The state government of California has been revealed to have spent $13 million on providing security for 120 empty houses for five months, even as a homeless crisis ravaged the state, Fox News reports.
In a report broken by local outlet Fox 11, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) paid $9 million to the highway patrol from November 2020 to April 2021, and gave another $4 million to a private security firm over the same period, all for the purpose of protecting the vacant houses in Pasadena.
In a statement addressing the report, CalTrans said that the houses had been purchased by the government 60 years ago, when there were plans for a change in the local infrastructure by connecting the 710 freeway to the 210. However, that project “is no longer moving forward,” the government statement declared.
“Our goal is to sell these homes and provide current and former tenants, as well as those who qualify for the Affordable Sales Program, a path to first-time homeownership,” the statement continued.
The high amount of spending on protecting the empty homes comes in the midst of a worsening crisis of homelessness throughout the nation’s largest state. It has been estimated that there are at least 161,000 homeless people in California. Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Calif.) said that the empty homes should be converted into affordable housing for the homeless, and also criticized CalTrans for its waste of taxpayer money.
“Thirteen million dollars would have been roughly the same amount that could go to three emergency road repair projects,” Chu pointed out. “So just think what that money could have gone to.”