Darden and the countless other outreach workers like him across America have as their ultimate objective removing homeless people off the streets into permanent homes.

LaVoy Darden with Search Homeless Services drives through his service area looking for clients in Houston, Texas on May 5, 2023 (Source: LAist)

Darden in Action to Homeless People

LaVoy Darden – As an outreach expert for a nearby charity organization particularly for homeless people, he visits homeless camps in Houston, providing snacks, fostering relationships, and adding people to waiting lists for affordable housing. On good days, he gets to inform them that they are relocating, reports from LAist.

He must first locate them, though. Even though it’s 93 degrees outside today, fewer people are walking around than normal. Before he finds her, he spends hours driving around Houston’s streets in his van, stopping occasionally to inform other clients about their house hunts. It seems to occur more frequently in Houston, where the number of homeless people has decreased by more than half over the past ten years. Contrast that with the largest cities in California, where the population of homeless people growth was double- and even triple-digits.

Not just Houston, either. In contrast to California, where the number of homeless people increased by 43% during the same period, Texas as a whole last year had a 28% decline in homelessness since 2012. For every 100,000 residents in Texas, 81 individuals live on the streets. The rate of homeless people is more than five times higher in California.

And this is true even though Texas spends much less state money on homeless people. Texas invested $19.7 million in its three main homelessness programs last year, not including federal funding, or about $806 per unhoused individual. Contrarily, California invested $1.85 billion, or $10,786 for every unhoused individual, in its three main programs.

How do citizens in each state feel about homelessness? The difference is striking: According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, homeless people are the top concern for California voters. It failed to place in the top ten in a 2020 survey of Texas citizens.

Why is Texas’ record on homeless people so much better? Right-leaning observers immediately attribute the disparity to California’s too-progressive policies. The numbers coming out of Texas may not be trusted by liberals. While local communities and charity organizations send delegation after delegation to Texas, the truth is more nuanced, as California’s leaders are beginning to see.

READ ALSO: Texas Getting Attention on Housing Homeless People

California Leaders on Texas Homelessness

Leaders in the Golden State government are in desperate need of immediate solutions because homelessness is a major source of conflict in many Californian cities, and municipal and governmental efforts to remove homeless people from the streets continue to fall short. They are in such a condition of desperation that they are visiting one whose deep-red ideas California Democrats are more renowned for deriding than for imitating. Houston was visited earlier this year by the San Jose homelessness response team. Last November, representatives from the Los Angeles region’s cities and counties traveled. They left feeling envious of some of Houston’s advantages over towns in California, like the lower cost of housing, which makes it simpler for the Texas city to find or construct homes for residents and homeless people.

The city’s ability to collaborate with the county and other local organizations, give permanent housing financing priority over temporary shelters, and find locations for people before removing encampments also impressed the Californians.

City council members from Richmond, California, traveled to Austin in April to visit a 51-acre tiny home community that offers permanent homes to 350 homeless people and growing. Sacramento’s elected representatives traveled to San Antonio to visit a 1,600-person shelter that provides everything from counseling to dental treatment and houses nearly the whole city’s homeless population.

According to many experts, California can take a page or two from these homeless people solutions. But Eric Tars, legal director of the National Homelessness Law Center, said that emulating the Lone Star State won’t help the Golden State solve its housing affordability dilemma, which has been a decades-long problem.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness’ senior California policy fellow, Alex Visotzky, noted that what those people are doing, specifically their concentration on housing homeless people, is effective.

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