Addressing the Homelessness Crisis and Housing
Ending homelessness, housing residents, and supporting the needs of residents with mental illness will be a top priority. I’ll use my experience as Mayor of Costa Mesa as a launching point. My first priority as Costa Mesa’s directly elected mayor was to change the city’s approach to resolving homelessness. My initiative resulted in helping the homeless with shelter and services, including job training and placement, mental health assessments, health and dental care, substance-abuse treatment, reconnections with family, and connections to permanent housing. The secure, reservation-only operation at the temporary and long-term sites prevents loitering. The model in Costa Mesa, which was recently adopted by Newport Beach, can be replicated in other cities to address this crisis. It’s a win-win situation because people are off the streets and receive help to find permanent housing. I led efforts to partner with Newport Beach to build a permanent shelter near the airport. The main obstacle is funding: Although funds are available, they are not flowing to local city governments to support their efforts. As Supervisor, I will work with our cities and school districts to ensure they have the funding necessary for crucial programs and services.
My background as a planning commissioner, city councilmember, and Mayor will be useful in discussions about building and locating more affordable workforce housing. We must support local communities' planning needs while protecting neighborhoods and creating housing that all families can afford. When we prioritize housing near job centers with amenities like grocery stores and parks, we will also reduce transportation costs, car emissions, and congestion. My local government experience is critical now as the state imposes requirements to build housing. We must protect traditional neighborhoods while we create a regional housing plan.