California Gov. Gavin Newsom invited homeless people across the country to move to his state even though California already struggles to care for what has become the nation’s largest homeless population.
Facing a recall election, Newsom held a press conference on Monday pledging to spend $12 billion to combat homelessness on top of the billions of dollars the state has already spent on housing for the homeless.
Newsom claimed anyone who wants to take advantage of these benefits is welcome.
“It’s about getting people off the streets, out of incidents of crisis, and meeting people where they are and to the extent that people want to come here for new beginnings and all income levels, that’s part of the California dream,” Newsom said. “We have a responsibility to accommodate and enliven and inspire, and California’s dream is still alive and well.”
Newsom added: “All people should aspire to that California dream regardless of their income level and regarding their lot in life.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva slammed Newsom for failing to address the rising crime and sinking quality of life that homelessness brings to areas.
“Those comments blew us away,” Villanueva told the Washington Examiner.
“We are trying to keep our heads above water, and he goes and says that?” Villanueva continued. “When he invites the rest of the nation’s homeless to California, that is the death wish.”
Villanueva pointed to the steady spike in crime across Los Angeles County, which has one of the largest homeless populations in the country. Just this year, homicides have risen 58%, he said.
“I have homeless with mental illness on the streets who attack residents, set their houses on fire, and run over them with cars,” Villanueva explained. “Just the sheer level of violence that comes with the increase in population of homeless is like pouring gasoline on the fire.”
It was not immediately clear, based on a review of the state’s recall policies, whether incoming Californians would first be required to establish residency in order to be eligible to vote in the Sept. 14 recall election.
Counties will begin mailing absentee ballots to everyone currently on the voter rolls beginning in August.