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Liberty Revealed Episode 03 Show Summary
Homelessness is a serious issue almost everywhere. The politicians have had a major role in the reason homelessness has increased so dramtically. This is a talk Mike gave live in Huntington Beach, California. In this talk, Mike lays out the issues clearly.
Listen to Liberty Revealed Episode 03
Liberty Revealed Episode 03 Show Notes
Thanks, George. So yeah, the homeless issues pretty close to my heart. Because I mean, pretty much any of us could be homeless, you know, just like that. And so I'd want to cover a little history of homelessness in Orange County. And I'll give you some of the facts about that. And then we'll talk about within that history, what the politicians have done to cause the problem, or at least make the problem worse. So at last count, and they do a point in time count every two years in Orange County where they physically go out and count the homeless, and at last count, there were 5000 plus homeless.
Introduction to Homeless Issue
Now, the interesting thing about that number, though, is if you're a couch surfer who doesn't have a house, but you're staying in this friend's house for one day, and at another friend's house for another day, you're not considered homeless. And if you sleep in your car, you are not considered homeless. There's a lot of stories about people going, you know, you hear people say, oh, there's all these resources available for the homeless, and then they show up there and they get through all the paperwork. And then the last thing is, what, “Where do you stay?” Well, I stay in my car, “oh, you're not homeless, you don't qualify for those benefits.” So it's kind of a Catch 22 if you're a homeless person. Now, it's not a new issue. The problem is not new. Since 1989, there have been three grand jury reports in Orange County about homelessness, and every single one of them says pretty much the same thing. They make recommendations for the homeless issue
Of those three, only twice did the county respond the both times their response was sort of like, “Hey, we're doing the best we can.”
How Politicians Have Shown They Don't Care
But the most recent one was in 2005. And one of the things they said in there is, clearly homelessness is not a priority to the Board of Supervisors. Because in your budget, you only have $145,000 allocated and it's for an executive salary. And the response from the CEO of Orange County was like, but we have $145,000 in our budget. Why? How can you say it's not a priority to the board? Well, two years later, in 2012, they came up with the 10 year plan to solve homelessness in Orange County. and like any of you who've ever worked at a business where you have to meet goals, they set these goals but the goals were for them. And so they didn't actually police themselves or hold themselves accountable for those goals. So in 2017, they cancelled the plan, the 10 year plan to end homelessness, because they had gone in reverse. There were more homeless on the streets than before. The estimate is that if you include the people in their cars is going to blow your mind if you include the people in their cars and the people who couch surf, there's about 35,000 homeless in Orange County and only 3000 beds for the homeless. So Santa Ana Riverbed…everybody's heard about the Santa Ana Riverbed. And we've heard…we've seen stories
Torya and I have been down there numerous times and somebody, because there's an election year, decided time to clean that out. I mean, they spent 10 years ignoring the growth of those camps down there mostly because I think they didn't know what to do. And the reality is I think from the politician's standpoint leaving them where they were until they had a plan was probably the better choice because now they have problems with them in neighborhoods that they weren't in before and so people are complaining about that and there's a lot of people who have been being very vocal about get them out of the riverbed now wish they were back because they're they're patrolling their neighborhoods. Now, you know, as a libertarian public money for social issues is a sore spot for me, but then I start to think about it more pragmatically. And it's like, okay, there's $900 million that's been…tax dollars…that's been earmarked strictly for mental health and homelessness, and it's earning interest, $30 million a year. So it's been sitting there for three years. So it's about a billion dollars that's sitting there. So the pragmatist in me says, “Are they ever going to give me back that money? No, they'll probably if they don't spend it on this, they'll probably wasted on some stupid program to bolster some other program that failed”, like we spoke about earlier. So some advocates got word that this money was sitting there not being spent for anything. And so they filed a lawsuit on behalf of some homeless people, because 32 cities in Orange County have anti camping ordinances, which means it's essentially illegal to be homeless. Because where do you sleep, if you don't have a home, you go to sleep outside, that's camping, it's illegal.
Is Homelessness Illegal?
So the police attempt to enforce those laws, this judge steps in and says, “Well, hold on a second, you don't have enough resources for these people. So if you don't have enough resources for these people up, can't enforce those laws. That's just not gonna happen.” Um, you these are human beings, and they need to be taken care of some way somehow, and you've got all this money sitting there and you're not doing anything with it. Maybe we should audit you, maybe we should…he even pointed out that there were politicians who were picking up the homeless from Newport Beach and moving them to Santa Ana…dumping them off. And so he stood in front of a crowd of people and he invited every city to this meeting. And he stood in front of a crowd of people at the Santa Ana city Council Chambers. And he said, “I have proof that you're dumping human beings, it's against the law. If you keep it up, we will have a federal indictment come after you.” We will. And he had a US Attorney taking notes in the gallery and he basically told him if you want to, if you want to argue with me that that's not happening. I'll put you under oath right now and come up here and you testify. But I'm going to tell you, he looks at the sheriff. And he says with video evidence, right? sheriff's like thumbs up. We have video evidence, we know who's doing it. And so the judge said, Look, here's the deal going forward from today. No more dumping. We're going to forget about what happened in the past. So that's one way that the politicians have created the homeless issues that they're taking them from wherever they don't want them and they're moving I'm some other place and they're making it that city's problem. And you've seen the you work at the Civic Center sometimes. GEORGE And I mean, you've seen the crowd people that used to be there. pretty awful. So what is how do the politicians create this problem? Well, first thing I think, is that the Board of Supervisors is extremely afraid to make tough decisions, you know, they decided they were going to use their county owned land in Irvine to move the homeless there for a while till they figured out what to do with them,
The Board Of Supervisors Won't Make Tough Decisions
Irvine sends busloads of people to the Board of Supervisors meeting the next day. They change their mind. They're not…they're not willing to investigate, do their research and then make a tough decision. At the recent supervisors candidates forum, we were asked a question, you know, and the question was first the premises, you've done your research, and you've covered every angle. And you've decided about Yes, on this issue. And 1000 people show up, and those thousand people are screaming at you to vote no. Well, most, everybody kind of equivocated a little bit. And you know hemmed and hawed around it and I just said, Look, if if you told me the premise is, I did my research and I'm voting yes, unless somebody in that thousand tells me something I hadn't already thought of I'm not changing my vote I might at the worst…and I said at the worst I'm going to table the vote to another time so I can examine it more. To me that's decision making. You know you you do your your research and then you make your decision that you came upon. I mean, if you're not confident in your decision Why are you making decision first place. So what else does the Board of Supervisors do? Well, after multiple times trying to find a place to put the homeless, they've now pushed the decision to the cities and the judge. They basically said “Hey guys figure it out we don't have anything to do with it” and plausible deniability right? If Newport Beach decided, all right, we're gonna put some homeless out on the beach, in tents and there are people…citizens got upset, the board can say, wasn't us, it was your city wasn't us. So and having the judge do it. He's one of the things I will say about this judge. He's very forward thinking. So he says, Hey, guys, I can make a ruling right now. Like it or not, I could say, and this is how it's going to be. But if I do that, it's set in time. It's like, it's like riding it in concrete. And the only way that that ruling gets overturned, is if another court says, No, no, I'm not going to do that. But if you guys work together as a community and decide together, well, then you can be agile and work through the issues. But if I say to you, it has to be this way. I don't care what issues you face, you have to take care of the issue. So what can we do about it? Well, as I've studied this issue over the past couple of years, and as I mentioned before, you know, there's all this money sitting there, that's eventually going to just go to some stupid program somewhere.
So I think that's a start,
We have to deal with the key issue, which is that, you know, law enforcement can't enforce the laws because there's no resources. So somehow, we have to provide the resources so that law enforcement can go back to enforcing the laws, I really have absolutely nothing against them saying people can't sleep outside, you know, on in front of the Albertsons or Stater Brothers, I have nothing, no problem with that. If it's if it's scaring a business's clientele away, that's hurting that business that shouldn't be allowed. So because the courts have demanded that there has to be resources available or they won't allow the enforcement of the law, it kind of ties the hands of law enforcement. So then you end up in this situation where the population as a whole is screaming and yelling about why aren't you doing something about it, you're the police. I mean, even get as nit picky as, hey, a shopping cart. They stole it, it's illegal. Go arrest them, you know, like, that's how, how petty they get about it. So I came up with a five point plan to basically eradicate homelessness and parts of the planet have been used before and places around the world. And they're very successful. Um, it all involves, though, bringing private organizations in to pick up the burden and, you know, allow the government to use that money. But see, the thing is, one billion dollars sounds like a lot of money, right? Eventually, it's going to be gone, not going to get more, at least not as much. So whatever you do, you have to plan big and get it settled once before. So first thing is offer up some sort of temporary shelters, they need some place to go and sleep if there's 5500 homeless and there's 5500 beds. Well, now we can enforce the laws because places for them to go. Then while they're there, we get them paperwork ready. And we connect them to private services, drug rehab, alcohol rehab, you know,
If you have mental health issues, you know, go for it. Right now, the mental health department in Orange County is in charge of all this and they're overwhelmed they can't they cannot handle it. They do a very good job, in fact, at the riverbed there a big reason why there wasn't a big violent outbreak, because they went for days ahead of time talking to people, hey, this is the last day on this date, we're going to be coming through here, and you got to leave. And they kept coming back and coming back and coming back connecting people to services. But even those people were telling us, we've never had somebody come here offer us any services, they just don't do it. So once you get them connected services, and you get them paperwork ready, that's a big one. Because
Think about it. If you're homeless, and you don't have an ID, you can't rent a hotel motel room, you need ID, you know, so you could have someone gave me $500, but without ID doesn't do any good. So then the next thing this is the where the controversial part comes in. Because a lot of people don't like this idea. But I think it would really work. And I've seen it work in other in other places in the world, permanent assistive housing, but Come as you are permanent assisted housing. So if you're an addict, you can still come to the permanent assisted housing, get you off the street and give you an opportunity to clean up the history has shown like they did in New York City, they did it in Utah, they did it in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, and the history shows that those people for whatever reason, there's a mental change, and you must have something to do with not having to sleep on the street all the time, they want to clean up and they want to do better, and they want to go get a job. And I think that's really the key, you know, any solution to homelessness has to involve connecting them to work. And I think that's one of the things that the government is failing, what I would do if elected, is go and work with businesses and say, all right, if we put these people through this, this, this and this, and we certify that they're ready for a job, are you willing to hire them. And if you get yeses out of that, I mean, there's there's a program called jobs for life. And it's a really teeny tiny program right now run by OC united out of Fullerton. And what they do is they teach people at homeless shelters, how to get a job, they teach them, you know how to shake hands, and, you know, introduce themselves and how to create a resume that will get them a job, they don't teach them job skills, they just teach them the right approach to getting the job, how to get through the interview. But it's a step in the right direction. And like, they're very strict about the rules to if you miss two sessions, it's a two sessions a week for eight weeks, or 16 sessions. If you missed two, you're out. So the first time they started with 24, the graduated 12, but all 12 of those people off the streets. They didn't go back
Yeah, they got jobs, and they're working. It's huge. And that, to me, is where the permanent assistive housing comes in. Because one of the problems for getting a job is you got to have an address, they, you know, people have this picky thing about wanting to know where you live, if you're going to work for them, then you're still going to have a group of people that they're just think like being out on the street. That's what they like doing. They live that crazy lifestyle off the grid. I met a few people who've been out on the streets for 25 years, and they like it that way. Well, there's still the issue of police are going to enforce the law is now there's resources. So for those people, there's a program that's a it's a nonprofit called Alfresco gardens. And it's essentially mobile home park for the homeless without mobile homes, what they do is they use these big submit tubes, and they're sealed off, there's got a window in the back and a door in the front. And there, they've got a flat floor gets people out of the elements. And the funny thing is, the only opposition to that are the people who say, That's not human, you're still leaving them out in the elements.
What's wrong with you, you know, you'd, rather than sleep up against the buildings, I'm wearing them, let them go. And it's and they're gonna charge them $150 a month per unit, there's a security guard who fingerprints scans you to get in the police have access. So it's just like a gated community, please, can come and go whenever they want. They will, yeah, there's bathrooms, there's bathrooms, showers, storage units that they can pay a little bit extra for, but at least they have a place to put their stuff when they're going to work. That's another big problem. They have, you know, your stuff in a shopping cart, where to put it when you go to work. Um, and after that, once you hit that now, law enforcement can enforce the law, they can do what's necessary. And the problem though, is, once again, we're talking about how politicians have caused this issue. Nothing that's presented to them is good enough. You know, there's always an excuse you're leaving. That's cruel, you're leaving them out in the elements? No, it's a hell of a lot better than sleeping up against a wall wall. It's raining, you know, they're covered. It might not be as warm as a house. But it's a heck I mean, even let's face it. If it's windy, you're in an enclosed area, it's going to be a lot warmer than if you're outside. So that that will help. I also believe because of all the inaction the police haven't been able to enforce the laws, the citizens get upset, you run into my gosh, nevermind on Facebook, just in person. I've heard people say my solution is give them as much drugs as they can take that they all die of an overdose. Another person said, put them on to a storage container, throw it in the ocean. I mean, these are brutal things that people you're saying, but we all shake our heads. But it tells you how frustrated the communities are with the homeless because they feel like nobody's doing anything but they don't take it back to realize why nobody's doing anything. And it all starts with making decisions to do something about it. So you know, law enforcement can enforce the laws but the biggest thing that has to happen is there has to be a collaborative effort between all 34 cities in Orange County they have to come together and they have to agree on what the rules are around homelessness if there's going to be anti camping ordinances and needs to be an all 34 cities and they need be enforced the same way because you know where Victoria comes from there's a city and then there's an hour drive and then there's another city and and there's an hour drive you know it's a very rural compared to here but here you know you've got boy in a park Anaheim Stanton they're all stacked one on top of one another and when I go out with law enforcement what they've all told me every department we have a in this area because three cities meet and we don't know what that cities regulations are and if we arrest that person we get chastised because hey they weren't violating that city's law so that's another big problem is there has to be consistency among the laws for those type of things like you know we've been talking about them legalize and a lot of cities are putting the kibosh on you know having dispensaries and whatever that's their right to do that. I see nothing wrong with that they can do whatever they want. Personally I think they should just open it up and forget about it but that's their right if they want to do that but I think when you're dealing with human beings and where where their well being is everybody has to have a cohesive plan it needs to be a countywide plan not a Irvine plan a San Clemente Plan A ciphers plan a palm apply, it needs to be a cohesive countywide plan. Once you have that now, law enforcement freedom, they know what the rules are, and they're free to to deal with it. Now, that brings me to the final no point about how to deal with homelessness. And that is the affordable housing issue that we have in Orange County, you know, we've all been talking about how expensive it is to live here. And a lot of people say, Oh, just send the homeless somewhere else. Well, you can't do that. Because they don't have the money to go somewhere else. and sending them somewhere else is just doing exactly the whole dumping thing. It's just a little more organized. Um, it's it's an issue, but come to find out that was at a meeting last night, and a woman was sitting with us. And she told us, she's a planner. And she said that in California, there is enough land already zone for affordable housing, that you could fix the problem. And she says, what they do what builders Do you know, you have this apartment unit that has 50 units in it. And it's beautiful on the outside, they just build another one exactly like it. But they put 100 units in it. So they're smaller. But they're also cheaper because they'd still only need total total rent comes out to the same and now it's divided by 100 instead of divided by 50. And one thought that I've had and I haven't fully thought this through yet. So don't hold me to this. But I think one way to leverage this is right now, you know, I don't know if you know this. But if you're a developer, and you go into a city, and you bought a property and you put houses in there, for every house, you build, you owe so much money to the city for park space. That's one of the things that California did to make sure that a lot of places do it to make sure that there's open space. Well, how about you tack on to that? Well, you can either donate money to this organization over here who's going to build these hot affordable houses or you build the affordable house it's your choice and you put the onus on the developer who's making money on the deal in the first place to do that now there's a lot of red flags that go off for me on that idea a lot of red flags but I think if you thought through that you could probably come up with a workable solution that wouldn't require putting someone's arm behind their back and forcing them to do something it's sort of like a launch pad for the idea just like for for my five step solution to homelessness It all started at the fifth step How can law enforcement enforce the law so that the because I believe once they start enforcing the laws the community will be like up here and those kind of settle down and you can focus on helping these people it's unfortunately I think our entire tax system is a big part of the problem because I don't really like spending my tax dollars on issues that the government chooses to put it to But that also means that I don't have that money to give to a homeless organization to fix it and that's what I would like to do I'd like to be able to donate my money and then have them take care of it put the onus on the private charitable org ization and not on the government because as we all know anything the government does they never do it right so you know even even getting a plan like this to pass you're going to get people who are going to say well what where where are those homeless shelter is going to go I don't want it in my city you've a huge problem that NIMBY stuff that not in my backyard stuff they fight tooth and nail to keep homeless people out of their area and like I don't know if you guys have ever been to the bridges shelter down there and Anaheim slash Fullerton area but they y require a referral to get in there from police department or the county and they do not allow people to hang out outside. They have security that makes them move on. And basically, if I were to take you there right now, you'd be like, Where's the homeless shelter. I don't know where that it's not like skid row where there's people everywhere. And I think that if people realize that it couldn't be done like that, I think they've changed their tune. And they would donate money to get this taken care of. Now to me is the ultimate solution is, you know,
maybe start out with the government helping and then slowly pull back and bring in more and more organizations that can fix it right now. The United Way has declared war on homelessness. And here's an interesting fact that I forgot to mention right now the top 10% of the homeless people as far as utilization of services are costing us taxpayers $65,000 per person per year. And that includes emergency services, Emergency Room Services, hospitalizations, somebody has paid for it. So it's costing us taxpayers money. If you take that same 10%, I know everyone else is about 10,000 per person per year. If you take that top 10%, and you drop it down to you put them in homes, like in the system housing, the cost drops to $10,000 per person per year for everybody, including the cost of thousand, you save the county, $20 million a year, and you house the people.
So to me, that's a huge win. Because, again, as a taxpayer, I'm paying less out of my pocket for fixing a really serious social issue.
Um, yeah, because there's more preventative care is happening at those places, they're not in the elements, so you don't get a lot of the exposure issues that you get.
If you ever seen someone who's been homeless for a really long time. Usually their legs and ankles will be about this big and it looks like an elephant skin. That's what the elements due to the human body and these people somehow moving them indoors. Like I said, it inspires them to get work, I think they start to feel more human. Again, big few myths to dispel, you know, you hear the majority of them are are crazy, you're on drugs, not true. It's about 25% that fit that category. That means are 75% out there who are like all of us, and they're just looking for a place to live. And they can't afford to the biggest thing that keeps those people homeless, not having the money for a down payment on on apartment. They don't just don't have the money. So, you know, they're trying to come up with, they might, a lot of them have jobs, and they could afford to pay rent. But the first step is, hey, you need, you know, 1600 dollars a month. And then you need 1600 dollar deposit. there you go. And, you know, in you were probably lucky enough to be able to do that. But I'm bet it was a stretch to.
But the point is, the politicians tend to just look the other way. They're all looking towards the next position that they're going to run for. They're not really caring so much about the legacy that they leave behind. proof of that is you create a 10 year plan to solve a problem and six years in because it's not going the way you want to abandon it. I'd like to do that at my job. You know, I'd like to have a goal for revenue and be like, Oh, I'm only hitting half of it, forget it. We're canceling the goal. You know, she'd kill me. But okay, what's the question?
[Question about a Texas plan that has the homeless doing work for the state in order to receive shelter and food]
I think it's a good idea. Because the, as I mentioned, they're very motivated to do those kinds of things when they have shelter. And so why not have them help, you know, get some of that recruitment, some of that money that we're spending or not, I see nothing wrong with that. And, and I don't know about you, but like, I've had periods of unemployment and you feel like garbage. And then when you get a job, you're like, yes, you're so motivated. And I feel like, you know, a big part of the problem with homeless people that I've spoken to is they feel really down. I mean, I've asked probably 50 homeless people, what can I do for you, and most of them have responded with one common thing, please tell people we're not animals or humans just like you. That's sad. It hurts my feelings to hear that because it tells you how poorly they're treated by other people in society.
I can remember being, you know, going to downtown LA for work, and I would take the train down there and a train back. And every time coming back, there was a lady that would sit right in front of me, and the smell was horrible. But she's a human being, you know, not gonna, you know, be like, go away, you know, but yeah, I think I think having them do some work, especially on jobs that were, you know, like you say, picking up rubbish and things like that. I mean, that's something we don't have to pay for job. Yeah, exactly. And, you know,
Well, yeah, I mean, a lot of these zoning laws are creating the issue. And then like, like, in Cyprus, they have this measure a, and everyone's fighting against putting in more houses because it's going to be crowded, but yet, they don't realize that if they don't change the zoning, they could put in a Kaiser hospital there. I think a Kaiser hospital will bring a lot more traffic than maybe 1000 homes would, and also a Kaiser hospital isn't going to bring them a ton of tax dollars, whereas 1000 Homes is gonna bring them a lot of property tax money. It's just, you know, it's a start anyway, any other questions from over there?
Okay, that we're living in the car.
Yeah, they end up moving around me. We have a lady near our home that has lived in her car probably the entire time I've lived there. And it's been three years and all she does such doesn't annoy neighbors as she pulls around the corner and, and she goes down a little further than after she's been there for a few weeks, she comes back over here, and the police just leave her alone because they know that she's just down on her luck and she's homeless and she has a job she goes to work every day and the one time that I was walking my dog and I said hello to her and I was talking to her for about five minutes and she told me can't afford a deposit on apartment that's the problem I can't save enough money and it's you know, she's making minimum wage and even the minimum wages and enough for her to do that. But you're right I mean, you could pick up a second or third job if you could, if people would pay you you know, $5 an hour maybe you could stock up on the money
Any other questions
Its combination above it's a combination about
The charity organization when seem to be more effective
They cost less
I mean they put they built bridges and you put in 200 beds and it was $2 million that it costs to do that and really it all it is is a giant industrial building with a huge parking lot with a fenced off and the fit 200 bunk beds you know hundred hundred bunk beds with two beds into the facility it's not fancy I don't know what they spent $2 million on but $2 million to do that
Whereas you know the nonprofit's…their volunteer driven so any money that they get, they throw it right out those people to help them find jobs. You know what, you need to pay $25 to get your driver's license here's $25 to pay for your driver's license,. They take care of that stuff. And the government doesn't do that. They're also there's less from what I've heard, this is just, you know, hearsay, I've never actually witnessed it. But people have told me that the government runs facilities don't have very good security. So women are afraid to go there because they get, you know, rate molested while they're there. Whereas the private facilities are usually run again by volunteers. And the organization's check those volunteers up pretty carefully, because they don't want liability and runs much smoother churches.
I know a guy
His name is Mark from going to Starbucks.
And he was living near on Valley View. And Lincoln, he was living at the Walgreens, Walgreens, I was there and the, the no trust, trespass to that whole parking lot. So all the homeless had to leave. And I was a little worried about him. But he found a spot at a church and he can come and go there as he pleases. There's a curfew, you know, you have to be backed by certain time. And I think that's mostly logistics of they don't want to keep opening and closing the door, you know, for people and he likes it. He's a lot. He also looks a lot healthier. He has a few mental issues that he's got going on that he needs to have handled.
But I mean, if you think about it, that's a huge problem. Like, you can't force a person to go get mental health services, and you can't force someone to rehab. They have to want that
But yet, that's what society wants, they want us to land heard them up and send them to, you know, rehab facility.
Any other questions from the peanut gallery over there? No, I'm glad people are watching. Hi, everybody.
The internet's an interesting thing. Any other questions from the room here?
It's not actually did the fact the only thing keeping it from that is that it's not earmarked for that they are not allowed Joseph but the
Yeah would have to be docked. Why believe you would offer how that run by private organizations and not the government because otherwise someone's gonna be like, here's so much for you. And then here's so much for this guy. And I agree with you there, it'd be rampant corruption. And I say that based off of past experience, you know, you've seen what they did they need they need to build sure they need to build the the assistive housing without money and then let private organizations run it so it'd be run more efficiently and not pay them to run it. But have them from the base of their donations that they get run it Yeah, right. I wouldn't, I wouldn't want that at all. Because I agree with you somewhere. Somehow someone's gonna figure out how to rip you off. sad state of affairs, right?
So all right. Well, if there's no other questions, that's all I've got for you today.
Thank you for having me.
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