Your guide to the California Senate candidates' views of housing and homelessness

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No issues excite, liking aliases anger California voters much than nan housing situation and homelessness.

Because seeing tents connected thoroughfare corners is really astir Californians process nan crisis, it’s often viewed nan domain of section politicians. The reality is that overmuch of nan backing to reside homelessness aliases lodging insecurity flows from nan national government. About 28% of nan country’s bum organization aliases astir 180,000 group unrecorded successful California.

Because of nan Washington’s influence, electing a legislator pinch an expertise connected nan issue and proposals to alleviate nan crises will beryllium pivotal to California’s future.

While homelessness and lodging person not been nan predominate issues successful nan title to win nan precocious Sen. Dianne Feinstein, nan candidates person made immoderate of their views known. Democratic Reps. Katie Porter of Irvine, Adam Schiff of Burbank and Barbara Lee of Oakland on pinch Republican Steve Garvey person each offered insights that springiness immoderate clues to what shapes their world position connected those issues.

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Steve Garvey

Former Los Angeles Dodgers MVP Steve Garvey is moving for nan unfastened U.S. Senate spot successful California arsenic a Republican.

(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

The erstwhile master shot subordinate campaigned this wintertime by appearing astatine a bum shelter successful San Diego and taking a circuit of Skid Row successful Los Angeles. The constituent of nan trip, he told reporters, was to get up to velocity connected nan issue.

“Once we get done nan primary, I’ll commencement a deeper dive into nan [issues],” Garvey, who played for nan Dodgers and San Diego Padres, said outside nan San Diego bum shelter.

“I haven’t been astatine this very long, truthful you sewage to springiness maine a small spot of leeway here.”

Since past he’s offered fewer specifics arsenic to really he’d tackle these copy crises if elected to nan Senate. During a televised debate successful February, Garvey railed astir regulations stifling nan expertise to build much lodging successful nan state, but he couldn’t sanction a regularisation he’d for illustration to cut. He blames Democrats for failing to reside nan issues moreover aft spending billions of dollars. He’s called for an audit connected really money has been spent by authorities but has said small connected really he’d do things differently.

When talking astir homelessness, Garvey focuses connected nan supplier and intelligence wellness situation that is playing retired connected nan state’s streets. “We request to excavation heavy and supply broad attraction that includes intelligence health, addiction treatment, and affordable housing,” his run tract states.

Homeless group “need to beryllium taken disconnected nan streets. They request to beryllium cared for. It’s nan narcotics and nan intelligence unwellness that’s nan truest disaster,” he said astatine a caller debate.

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Adam Schiff

Adam Schiff (D-CA)

(Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)

The Burbank typical has backed authorities that has expanded national backing for housing. He, on pinch Lee and Porter, voted for nan American Rescue Plan on pinch nan earlier COVID-19 stimulus package that included billions of dollars successful rental subsidies for group connected nan verge of eviction. He besides supported nan Ending Homelessness Act of 2023, authorities sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), a astir $10 cardinal connection to reducing homelessness though existing authorities programs.

In nan past, Schiff has utilized a national grant backing mechanism known arsenic earmarks — aliases money targeted astatine circumstantial projects — to get money for nonprofits successful his district. In nan 2022, his agency sewage astir $11 cardinal successful backing for projects that touched homelessness, lodging and nutrient insecurity.

On nan run trail, Schiff has talked rather a spot astir homelessness and economical insecurity. Both Schiff and Porter person released lodging plans, and each has talked astir nan request to grow nan Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which is nan signature programme for financing affordable lodging building successful nan United States. The programme offers taxation breaks for investors who money nan building of affordable housing.

Separately, conscionable a 4th of nan group who suffice person nan national government’s main rental subsidy program, known arsenic Section 8 lodging vouchers. Schiff and others person called for this programme to beryllium an entitlement—meaning everyone who meets nan income requirements receives nan subsidy.

Schiff wants to summation national spending connected homelessness by astatine slightest $100 billion. Currently nan federal govenremnt spends about $10 cardinal connected homelessness assistance programs done nan Department of Housing and Urban Development. (This doesn’t see rental subsides done nan Section 8 program). He besides wants to restrict backstage equity investors from buying up ample tracts of lodging truthful arsenic not to crowd retired first-time purchasers of homes and supply down costs assistance to low-income Americans erstwhile buying homes.

“Beyond nan benignant of contiguous task of getting group disconnected nan thoroughfare to make things much affordable, I deliberation we request to alteration nan taxation incentives that supply overmuch stronger incentives to create housing,” Schiff said. “We person to find a measurement to constrain rising rents moreover successful places wherever there’s tons of vacancy.”

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Katie Porter

 Rep. Katie Porter, who is moving for nan precocious Dianne Feinstein's Senate seat.

(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

Porter talks astir homelessness and lodging successful starkly individual terms, describing really her ain children interest if they’ll beryllium capable to spend to unrecorded successful California because of nan costs of housing. She’s besides said nan existent business is simply a nonaccomplishment of decades of bad argumentation retired of Washington.

“Housing was hardly an rumor successful nan past Democratic statesmanlike predetermination and it hasn’t been capable of an rumor yet successful this title successful my opinion,” she told The Times aft a statement earlier this month.

Porter’s lodging scheme besides calls for afloat backing nan Section 8 voucher program. The national fund includes astir $30 cardinal for these rental vouchers, which thief astir 2 cardinal Americans salary rent. To afloat money it, experts estimate that nan national authorities would request to walk astir $100 cardinal a twelvemonth connected nan programme .

If elected, Porter said she would “push for improved taxation credits and authorities indebtedness guarantees, which will spur Wall Street to supply financing for expanding location ownership opportunities for our workforce.”

Porter besides expressed skepticism complete Wall Street’s incursion into nan lodging market, saying her scheme that would disincentivize finance firms from viewing existent property speculation arsenic a financial instrumentality to turn their ain profits.

She’s besides pushing for much finance by nan national authorities successful nan creation of caller lodging and nan creation of a package of subsidies that thief first clip location buyers on pinch taxation credits to summation nan building of much housing.

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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Lee has talked openly astir being bum herself. It occurred successful her mid-20s erstwhile she was azygous mother of 2 and had conscionable near an abusive relationship. The acquisition shaped really she views nan issue, she said.

Much of Lee’s profession successful authorities has focused connected addressing poverty. In Congress, she and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were early advocates for nan backing of nan National Affordable Housing Trust Fund — a programme meant to reconstruct and build debased income rental housing. If elected, she says she would “invest much than $1 trillion successful nan National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to build millions of affordable units successful some municipality and agrarian areas, connection assistance for first-time location buyers, and supply rent alleviation for lower-income renters.”

Like Porter and Schiff, Lee wants to make nan Section 8 programme an entitlement truthful it’s disposable to everyone who qualifies. She’s pushed for a headdress connected yearly rental increases and authorities that would thief renters spend “security deposits and different basal moving costs.” Like nan different Democrats, Lee supports Rep. Waters’ Ending Homelessness Act of 2023.

“We person to make judge children person safe lodging and we person to make judge nan national authorities invests successful our unsheltered population,” Lee said.

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Related coverage

L.A. Times Editorial Board Endorsements

The Times’ editorial committee operates independently of nan newsroom — reporters covering these races person nary opportunity successful nan endorsements.

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