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Ben Carson: California Can ‘Absolutely’ Solve Homlessness Crisis

Capital Public Radio reported that Dr. Benjamin Carson, Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, urged California leaders to work with the Trump administration to solve the state’s homelessness issues. 

“This is the can-do nation. We’ve overcome much more difficult problems than this. But when we have overcome them, we have overcome them together,” said Carson at a forum Thursday held at the University of Southern California. 

Carson called for the state to streamline regulations such as zoning and density restrictions that he said blocks the construction of housing.

“It becomes a labyrinth because of all these things that are layered on top of each other,” he said. “Can we fix that? We absolutely can. Again, it comes back to working together. We’re not enemies.” 

California has more than 150,000 homeless people, according to a recent federal report. Gary Painter, Chair of the USC Department of Public Policy, said during the event that’s an increase of 30,000 over the past decade.

Painter added that African-Americans in the state make up 30%, while they are just 6% of the state’s overall population.  

“Those numbers are staggering. It is a crisis. We can do better and we must do better,” former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said at the event. 

California has been at the center of the nation’s affordability crisis recently. Realtor.com reported recently that San Jose, California, led the nation with its 40% drop in inventory. Home prices rose 10% during that time. 

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) announced that Los Angeles is now the nations’ least affordable market—taking that distinction from San Francisco. 

The NAHB revealed that just 11.3% of homes sold during the quarter were affordable to those earning the city’s median income of $73,100. 

Earlier this year, California’s Senate Bill, which aimed to increase housing density and supply came three votes shy of the necessary 21 votes to reach the State Assembly. 

The bill hit a roadblock late last year, when Sen. Anthony Portantini, the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee came out against SB 50 earlier this year. He said the measure would have trumped zoning rules that are “exclusively under the control” of cities and counties. 

The Los Angeles Times reported last year that California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed multiple bills into law this week that allowing property owners to build a backyard home of at least 800-square-feet. 

The bill would have allowed homeowners to convert a garage, office, or spare room into living quarters. The new legislation also had a provision for allowing three homes on land previously zoned for single-family. 

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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