☆ Oliverio: Big lesson from State audit re: CA and SJ homelessness programs: Clear-eyed realism more important than rosy intentions

Former SJ CM and current Planning Commissioner Pierluigi Oliverio takes a look back at how SJ’s and the state’s homelessness efforts went sideways. Spoiler alert: good intentions can go astray. An Opp Now exclusive.

History books will likely note that this huge spending in California on homelessness over the past decades had the best of intentions–but it failed. The conclusion for other states will likely be that no matter how much is spent, some people will not comply and will instead continue living outdoors. $24 billion is a massive amount of money that could have been redirected to other government spending or more reasonable housing and homelessness programs or paying down the State’s significant debt.

We know that different cities experienced different degrees of outcomes. But the overriding lesson will be that these initiatives were unsustainable because the funding from the state could not last forever. Moving forward, we need to learn from our mistakes and be clear-eyed about what can be done on a realistic level, and what laws must be passed to gain compliance so the crisis on our creekbeds ends and all may enjoy public spaces.


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