There are multiple causes of homelessness in California, including mental illness and drug addiction. But, we must ask ourselves, why is it only in California that the crisis is so bad?
Mentally ill and drug-addicted people are housed in many other places. Why not here? Because the rent is too damn high. We treat shelter as a commodity, not a necessity.
The other root cause of homelessness is the lack of supply of affordable housing. Why? Because all of the incentives are aligned to build luxury housing and nothing else.
And, we keep destroying affordable housing to create more luxury units – many of which are empty.
So, who created these incentives? Politicians who are bought and paid for by big real estate. California’s plight isn’t an accident. We have been plundered by greedy developers and their handmaidens – selfish politicians.
It’s why a grassroots movement is pushing forward the Rental Affordability Act, which allows communities to expand rent control in California.