The California homelessness crisis has risen over time. With the announcement of a new state anti-camping ordinance campaign in Culver City, many have become vocal about their beliefs on the situation.
Many have said that the leading cause of intense homelessness in California was high housing costs, inadequate shelter spaces and more. Another leading cause is mental health, drug addiction problems and limited resources available to those who can’t afford them.
Last year, California had a homelessness crisis of over 170,000 people. This year, the number continues to grow, leading to countless people living in tents and cars and sleeping outside.
In response to this crisis, Council Members in Culver City have voted to ban tents and other makeshift structures in public spaces. Culver City is one of many cities to vote on this ban, with nearby cities having also expressed their concerns and supporting this ban. However, they were faced with several legal challenges.
Many opponents feel that the ordinance was “rushed” and will lead to stronger criminalization of more people. Some homeless people have also said they prefer the outdoors and don’t want to be placed in a shelter.
Amidst the controversy, the city had another city council meeting where officials said the ban would only occur if specific city goals were met. These goals consist of a designated camping site being opened up for the placement of the tents and a turnover of 73 hotel and motel units to become permanent housing.
The city has yet to set a timeline for meeting these essential goals. Many feel that the focus of banning tents in public areas and moving homeless people to a more designated spot is deviating from the initial cause of why California’s homeless crisis is high in the first place: the lack of affordable housing available.
In 2022, the LA Times reported that it cost more than $1 million to build affordable housing in California. In order to build affordable housing, these projects need to receive financing from the state’s affordable housing system.
Another issue that contributes to a lack of affordable housing care funding are other larger states that have one agency designated on handing out affordable housing dollars. When it comes to the state of California, California has around five with very strict requirements on what can and can’t get funded. So, many have been looking into ways to save more money to get these projects running to provide affordable housing to those in need.
One Culver City council member also spoke about the ordinance, saying, “I’m not trying to be intentionally vague — I just don’t know what the next steps are.” This means the council is still deciding on their initial next steps and whether they should proceed with the ordinance.
While this topic continues to be a discussion and leaves others vocal about their opinion, the direction of where changes should be made continues to be everyone’s focus to, in turn, help those in need and lower the homeless population.