Trump and California at Odds Again, This Time Over the Homeless

(CN) — California politicians on Tuesday called on President Trump to enact humane policies to address homelessness, after members of his administration toured Los Angeles shelters and The Washington Post reported that Trump plans to place thousands of the city’s homeless people in federal facilities.

Trump administration officials toured four Los Angeles facilities aimed at addressing the city’s homelessness crisis Tuesday, alongside staff members for Mayor Eric Garcetti. The mayor’s office did not say which White House officials were present, but said the tour included stops at the Unified Homelessness Response Center, the Jordan Downs public housing complex, prefabricated Flyaway Homes, and the shelter St. Andrews Place A Bridge Home.

Mayor Garcetti, Gov. Gavin Newsom and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday all called on Trump to enact humane policies to address the skyrocketing rate of homelessness, in California and across the country. In letters and statements, they highlighted their own efforts to address trauma among the homeless population, reduce the rising cost of living and expand funding for shelters and permanent housing. They asked Trump to increase funding for public housing and federal Homeless Assistance Grants and rental assistance programs.

But Trump has different plans, according to a Tuesday report from The Washington Post. The Post said Trump ordered his officials to launch “a sweeping crackdown on homelessness in California,” in part by housing thousands of homeless Californians in new federal facilities.

“Like many Americans, the president has taken notice of the homelessness crisis, particularly in cities and states where the liberal policies of overregulation, excessive taxation, and poor public service delivery are combining to dramatically increase poverty and public health risks,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an email. “In June, the president took action and signed an executive order to confront the regulatory barriers to affordable housing development, a leading cause of homelessness. President Trump has directed his team to go further and develop a range of policy options for consideration to deal with this tragedy.”

Newsom, who signed a budget that includes $1 billion to address homelessness, said the problem is one of his top priorities.

“If the president is willing to put serious solutions — with real investment — on the table, California stands ready to talk,” his chief spokesman Nathan Click said in an email. “He could start by ending his plans to cut food stamps, gut health care for low-income people, and scare immigrant families from accessing government services.”

Pelosi’s spokeswoman called the problem “a growing humanitarian crisis.”

“The Trump Administration’s heartless policies have only exacerbated the matter, harming the most vulnerable in our society and contributing to housing instability,” Pelosi spokeswoman Taylor Griffin wrote in an email.

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