As Homelessness Increases, Council Urges Bay Area Legislators to Embrace Interim Housing
California is losing ground in the fight against homelessness and should shift focus towards bringing people indoors and saving lives. That was the message delivered by Bay Area Council Senior Vice President Adrian Covert to members of the Bay Area state legislative caucus last Thursday (Jan. 4) at their annual policy retreat. Since 2015, homelessness in California increased 57% and unsheltered homelessness increased 67% despite the state having made historic investments to increase its permanent homeless housing inventory by 115% during that same time period.
The results demonstrate California’s inability to build permanent homeless housing faster than the rate at which the state’s housing shortage creates homeless people, resulting in a default policy of forcing homeless residents into unsafe and unsanitary encampments where they face astronomical rates of homicide, sexual assault, accidental death, and disease. Trauma from unsheltered homelessness often transforms a resolvable case of homelessness into a chronic case that’s nearly twice as expensive to solve. The Council urged legislators to prioritize creating incentives and reducing barriers to scaling interim housing options to quickly bring people indoors, save lives, and restore access to public spaces. To learn more about the Bay Area Council’s Homelessness Committee, please contact Senior Vice President Adrian Covert.