As the homelessness crisis in California escalates, state officials requested increased federal funding to combat the issue, only to be rejected by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, as reported by ABC.
The request letter was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) and “mayors of the state’s 13 largest cities.” The letter points out California’s recent increase in spending on welfare programs, and claims that the “[Trump] Administration has proposed significant cuts to public housing and programs like the Community Development Block Grant.”
In a return letter signed by Secretary Carson, the Administration responded by pointing out that California “seeks federal dollars…from hardworking American taxpayers but fails to admit that your State and local policies have played a major role in the current crisis.” Carson lists some of the state-based causes as being an “over-regulated housing market, its inefficient allocation of resources, and its policies that have weakened law enforcement.”
Experts who spoke to ABC agree that “state and local policies…have led to the affordable housing shortage in California,” while also admitting that simply spending more money “could take decades…to impact homelessness.”
The dispute comes as President Trump has also threatened to hit California with environmental violations due to the pollution caused by the high rate of homelessness. State Democratic leaders have mostly shifted the blame onto the president with partisan attacks, further highlighting the vast political divide between the president and the heavily Democratic state.