Newsom's big move on homelessness may be just in political time, new poll suggests | News | Mountain View Online |

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Newsom's big move on homelessness may be just in political time, new poll suggests

20% of Californians surveyed cited homelessness as most important issue for state to work on this year.

A tent encampment off of Grand Avenue in Oakland. Homelessness has soared in California, and a new poll shows voters now list it as their top concern. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

Gov. Gavin Newsom kicked off 2020 by pledging to plow an extra $1.4 billion into homeless services, proposing a state constitutional amendment to make it easier to sue cities that fail to provide shelter for their unhoused populations, and embarking on a statewide "homelessness tour" to visit shelters and other providers.

Homelessness, he said last week as he unveiled his proposed budget on Jan. 10, is "the issue that defines our times."

According to a poll released on Jan. 15, more Californians than ever agree.

Twenty percent of Californians surveyed by the Public Policy Institute of California cited homelessness as the most important issue for the governor and Legislature to work on this year.

That's a record, said the institute's president, Mark Baldassare: "It's never, ever been in the double digits."

Another 10% of Californians named "housing costs (and) availability."

When the institute asked the same question last year, only 6% of respondents named homelessness at the state's top policy priority.

And when the new poll focused in on likely voters, the results were even more emphatic: 23% named homelessness their chief concern, with another 11% citing housing.

The survey also suggested that Newsom's approval among likely voters may be inching up. It showed presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders surging with California's Democratic electorate (particularly young voters), making him the nominal frontrunner — but adjusting for the poll's margin of error, he's in a three-way tie with former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. And the poll found that California Republicans largely support President Trump, but tend to part ways with him on immigration.

The survey was conducted Jan. 3 to 12 — mostly before the state's Democratic governor announced his new plans on homelessness, although after President Trump has repeatedly lambasted California for allowing the problem to worsen.

"I don't think its something that's coming up because they're reading about it or because the president has tweeted about," Baldassare said. "It's on people's minds because they're seeing it in their daily lives."

Homelessness is not a new problem in California, but data collected by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development suggests it has grown more acute in recent years. At last count, more than 150,000 Californians are now living in their cars, in shelters or on the sidewalks and below freeway underpasses — more than at any time since at least 2007.

Other poll findings:

• Good news for (this year's) Prop. 13: Among respondents, 53% said that they would vote for a ballot measure authorizing the state to borrow $15 billion to expand and revamp school and university facilities. That's not a huge buffer of support for backers of Prop. 13 (mostly building trade groups and teachers unions). But although support for ballot measures tends to decline as Election Day approaches, that generally isn't the case for bonds.

• Newsom back on top (narrowly): A slim majority (51%) of Californians surveyed approve of Gov. Newson, as do a plurality of likely voters (with 49% approving and 42% disapproving). That's good news for the governor: In the last two Public Policy Institute surveys, Newsom was underwater, with disapproval exceeding his approval.

• The Bernie surge is real: Consistent with other public polls, this one validates news of a bump in Sanders' support across California. He held the support of 27% of likely voters surveyed — an increase of 10 percentage points since November. Coming in just behind Sanders were Biden (24%) and Warren (23%). Today's poll also reaffirmed that Sanders' base skews young. Of voters between 18 and 45 years old, 45% are backing Bernie and 39% believe he is the candidate most likely to beat Trump.

• California Republicans are different: President Trump remains popular with the vast majority of California Republican likely voters. But the same can't be said of some of his signature policies. Sixty-two percent of GOP respondents said they support protecting undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation. And 60% say they generally agree that undocumented immigrants of all kinds should be allowed to remain in the country. Another 18% oppose the president's border wall proposal. And with an impeachment trial looming, 11% believe that the U.S. Senate should remove Trump from office.

Related content:

Learn the facts about homelessness in California via CalMatters' in-depth explainer.

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics. Ben Christopher can be emailed at ben@calmatters.org.

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Comments

190 people like this
Posted by Bad News for Us!
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 20, 2020 at 3:17 pm

Good news is, that in 48 states the homeless population is declining.

Bad News is that the homeless population is growing, and they are moving to the two states that are welcoming them with open arms. That is California and Oregon.

If you let them build tent cities, let them call home anywhere they want-in what ever they want, and order police to not enforce any laws against them, more will come.


21 people like this
Posted by Think
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 20, 2020 at 3:46 pm

Bad News, I don't think you've thought through your statement very well. Do you think that all of the decrease of homelesness in other states is due to their moving to CA and OR? How do you explain the overall increase in homelessness? How do the policies of states like UT, where they provide homes for the homeless, lead homeless people to move to CA and OR? Why does the rise in homelessness in CA track our skyrocketing rents if its driven by the policies you cite? Which specific policies were implemented, and when, which you blame for the "open arms"?


149 people like this
Posted by Bad News for Us!
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 20, 2020 at 4:07 pm

@Think,

That story that I refereed to was in the news just this morning.

Not that I think that would matter to someone like you. Think yourslf.


20 people like this
Posted by thoughts
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 20, 2020 at 6:22 pm

Then provide a link to the story you refer to.

And answer any of his questions about your hazy claims:
- Do you think that all of the decrease of homelesness in other states is due to their moving to CA and OR?
- How do you explain the overall increase in homelessness?
- How do the policies of states like UT, where they provide homes for the homeless, lead homeless people to move to CA and OR?
- Why does the rise in homelessness in CA track our skyrocketing rents if its driven by the policies you cite?
- Which specific policies were implemented, and when, which you blame for the "open arms"?


67 people like this
Posted by a mv resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2020 at 7:22 pm

It is the humane thing to do to provide shelters for our most vulnerable neighbors (new or old neighbors), but I wish the courts did not make it so hard for cities to enforce laws against tents public places, as long as the spaces in shelters are available (which they are not in many parts of CA), there then needs to be more backing of letting cities remove tent cities and reclaim control over their local public and health and safety.


18 people like this
Posted by another mv resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 20, 2020 at 7:56 pm

Make sure you vote against the RV ban in November, since Mountain View does not have enough shelter beds, and the anti-RV majority (Margaret Abe-Koga, Lisa Matichak, Ellen Kamei, and John McAlister) explicitly chose to ban RVs knowing that they had already declared a shelter crisis! The moderates on council wanted to tie the implementation of the ban to the city's resolution of the shelter crisis, but the majority went full-steam ahead, leading us to the referendum on the ballot.

Vote No on the ban, and vote out Margaret Abe-Koga and Lisa Matichak!


235 people like this
Posted by Sue Newsom
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 20, 2020 at 8:14 pm

Sue cities that don't do what? How about sue Newsom? Give his fancy house to homeless.


133 people like this
Posted by @Bad News for Us!
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 20, 2020 at 11:04 pm

I saw that story on TV this morning. The reporter interviewed a homeless male who recently came to San Francisco from Seattle. The reporter asked him why he came here, the man said people are more generous handing out money here to homeless than in Seattle. He said he can make the same amount here in 2 to 3 hours and that it would take 3 days to get the same in Seattle.

He looked like a drug addict, IMO.


235 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2020 at 7:15 am

Newsroom Newsom is just trying to get ahead of a homeless problem that is getting out of control due to weak Dem leadership and the party of one here in California.That $1.4 billion will come from schools and infrastructure. Maybe not directly, but it will. The working and middle class will pay for it. It return more homeless will poor in to MV. And more RVs. Meanwhile, Newsom, Feinstein and Pelosi are all making millions and stuffing it into their mattresses. Meanwhile expect the tent cities to start to appear in MV with our wishy washing city council sitting on their hands.


15 people like this
Posted by Think
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 21, 2020 at 10:57 am

The lack of substantive responses makes it clear that the anti-homeless, anti-poor side is heavy on rhetoric, but light on facts.


7 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 21, 2020 at 11:51 am

What is the real cause of the problem?

Many states are busing their homeless into the state.

Especially the "RED" states.

bit no one want to discuss that.


112 people like this
Posted by Throwing money at the problem
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2020 at 2:18 pm

So, is the issue really simply that they don't have affordable housing? If so, why are people coming to the most expensive area in the country? If we just provide shelter, how do we know they would actually even go there? So, the bill makes it easier for Sacramento to sue a city but what if they simply won't go?

There is also no mention of providing mental health, substance abuse, job training, etc. that will help people get out of homelessness. It just provides housing paid for by tax payers. So, they're still homeless, you're all just paying for their house instead of helping them become self-sustaining.


279 people like this
Posted by Hmm
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2020 at 2:50 pm

Simple solution, send them back to the states they came from or find a relative of theirs that will take them in. Seems like this blue state has their priorities mixed up, with all the anit-business laws and taxes, business are leaving and people are leaving, but at least we have the homeless coming here now.


47 people like this
Posted by roaksinri
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm

As an actual case manager assisting the homeless in Mountain View, I can assure you that categorizing "vehicle dwellers", "tent dwellers", and people living outside, even under an overpass, as "Homeless" is perfectly acceptable as defined by HUD (Federal) and the County of Santa Clara. The truth of the matter is that homelessness has increased by over 30% in the last two years in SC County. In the midst of plenty and prosperity for a few, you have a perfect storm of under-funded mental health services, Baby Boomer seniors that are priced out of the housing market, single parents- usually women, often victims of abusive relationships, with no job skills eking out an existence for themselves and their children, a county shelter system with about 1,000 spaces and over 9,000 homeless that have been counted("Santa Clara County officials conducted the biennial homeless census over two days in January 2019 and found 9,706 homeless adults living in the county's 15 cities and unincorporated areas, an increase of 2,312 from the 2017 count"), an influx of undocumented asylum seekers fleeing the cartels and gangs of Latin America where horrific crimes against the innocent go unreported in our media unless it occurs against American tourists. This is the poor among us. Even I, and all other Social Workers, qualify as "low income" based on the County's median income of $123,000/year. It is time for complaining to stop and citizens to step up. Government and faith groups, businesses, large and small. The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl also resulted in displacement and homelessness. Certainly there are solutions from the past that can inform and inspire solutions for our poverty problems of today. See the link below for the Comprehensive County Report.
Web Link


13 people like this
Posted by roaksinri
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2020 at 3:02 pm

Oops- here is that link:

Web Link


199 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 21, 2020 at 4:22 pm

It is amazing how so many of those who want to pour millions of taxpayer dollars into this are unwilling to see how unfair that is to the people who pay for it. No doubt the next thing to happen will be a tax hike because we have (surprise, surprise!) shortfalls in the state's ability to pay its obligations. After all, we wouldn't want those homeless people to have to do anything radical, like getting a job or something like that.

This country has 7 million more job available than people to fill them. If these folks wanted to make an honest living, then they should be given the means to go where they can get a job. They have no business here if they aren't able to support themselves. The working residents of this city shouldn't have to support people who are unwilling to help themselves. That is especially true if they don't even come from here in the first place and are just here because Newsom is promising health care and aid to anyone who manages to get here.

This might be the first time I've agreed with Abe-Koga on anything, but the RVs have to go. As we have seen from data collected, many of those in the RVs are there because they CHOOSE to be there. There are construction workers who, rather than have to spend money renting a room for the week and contributing to the local economy, live in an RV for the price of gas. There are the folks who are saving on rent at the expense of those in the community whose taxes pay the bills for them.

It is not the obligation of the state to house everyone who wants to come here. If you can't afford to support yourself or are unwilling to do so, then responsible people shouldn't be robbed to support you.


25 people like this
Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 21, 2020 at 5:18 pm

The RVs need to be taken off the streets and moved to government funded sanitary parking spots
Vote yes in November on the Mountain View measure to uphold the City Council decision


23 people like this
Posted by Proud Taxpayer
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 22, 2020 at 11:58 am

Here's a solution for the RV parking.
Let's use the Levi's Stadium parking lots. The lots are close to public transit and sit empty most of the time. Then these street campers only need to move for games and events. The City of Santa Clara owns this land. Then California could do the same with all the other Stadium's parking lots.
Then charge each RV $5/day for the spot, to cover trash, water, toilets, and security costs.
Think of all the good press this would generate for the stadium.


4 people like this
Posted by roaksinri
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2020 at 2:14 pm

“Were the homeless always homeless? If not, what brought them to the state of homelessness?”

Web Link


11 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 24, 2020 at 9:49 am

What we have is an addiction crisis masquerading as a housing crisis. The crisis has been greatly exacerbated by policies that have enabled addicts to continue their drug use. Crime has been decriminalized. Laws regarding vagrancy, camping, and public defecation go unenforced. Compassion is killing the addicted and destroying civil society. As drug use, rats, crime and disease run rampant, Newsome's response is to spend more money on the very policies that created this epidemic. Until we can drop the flowery language of the compassionate and call out the problem for what it is, "homelessness" will only get worse with each dollar spent.


5 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 24, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Sam,

Your use of character asssination on all homeless is a clear indication of one with no tolerance of due process.

You make a declaration that ALL homeless are either nuiseance, drug addicts, or criminals. You have to prove that EVERY HOMELESS individual is guilty to base your claim.

This is the same attack used by Trump regarding legal immigrants seeking legal status but are not allowed becasue the system is not funded nor operating efficently. THus by delay they are undocumented. THat is not the fault of those undocumented, but the process being maipulated to [prevent legal immigrtion.

That's All.


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