Commentary | Ventura’s Homeless Problem



By Valerie E.  White

On 6/18/18, the Ventura City Council approved a budget that includes Measure O funds. Under the approving eyes of many city-and county-employed bureaucrats for homeless projects and the supporters who are called to attend the meeting to influence the council’s decisions, the council approved over $1.5 million dollars to directly benefit the small number of “homeless” individuals calling Ventura home. For this year, the council:

–Approved $600K for a homeless shelter (facility lease/purchase and tenant improvements)

–Approved $250K (and more expected) for operating expenses for the shelter

–Approved $650-$700K for Ventura Police Department overtime (“gap” spending for 1 year) (*It takes approximately 2 years for VPD to train patrol-ready officers for duty.)

Ventura’s city council members have decided to spend a total of $1.5 million, including Measure O funds, on a few hundred service-resistant addicts and mentally ill vagrants. Add the matching county funds of $600K, and taxpayers get the honor of paying a whopping $2.1 million on these “homeless,” a term that the liberal factions of Ventura County use to describe all street dwellers. They refuse to see that street dwellers are not all the same, yet the homeless “solution” that city leaders chose is a housing plan that addresses none of the issues that placed the “homeless” on the streets. City leaders and shelter proponents proudly state that “supportive services will be available” at the shelter while failing to mention that shelter clients are not required to utilize any of the supportive services, and largely don’t. In effect, the shelter will enable criminal vagrants and drug addicts to use the shelter as a “clubhouse” to continue their “lifestyle,” victimizing law-abiding Venturans.

I’d suggest viewing the City Council’s video of the 6/18/18 meeting beginning at 1:03.

This council is leading Ventura to the edge of a financial cliff with “homeless” expenditures, not to mention the unfunded pension obligations that all of the additional overtime police patrols will bring and the infrastructure/capital improvements that will NOT be funded and completed. The council has also let Ventura Fire Department staffing get to a critical level, and is now being addressed with major overtime expenditures which also impacts pension funding.

Reno is a city that is farther along the “give everyone a home and/or shelter bed for free.” Their HUD/city/county-funded shelter operates under HUD homeless policies as a low-barrier facility that allows individuals to enter and stay under the influence of alcohol and drugs; use substances within the facility (alcohol, heroin, etc.); conduct illegal business activities such as prostitution and selling of stolen goods; and generally have a great “clubhouse” for anyone not choosing to be self-sufficient or a responsible citizen. Police are regularly called to the site for sexual assaults, fights, and other violence, and the population of vagrants coming to avail themselves of Reno’s great homeless services continues to grow. It is a vacation destination for homeless vagrants across the country. Many of the shelter residents enter with SSI checks and other government entitlements ranging from several hundred to over $1000/month. Free meals are available at a nearby feeding facility, so an “all expenses paid vacation” is readily available. Ventura would be equally appealing as a vacation destination.

San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other beach cities in Southern California have not seen the desired solution to homeless vagrancy by providing more and more shelters and services. Ventura should reconsider its shelter funding approval.

Valerie E. White: “For more information, contact

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