Housing the homeless will be my first priority. Every person should have a place to sleep at night that is not on the streets or in our parks.
Our system is moving more people out of homelessness than ever before, but these gains are overwhelmed by the numbers of families and individuals who are newly homeless. If elected, I will treat homeless like the emergency it is, and immediately work to fund more shelter, 24 hour low barrier shelters, and provide for more regulated encampments.
For our long-term response we need to systematically review existing approaches as well as test new strategies to ensure we’re using our dollars as effectively as possible.
This may require additional money in the short run. I will immediately review our general fund budget, which has grown by $250 million over the last three years, to identify unneeded spending and redirect it to essential public services, including expanding treatment for drug addiction and mental health services.
We also need to address the problem of rising rents. Many people have been pushed out of their homes due to a lack of housing affordability. More housing options, and more public housing, can make a difference.