Supervisor Jim Desmond
Last week, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to authorize a memorandum of agreement between the County of San Diego and the San Diego Housing Commission to purchase four hotels in an effort to combat homelessness.
I was the lone "no" vote as this legislation fails to address the root causes of homelessness and lacks the necessary accountability for taxpayer funds. Spending over $157 million taxpayer dollars at $478,000 per unit is not the solution.
A few weeks ago, I discussed "Housing First" and why this policy is failing our state.
The purchase of hotels is another example of the wrong approach as the goal will be to convert them into housing for the homeless. Because this is a "Housing First" project, it disregards sobriety or substance use as eligibility criteria.
If this approach truly worked, we would be witnessing declining homelessness rates. However, the reality is that homelessness continues to rise, despite the State of California already squandering over $10 billion on so-called homeless solutions in just the past three years. Housing First is a failed formula, burdening our communities with disastrous results.
Enabling addicts to continue using is not compassionate. We wouldn't allow our friends or family members to spiral into addiction without intervening, so why should we allow members of our community to do so?
We must redirect our efforts toward comprehensive solutions prioritizing mental health services and addiction recovery programs. By focusing on enabling individuals to achieve sobriety, and by providing access to the necessary support and resources, we can break the cycle of homelessness and create a lasting impact.