Homelessness Homelessness

For us to solve California’s homelessness problem, we first must start viewing our homeless brethren as fellow Californians and care for them with the same common-sense compassion and understanding that we would care for our own family members. My policy position is informed by the fact that I have a family member (my uncle) living on skid row in downtown Los Angeles, and his life – along with the lives of every person in California – matters. Compassion alone, however, will not solve California’s homelessness problem, and we know that based on years of throwing billions of dollars at the problem, only to see it get progressively worse.

Collins Solution

Solving the homeless crisis in California will require rethinking the nature and meaning of compassion for the homeless, a reassessment of the underlying assumptions that have informed the policies of recent years, and a recalibration of where tolerance ends, and law enforcement begins. As governor, I will treat California’s homeless with the compassion that they deserve, but it will be common-sense compassion, not blind compassion. For far too long, California has blindly thrown money at the problem and failed to apply common-sense solutions that will get those who are homeless the specific help they need. As an initial matter, California must distinguish between the people who have fallen into homelessness due to a lost job or other catastrophic event (the “have nots”), those who are homeless due to addiction or mental illness (the “can nots”), and those who are resistant to any help when it is judiciously provided to them (the “will nots”). Much of our chronically homeless population (roughly 60%) are the “can nots” and the “will nots”, who are suffering from addiction and mental health issues, and for far too long, California has tried to help addicts and the mentally ill with a housing first policy that simply puts them in a motel without addressing their mental health or drug addictions.

  • It’s time to fix the mental health laws that cleared out our mental hospitals fifty years ago and put tens of thousands of people on the streets, effectively transforming our jails into mental health centers. I would demand that the legislature put forward serious reform of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS Act) and require any county that receives mental health funds for housing to adopt Laura’s Law, so that treatment is an option before involuntary commitment is required.
  • I support the removal of any restrictions that throttle the ability of shelters, non-profits and churches to house individuals and families using strict guidelines, requirements and programs that have a proven track record.