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If you live on the west coast, you’re no stranger to the ongoing debate over housing the homeless in hotels on the taxpayers dime. The finest hotels in San Francisco and Los Angeles are putting up a fight, but places like the Palace hotel in San Francisco are currently housing those without a roof over their head, and their expenses are being covered by the city. In fact, San Francisco estimates that it will spend upwards of $1oom housing 7k homeless in hotels for just 90 days.
An interesting sidenote will be issue of getting them out once the city stops paying. One, there is a moratorium on evictions and two, for the homeless that are a bit savvy, they could potentially declare tenant rights. California has some of the most liberal laws protecting squatters…30 days and you’ve fulfilled the minimum requirement to be considered a month to month renter – meaning the law would need to be involved in order to evict ( if evictions are back on the table). There was a famous case of this in Palm Springs back in 2014 where some renters did this at an AirBnb. After it was all said and done, it took the owners months and thousands of dollars of legal expenses and lost income to get their squatters out.
Well, the debate has gotten even more heated as it was announced that the city will facilitate drugs and alcohol being delivered to the homeless staying in hotels paid for by the city. This is in addition to methodone being administered for opioid addicts and will include cannabis and alcohol. That’s medical cannabis with a specific purpose, no recreational cannabis just to clarify. If you’ve been to California, then you already know how strict the states laws are regarding getting a medical marijuana ID. The requirements are pretty strict and I could be a bit off here, but if you inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide you have a pretty good shot at getting medical marijuana. It is worth noting that drugs and alcohol are being funded by private donations; however, the delivery will be facilitated by the city and is part of their “hard reduction therapy.”
I can’t remember where I read this, but a couple of months ago when this was all being proposed It was speculated that the city would figure out a way to provide the homeless with their usual daily activity. That prophecy has been realized. Part of the explanation was that it would minimize drug dealers, etc from making constant deliveries to hotels, allow addicts to get treatment ( ? ), and potentially create a safer environment within the confines of the hotel for everyone who is there and self isolating.
It will be interesting to see how policies like this affect the ongoing discussion of de-urbanization, increasing debt loads of municipalities, and losses in net migration. The homeless epidemic is particularly shocking across LA and SF where lavish displays of wealth, high cost of living, and poverty are juxtaposed in the light of day. I’m certainly not a public health official, but I am one that has traveled a lot, and I live in LA. Taxes are high, infrastructure is failing, and with the increasing viability of work from home jobs, I wonder how many will people will choose to live elsewhere, and whether tourists will be dissuaded from staying in hotels that continue to house the homeless once restrictions are lifted.
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