded to the shift by launching a muted crackdown on homeless encampments, particularly those located in what are deemed fire prone areas. Last Friday, city police notified the growing number of tent dwellers that have been occupying Alameda Park that they needed to pull up stakes and move elsewhere. Exactly where they might go, not even Shaffer pretended to have a clue.  

More than that, this week saw the launch of a joint enforcement action by the Santa Barbara Police Department, the city’s Environmental Services Division, Amtrak police, and Union Pacific police, who targeted encampments along the railroad tracks running from Castillo Street to Channel Drive. When they were done, 15 citations were issued — mostly for trespassing but a few for narcotics violations as well. 

According to a press statement issued by the Police Department, all the urban campers the officers encountered “complied with the Officers and packed up their belongings and left.” In addition, the statement read, “Backhoes were used to collect nearly 5,500 pounds of remaining trash and debris.” Multiple trailers were required to haul it all away.

The view of the Loma Fire from the Ortega Street footbridge around 10:15 p.m. on May 20. | Credit: Tayden Tomblin

Far more dramatic, this coming Tuesday the City Council will likely approve plans to lease for the next four months all 32 rooms of the Rose Garden Inn on upper State Street to provide emergency lodging, food, transportation, and services for as many as 50 people now living on the streets. Driving this emergency action — which is budgeted to cost City Hall between $1.6 million to $2 million — is a well-founded fire phobia as Santa Barbara’s drought-desiccated brush is reportedly two months ahead of schedule when it comes to being parched and dried out. 

Sparking the action was the Loma Fire six weeks ago that might have taken out much of the Mesa but for the miraculous and instantaneous intervention by no less than four fire agencies who managed to get the upper hand on a blaze fueled by 55 mile an hour winds. That fire, it should be noted, did not start at a homeless encampment. It was an arson fire, reportedly set by a homeless person on methamphetamine at the time. But in the month of May, city firefighters report, 18 smaller fires originated in homeless encampments. 

The Rose Garden Inn, according to persistent but officially unconfirmed reports, enjoys a reputation as a flea bag. Yelp reviews have been scathing in the extreme and include references to dirty soap bars in the bathroom, lukewarm water in the showers, chipped paint, no towels, and loud guests dumpster diving for their dinners. Each such review is typically followed by an apology by the motel management that the accommodations did not meet guests’ expectations and that they will endeavor to do better. The good news is that the room rates are cheap by Santa Barbara standards, about $109 a night.

All that, it would seem, makes this proposed site an ideal location, however perversely. For starters, neighbors will experience no jarring change of clientele. If anything, it will be better managed. CityNet, which is securing the master lease with city funds, will spend $181,000 on “24/7 guard coverage,” not to mention a shuttle driver to transport guests to and fro. 

The actual cost for the motel rooms — accompanied by computer stations, a bed bug hot box, chairs, and picnic tables — is budgeted at $677,000. Food and laundry is another $282,000. As for management, that’s budgeted at $455,000. That includes case management and a host of “wrap-around services” said to include mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, and the help needed to prepare the guests’ papers and documents, like driver licenses, Social Security cards, and Medicare records.

All that, the council has been told, is necessary to help get people who’ve grown used to living a feral lifestyle equipped to make the leap to permanent or transitional housing. None of that, however, is cheap. With all these bells and whistles, the nightly cost per guest will jump from $109 to $266. But compared to the political blowback that Plan B would engender — creating a tent city at the commuter parking lot by Castillo and Carrillo streets ― it’s cheap. More than that, it’s doable. 

Based on City Hall’s predictions, the Rose Garden Inn meets the estimated needs. According to Fire Marshal Joe Poire, there are roughly 50 individuals now living in the most fire-prone camps. Six of these camps have already been targeted for “abatement,” a bureaucratically gentler term than eradication and elimination. 

Joe Doherty, a civil rights attorney with the People’s Justice Project, worries about the number of unanswered questions that remain. How will people living in the urban brush be notified that they are dwelling in “fire prone” encampments, he asked? How will they learn where they can and cannot live? Are there maps? What rules must they abide by? Who will track who gets evicted and for what reasons? Will residents at the motel be free to come and go? If not, will they be under the effective equivalent of house arrest? And what happens to the tents, sleeping bags, and other personal belongings of the guests?

All this is happening under the unspoken rules governing how Santa Barbara’s housed populations co-exist with its unhoused. With the lifting of the pandemic’s emergency restrictions, more people are coming downtown. More people are interacting with the homeless. More homeless are interacting with them. A 60-year-old homeless man and a long-term veteran of Santa Barbara’s streets recently found himself rousted from a public sleeping spot he’d come to enjoy during the pandemic. When told he had to go, he got upset and pulled out a pair of scissors. Cops got called. No one got hurt, but it took a while for things to settle down. 

As the parks are cleared and the encampments too, it’s doubtful the 50 motel rooms will be enough to accommodate those dispersed. The good news, according to Jeff Shaffer is that thanks to a dramatic influx of federal and state funds for homeless housing assistance, there will be far more housing vouchers available for those making the transition from the streets. 

For the past 10 years, Shaffer and his organization have run what’s now called a “neighborhood navigation center” every Thursday at Alameda Park that provides a wide range of services — food, medical care, pet care, portable showers, and the reliable expectation of companionship under safe conditions. During COVID, those Thursday evening gatherings still took place, but under greater circumscribed conditions. People stood in line for food; they didn’t eat together. Social distancing was observed. This past Thursday — one day before the police cleared the tents out of the park — Shaffer expressed relief people could eat together for the first time. “We got to sit down for an actual meal,” he exclaimed. Forty-four guests, he said, showed up; 25 volunteers did too. 

Shaffer is hoping to establish such centers throughout the entire city so that no one neighborhood has reason to feel it’s absorbing the brunt of what’s clearly a national and statewide problem. At such centers, he contends, trust can be established between those who mean well and those who have learned the hard way that meaning well is not enough. It is through such interactions, repeated week after week, that people on the street learn to take the first step to something different, he said.

Shaffer is one of the cofounders of SBACT, a relatively recent organizational acronym to emerge in Santa Barbara’s age-old struggle with homelessness, and SBACT (S.B. Alliance for Community Transformation) has emerged as a de facto extension of City Hall, one of the organization’s key financial benefactors. Two weeks ago, the council voted to give SBACT $150,000 to start a new neighborhood navigation center at the parking lot by Castillo and Carrillo. That will fund an ongoing operation one day a week for three hours a day. 

Given how vociferously residents living near that commuter lot have recoiled against previous efforts to create a “tiny home” homeless village there, Shaffer knows he’s treading on thin ice. Before launching any new program on the site, he stressed, he’d be meeting with the neighbors to hear their concerns and presumably to address them as well.  

As Santa Barbara returns to so-called “normal,” the downtown library will reopen to the public. When that happens, many people who have long lived out-of-doors will seek refuge in the library’s stacks, as they have done before. In anticipation of the friction that will likely ensue, the City Council voted to spend $100,000 to hire a social worker to address the needs of the homeless bibliophiles eager to reoccupy their old digs. 

In the meantime, Shaffer noted, a private nonprofit known as Dignity Moves — made up of members who became CEOs of their respective business operations by the time they turned 40 — is moving ahead with plans to open a new homeless village of 30 to 35 tiny homes on government-owned property located on Garden Street. 

In this case, Shaffer said, the tiny homes are being designed by a well-known architect and will fit into Santa Barbara’s red-tiled architectural tradition. More to the point, he added, they will provide transitional housing for people getting off the street for as long as three years. Shaffer said the new units might be operational sometime this fall, maybe as soon as October. 

As all this happens, the council — bombarded by business leaders complaining about out-of-control homeless behavior ― has also been moving in the other direction. Two weeks ago, for example, the council passed an ordinance prohibiting anyone from sitting or lying on certain blocks of Milpas Street. Although the law applies to all residents, it’s clearly aimed at the homeless. This measure mirrors a similar ordinance the council passed to restrict such behavior on State Street. Or the one the council passed to rein in the use of shopping carts.

For Shaffer, it’s been a long-distance sprint with no real finish line. But at the moment, there’s more wind at his back than in his face. “The universe,” he chuckled again, “is on our side.”

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Byzantium Jun 29, 2021 09:06 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Danny, If you are new to Santa Barbara, you better take an instant crash course on what this city has already provided, and has long provided, in the way of public, private and non profit subsidized and supportive housing. Now well over 20% of all housing units have some form of subsidy or price fixing. We have reached the end of the natural limits and this long-standing public generosity, which has now turned on us and caused our community to sicken and die.

ZeroHawk Jun 29, 2021 09:03 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Folks...some of you should be ashamed of yourselves. The talking points by some are strong, but many of you are just complaining for the sake of complaining. Where is your empathy? Where is your sense of community? Are you so far above the rest that you must look down at those with less, or those with problems that can't seem to find the right help? Does that make you better than them? It certainly does not. Even the post breaking down reasons for being homeless. I can tell you, that myself and many of us are one paycheck away from being on the street. That is how it is in Santa Barbara. I know homeless people. These are folks I grew up with that had one bad hand after another. Even the trust fund hope ranch kids I know, a few are homeless. To instantly say drugs and alcohol led to it, simply shows you have no sense of reality nor have you "been there". I have. Let me tell you, it is the worst feeling to not know where you will sleep night after night, how you will eat, shower and even basic human functions such as going to the toilet. The feeling of hopelessness and sadness overwhelms you THEN you start hitting the bottle or other sources of escape from the pain that is now your life. Those people are brothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, moms, sisters to others but you feel it's ok to label them, judge them and blame them for everything that goes wrong. I saw someone mention Megan's Law. Do you know that there are many predators living in homes in downtown residential neighborhoods? Also a registered sex offender rule/thing is broken. Urinating in public isn't a sex crime and whomever thought it was is just gross if you're into that. Be kind, help your fellow Santa Barbarans rather than judge and assume.

Danny Murphy Jun 29, 2021 09:30 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Thank you, @ZeroHawk, for conveying your humanity to the rest of us in a persuasively concrete and visceral way. Keep going. You have a better ability to convince the currently callous among us not just of their blinders and moral shortcomings hurting us all, homeless or not, but also that life is capricious...anyone of us could find ourselves homeless at some point in life.

sacjon Jun 29, 2021 09:47 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

ZEROHAWK - Standing ovation. Well said, absolutely. Key word is "empathy." It's the same people here complaining about having to "help" in any way, that also complain about the BLM movement, shrieking "ALL lives matter," or complain about Sambos or Pride week or any thing that focuses on the plight of those different from themselves. Are they hateful? Some. But many are just incapable or simply unwilling to try a little empathy and think about how people other than them might be existing and what their lives might be like. It's truly sickening how many flat out refuse to take 5 minutes to think about someone else's life experience and how it might be different from their own. Once you do that, it makes you not just a better person, but a kinder person. People here need to try that.

biguglystick Jun 29, 2021 12:59 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

ZEROHAWK! Bravo! I couldn't have said it any better. Thank you. I cannot believe some of the cold hearted nasty replies from entitled members of our community. No one likes to see the homeless encampments that have gotten out of control lately, but it's a symptom of a much larger problem in our community! We've got a massive housing crisis. Normal middle class people cannot afford to buy a home in Santa Barbara anymore, and thus are being displaced to have to move out of town to make way for the uber wealthy, who are taking over. So many of us are a paycheck away from being on the streets. I have been for years, even though I am a very hard worker. My family wasn't wealthy, neither am I. Extreme wealth, house flipping, the Hollywood elite and STRs have RUINED our little town!!!

Byzantium Jun 29, 2021 09:15 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Current city council just handed city voters the perfect election issue. Throw the bums out: Murillo, Sneddon, Harmon and Friedman. Clear the deck of this ongoing city council nonsense and finally clean up this town.

PitMix Jun 29, 2021 03:14 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Did a pretty good job in a tough situation that we haven't faced for 100 years. Stock market booming, house prices rising, jobs available, weather is nice, vaccines available. Life is good!

Incognito Jun 29, 2021 09:27 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

I worked with Jeff for several years on homeless issues. He is both compassionate and practical. It is great that the City of Santa Barbara is finally listening to him and providing what can turn out to be real solutions for our houseless neighbors. All it took was for the universe to be on their side :-).

sfgac055 Jun 29, 2021 09:36 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

There is a difference between addict transients willingly setting up villages with trash decor on the side of the freeway, and someone's dear family member who lost their job and is down on their luck with nowhere to go. Seems to me most of the opposition here is toward granting shelter to the non-local voluntarily homeless people (who aren't even asking for help, but will take it if removed their offramp villages), and at the cost per person as well. People who are trying to dig themselves out of some bad luck or poor choices, or simply have mild mental issues in the way of supporting themselves, should definitely receive assistance .... I hope they're the ones who get it.

Danny Murphy Jun 29, 2021 10:03 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Thanks, @SFGAC055, for your thoughtful comment. All of us are probably curious (clearly, some more than others) about whatever number of our homeless folks there might be who by any reasonably moral measure is a person who is NOT affected by insurmountable personal challenges, who just wants to live in Santa Barbara under any conditions, and who does not deserve community services. City services could identify the undeserving who would have to be very, very small in number. I do disagree with your apparent notion that drug addiction does not qualify as a reason for assistance. Obviously, drug addiction is a health issue, easily avoidable in some life circumstances but not in other circumstances. The loss of a job is not the only hardship that could cause someone to be wrenched from a productive life. Or, am I misunderstanding your perspective?

TheKid5 Jun 29, 2021 10:53 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

No thinking person is not concerned about the plight of the hundreds of thousands of our country's homeless, many of whom are military veterans.
With all respect:
Some of you are missing the point. This motel housing will cost $10,000 per month, per homeless person, for four months, a total of $40,000 each. Here are some issues to ponder:
What happens to these people after four months? The streets again?
Is it prudent to spend $40,000 each on 50 homeless people out of hundreds, for a relatively few months of housing?
This money will not provide any mental health services, which most need.
This will not contribute to working with the homeless who are able in mind and body and help get them back into society and earn a living.
This $2,000,000 is not being spent wisely!
This program is nothing more than a band aid for a festering and growing infection!

Byzantium Jun 29, 2021 06:15 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Danny, do you have any idea what our current welfare system is already handing out for the productive ones who hit some temporary dislocation. It is crazy to keep lumping this vagrant population all under one category. I suspect this is an intentional game those who have on intention of ever getting their life in order. Need to stop right now. Inform yourself about our massive welfare system already in place, our special VA programs of homeless vets, our thousands of non-profit and subsidize beds we have in this town alone already. As if we have not been spending trillions on the War on Poverty since the 1960's. No my favorite person to quote but.... c'mon, man.

PitMix Jun 29, 2021 03:11 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Who is renting to people with vouchers in such a tight rental market? My guess is very few landlords will consider low income people with vouchers. If you can get 2 professionals with high incomes, why would you?

dukemunson Jun 29, 2021 06:40 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Many landlords take section 8… and right now they are offering bonuses to anyone who accepts a section 8 tenant. The wait list is to “get a voucher”, which is being bypassed to hand them out left and right to the homeless. So yes… there is a years long waitlist if you are working and struggling to get by with your family and get a section 8 voucher… but if you are homeless and causing issues They are handing them out right and left!!

GeneralTree Jun 29, 2021 12:29 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

We're witnessing the endgame of capitalism, where a few wealthy individuals and corporations have accumulated most of the wealth while the rest of us are left to fight for the scraps. Our capitalist system wasn’t designed to handle a crisis with the magnitude of COVID . We are at a point where the world’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few, and individual nations are taken over by the global market. Currently, 45 percent of the American workforce is denied paid sick leave and health insurance, which means that many workers will continue going to work while sick in fear of losing out on pay or being fired altogether, thus further spreading the illness. Those who do stay home sick may forgo a doctor’s visit out of fear of the cost. One in five Americans has already lost work hours or their jobs entirely due to the pandemic. Many people are one paycheck away from disaster. When a 200 square foot apartment in Santa Barbara costs $2500 a month, where are you going to start housing people?

Alexblue Jun 29, 2021 12:42 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

GeneralTree--truth, the system is at a breaking point, and the violence, addiction and slipping quality of life are only gong to get worse in this country. The tragedy of course is that the resources exist to turn this stuff around but there is no national will because people are so caught up in their own struggles or just don't give a #@!&

sblocal1967 Jun 29, 2021 01:43 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

The vast majority of wealth creation in a capitalistic society is from "makers" and not inherited. Makers create jobs and generate tax income to the government. Jobs is what keeps the economy going. What I see happening now are so many "takers" too lazy to work hard and just wanting the liberal government to give them hand outs. Many of these homeless people are just that - takers. Taking from the true people in need of help. If you truly want to solve these issues, then let private enterprise figure out. Get some Harvard MBAs in a room and provide them a monetary incentive. Problem is they will solve the problem and get rich. But people will still complain, people like GT rather have a homeless encampment on their driveway vs rewarding the person who got the problem to go away. The rich are not to blame. I suggest all of you takers move to a socialist country so that you can revel in your stupidity and lazyness.

a-1625007865 Jun 29, 2021 04:04 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

There are very few makers. The ultra rich have conned you into believing that they are, but the truth is that they contribute relatively little in taxes, and live off investments, built up mainly from inheritance. They take the vast majority of the wealth generated by the people who actually work, and try as best they can to provide only a bare trickle to their employees, if they even have any.

GeneralTree Jun 30, 2021 04:15 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

A "Socialist" country. You mean like Switzerland? What our country has SBLOCAL1967 is a lot of loud mouth, angry working class that know they will never make it to middle class - who never saw value in education that feel so entitled by their anger they have nothing in their lives except for spewing unsubstantiated populist/nativist drivel.

RobinSB Jun 29, 2021 01:20 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Agree this is sad and misguided. Sadly this was put in place many years ago by the defunding of mental health facilities, and politicians who took the approach that doing nothing (except handing our $$'s out ) is the way to solve it.

Of course i feel empathy for those unable to rent a place, but if all you who think this is right add up all the PAST money we spent on these issues (not including our police force who probably spends half of their budget dealing with this, to no avail) and still think that is right, well, we are toast. it's a crime what our politicians did to get us here.

What we need are strong policies to stop the the eroding of our beautiful city, remove all encampments, spend money on mental health care, offer larger drug and alcohol programs, stop people camping out everywhere, BUT stop trying to house everyone in SB. It's impossible. Its stupid really to even try. It's a large country and people move all the time for economic reasons. We can pay for the programs above if we enforce common sense controls, and stop trying to house every single person.

PitMix Jun 29, 2021 03:22 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Duke, HUD estimates the cost to end homelessness in the US at $20B. For comparison, we've dumped $6,400B down a hole in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria since 2001. I don't do math like VOR, but 0.3% is a TINY amount compared to that, even if you ignore all of the other money we waste on defense and homeland security that doesn't provide food or shelter for anyone. Comes out to little more than $30,000 per homeless person in the US. TINY!

SBTownie Jun 29, 2021 04:08 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Pit, I often disagree with you but I know you argue in good faith so I hope you will understand that I am trying to do the same here. There is absolutely NO the HUD estimate is correct unless we kick off a massive program to geographically move the hundreds of thousands of homeless people in this country to financially (for the taxpayer) advantageous areas. LA county said in the last 1-2 years that they were unable to produce a unit of new housing for the homeless for less than something around $531,000 PER PERSON (https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-09-09/high-of-746-000-for-homeless-housing-audit-says-try-rehabbing-motels-instead). This was for permanent structures - not parking lot campsites or motel rentals, but as we can see those costs are also extremely high and they are a temporary fix. Not to mention the costs of any form of housing in no way address the costs of other treatment and care many of these people need. I am absolutely in support of housing the homeless, but I do not support building housing for them in posh, upmarket places where the cost to do so is extreme and footed ultimately by the taxpayer. I would rather see our funds go locally to housing for the workforce, etc. The HUD figure must be off by a factor of at least 10, and I'd say more like 15-20 in California.

dukemunson Jun 29, 2021 04:18 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

That HUD estimate is one of the craziest numbers you (or anyone) has ever cited on here… it’s laughably ludicrous. We’re spending two million dollars for 30 hotel rooms for 4 months… do some extrapolation and tell me how 20 billion “ends homelessness in America”…


dukemunson Jun 29, 2021 06:36 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

That number (20 billion) is obviously false. We’re trying to build studios at 500k a piece… how are you ending homelessness for 30k per person???? Please… elaborate/educate us…

dukemunson Jun 30, 2021 07:38 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

You can’t end homelessness with 20 billion dollars… this is obviously a bizarre and insane argument/point. I mean seriously… how does 30k per person “end it” when we are spending 10k per person per month to temporarily house people in a hotel…?

Please elaborate…

PitMix Jun 30, 2021 08:38 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

SBT, are you saying that HUD under Trump didn't know what they were doing? Because that estimate is from a few years ago.
Even if it takes 20x that estimate, and assumes that all States will adopt the crazy expensive policies of California to deal with their homeless, that is still just 6% of the money we wasted on our foreign adventures. A relatively small amount compared to what we waste money on.

dukemunson Jun 30, 2021 09:32 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

This is, surprise surprise, patently false. The 20 billion dollar figure comes from a paraphrased statement made in 2012 from someone in HUD regarding the ANNUAL cost. The current estimate is an additional 30 billion per year to expand the voucher program to everyone eligible. This won’t end homelessness as X number of people are choosing it, but it would go a long way towards mitigating it. Humorous though that you took a portion of what the annual would be and somehow made it out it to be the “end of homelessness”. It’s not a one time 30k payment… it’s a yearly 40k plus per person.


dukemunson Jun 30, 2021 09:36 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Do you ever check your sources? I mean…a random Twitter stat is probably right every once in awhile, but goodness… it’s wildly off and bizarre more often than not. Just step back and think… 30k per person ends homelessness… how??!!!?? What possible logic and new math could even make someone begin to think it was even in the realm of possibility and reality? Not to mention, no matter how much you spend, you aren’t “ending homelessness”. A certain number of people won’t go to a provided house, as we saw at west beach with all the people refusing the hotel vouchers.

PitMix Jun 30, 2021 10:07 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Even if that is the annualized cost, my point is still valid. It is not a lot a lot of money compared to what we waste on many other things. Why is it so difficult for you to recognize that?

dukemunson Jun 30, 2021 10:22 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

Because every facet of your point was wrong! In addition to citing the wrong president (the 20 billion figure was made in 2012) it was an annual amount to get housing to everyone eligible. That figure is now 30 to 40 billion per year. This is just for vouchers, which let’s say you suddenly give out and fund. Where do you find the additional 500k units you need to utilise those vouchers. And considering how much of the homeless issue is tied up with addition And mental health, how much on top of that would you need to deal with that aspect of it? Considering how much of the cost in each of these small local projects is for the “non housing element” of it with support and what not, we could easily call it 100 billion per year. And with that… You still aren’t ending homelessness!

So my problem is, in addition to all the numbers and “math” you brought up being Wildly off base and wrong, the shade thrown at the wrong president (it was a HUD official under Obama), the very premise is wrong as you aren’t ending homelessness.

So yeah, I find it difficult to recognise what you are saying as everything you are pointing out is wildly off base and fantastical.

That being said, yes… we have wasted a ton of money on wars and paying people the last year to stay home instead of work. It would have been much better to save that money and use it for the communal good. Bush, Obama, trump and Biden have and are wasting crazy amounts of money… stop the wars and paying people not to work… let’s use that money for good!! But please check your decimal points and sources Pit… using crazy obviously wrong numbers to make (potentially) valid points is a very bad habit…

sbdude Jun 29, 2021 03:43 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

The temporarily down-and-out are not the "homeless problem" that everyone thinks about when they see onramp beggars or trash-laden freeway camps. There is much empathy for those who find themselves down on their luck, and many services available to them to help get them back on their feet. More often than most people think, those efforts are successful. Most of the freeway campers and offrampers are so far down the twin rabbit holes of substance abuse and mental illness that existing "services" can't fix them. I hate to say this, but the remedy most likely to serve both them and the public that has to interact with them is involuntary commitment to residential mental health and substance abuse facilities. And no one really wants to reopen that pandora's box of civil liberties violations. So we just end up kicking the can down the road.

a-1625008104 Jun 29, 2021 04:08 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

So many who know nothing opining here. If you do homeless outreach, you quickly see nothing about the situation is intuitive or makes any sense. You're all applying YOUR paradigms and values to a situation that's so not within your realm of experience or knowledge. Stop doing that. Police can't solve this but they sure get asked to deal with it a lot. While we yell about defunding them. There are people in the mix that just got iced out of their living situation via escalating rents or a living situation that fell apart. These are the easiest ones to rehouse, but have you looked at rent lately? The whole bottom tier of the market is gone now. A room in a home is now $1200-1500. There are meth addicts walking around here disguised as a housing shortage. There are severely mentally ill people like the woman on the corner at the Chevron in Coast Village who refuses her social security and pension because God told her to live this way and Jehovahs can't take money from the government. Even the Jehovahs don't agree with her - she's making stuff about their religion up. That's part of her mental illness. She can tell outreach workers to go pound sand all day. She can't be forced into treatment or indoors untreated, thanks to the courts, who have ruled on the side of the mentally ill and homeless for decades. She gets to stay out there till she dies, if she so wishes. MTD will never get that bench back. There are other people that have been chronically homeless for years, and once you get them indoors, they do well. But it's a massive effort to get them indoors. The people with addictions are super hard, particularly meth. There's no medication to ease meth withdrawal like there is for alcohol and heroin. And the community is awash in meth. All you people espousing what's to be done....where are you and what have you been doing? Because nothing you suggested has ever worked yet.

a-1625058262 Jun 30, 2021 06:04 AM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

"Councilman Mike Jordan quoted former Gov. Jerry Brown, saying, "If you do nothing, you do something."

"There's plenty of people out there who have lots of advice for us, very little of it legal, and a lot more of it doing nothing, except complaining," Jordan said. "This is an opportunity to sort of begin to paw our way through it, starting with the most dangerous sites."

Jordan also noted that the city no longer has a no-strings-attached place for homeless individuals to go for the night. Casa Esperanza on Cacique Street used to offer 200 beds during the winter and 100 year-round, but community and business opposition in the neighborhood led to a change in use for the site. Other places, he said, offer programmatic beds, with conditions.

Jordan said he was frustrated by the emails he and the council members received criticizing the city's plan to place individuals in a hotel.

"All of them complaining, none of them offering an alternative to this choice, and many, many of them simply the alternative they offer is strictly an illegal act," Jordan said. "To just pick people up and take them to Camp Roberts or something, against their will, I welcome any of those people who are doing that to engage as long as you want to and talk about legal methods to help solve this problem, and I think that is what we are embarked on."

RobinSB Jun 30, 2021 12:32 PM
Upper State Street Motel May Rent All Rooms to Homeless

A-1625058262 - good point. Mike is correct, except that he fails to appreciate that we fund the government to handle this and look at the result. Then he wants the citizens who paid for all this to then go out and do something individually as a volunteer? The politicians just go along like sheep across the country - we need people who will value care for these people, but also value financial responsibility and public safety.

His point does not excuse the politicians from doing nothing and spending millions annually at doing nothing.


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