It is time to focus on the bigger issues that are currently at hand in California. During this global pandemic and one of the biggest protest movements against racial injustice, elected officials need to do their part to address issues that are directly impacting their constituents currently: homelessness.
In California, 72 percent of people experiencing homelessness are unsheltered, which is the highest share of unsheltered homelessness of any state. How did it get to this point? Homelessness in California has increased more than 22 percent over the last decade and is looking to increase by over 16 percent. These are predictions made before the global pandemic took place. Now due to employment challenges and people not being able to pay rent, Californians may be looking at eviction, which could increase the population of homeless California residents. While eviction has been halted ordered by the governor, what will happen when that expires? We need to make sure that Californians will be able to live and address these issues now before they become a bigger problem that is not easily controlled.
Homelessness also affects populations of color disproportionally to their white counterparts. Black people are experiencing overrepresentation in the criminal justice system, housing segregation, and employment discrimination, which has led to their disproportionate representation in the homeless population.
However, our elected officials are too busy focusing on S.B. 793 which bans flavored tobacco, or A.B. 2074’s mandate over the definition of California olive oil. The main priority should be providing aid to Californians who are currently homeless and those that may become homeless as evictions will be on the rise once the state lifts the moratorium.
It’s time to focus on how we can get our neighborhoods, city, and state moving forward, and on becoming productive on issues that directly affect Californians and hold our elected officials accountable.