Cities That Do Not Reduce Homelessness Could Be Punished By California Voters; Face Lawsuits By State

Homeless encampment in Oakland near I-980: Photographer- Grendelkhan
Homeless encampment in Oakland near I-980: Photographer- Grendelkhan

In a report released Monday, the Council of Regional Homeless Advisors is calling for an amendment to the California Constitution that would create a legally enforceable mandate to reduce the homeless population. The Legislature would have to craft the plan, which would then appear as a statewide ballot measure in November.

If approved by voters, the mandate would allow the state to sue cities and counties — or even itself — if the number of people living in street encampments doesn’t decline.

The 13-member task force, led by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, argues that the state needs to carry a big stick to convince local jurisdictions that they will face consequences if they don’t get people off the streets — including the possible loss of local control.

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