Sep 17, 2019

Trump floats an "individual task force" against homelessness

On his way to California on Tuesday, President Trump told reporters that he is considering an "individual task force" to take on the issue of homelessness in California, which he said is "destroying" cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“We’re looking at it very seriously. I’ve spoken to [HUD] Secretary Carson in terms of the housing element. But we have people living in our… best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings, where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige. In many cases they came from other countries and they moved to Los Angeles or they moved to San Francisco because of the prestige of the city, and all of a sudden they have tents. Hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance to their office building."

The big picture: There is speculation that Trump is preparing to declare a "war on homelessness" — especially in California, where the president has long suggested that the homelessness crisis may require federal intervention, per the Washington Post.

  • Trump administration officials spent several days in Los Angeles meeting with officials about how to tackle homelessness, with some suggesting that the president could move to "clear homeless encampments by moving people into government-run shelters on federal land," per the LA Times.
  • In a call with reporters this week, White House economists floated the idea of using police as a "tool to help get [the homeless] off the streets," but declined to provide more details, according to the Washington Post.
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