California Recall Candidate Kevin Faulconer Wants To Tackle Homelessness. What Did He Do

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Faulconer says he did not allow tent encampments and achieved a “double digit” reduction in homelessness. Experts say his claims are overstated and incomplete.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Republican recall candidate Kevin Faulkner says he helped reduce homelessness in San Diego by double digits when he was the city’s mayor and would tackle California’s problem, head on as governor cap, radios, PolitiFact, California, reporter Chris Nichols, examined Faulkner’s accomplishments as mayor in the weekly. Can you handle the truth segment? He spoke with anchor Randall white.

Speaker 2: 00:24 Chris Kevin Faulkner has made his record on homelessness, a central part of his run for governor. What did he accomplish on this topic? Faulkner

Speaker 3: 00:33 Was San Diego’s mayor from 2014 to 2020 and Randall. He can point to some achievements such as opening new shelters for up to a thousand people, expanding safe, lots where people who live in their cars can legally park and also increasing funding for homeless initiatives, but advocates for homeless people along with some political observers have criticized Faulkner for being a reluctant leader on these issues. They say he really only made homelessness a top priority in 2017. That’s when a hepatitis, a outbreak spread across San Diego’s homeless population, leaving hundred sick and killing 20 people.

Speaker 2: 01:13 Yeah, that’s right. That was horrific outbreak and made national headlines. Let’s listen to what Faulkner says he accomplished here. He is during a June interview with Fox LA in Los Angeles. We have

Speaker 4: 01:26 To get people off the sidewalks as mayor of San Diego. I did not allow tent and cabinets in San Diego. We were the only big city where we actually reduced homelessness by double digits. Chris

Speaker 2: 01:36 Let’s start by fact checking Faulkner’s claim that he did not allow tent encampments in San Diego. Is that correct?

Speaker 3: 01:44 That statement is generally correct, but it does need some context. Faulkner was aggressive and using law enforcement to clear encampments, especially in downtown San Diego, that enforcement was combined with efforts by the police to connect people with shelters. But again, observers point out that Faulkner only made this a priority after the hepatitis a outbreak. And they described this approach as a short-term fix here’s San Diego Mesa college political science professor, Carl Luna

Speaker 5: 02:15 At a certain point, the mayor took action to try to clear the tent encampments that you saw all over sidewalks and freeway on-ramps across downtown San Diego in particular, but there were tenting camp mints. When he became mayor, there were tents encampments during the time he was mayor and there were pockets of them that existed even afterwards. So we didn’t get rid of all of them and didn’t get rid of them permanently because they’re now bad. This

Speaker 3: 02:39 Effort did result in more people going to shelters, but advocates say it also moved many homeless people into neighborhoods outside the downtown, which separated them from services and made it harder to count them. During annual surveys.

Speaker 2: 02:54 Speaking of homeless surveys Faulkner also made the claim that San Diego saw a double digit reduction in homelessness. The only big city to do that is he right about that.

Speaker 3: 03:05 Nour is basing this statement on San Diego’s most recent point in time count comparing homelessness in early 20, 20 to the year before

Speaker 6: 03:14 The statistic can be a little misleading.

Speaker 3: 03:17 And that is John Brady. He’s a board member on the nonprofit that conducts the San Diego.

Speaker 6: 03:23 The true statistic is that the mayor under his leadership saw a 12% reduction in unsheltered homelessness. Wasn’t a reduction in total homelessness.

Speaker 3: 03:35 He also says there were some changes in how the homeless count was conducted in the years, leading up to 2020 based on guidance from the federal government. These changes led to a more limited count of homeless individuals. And when the report came out, that Faulkner is citing. Brady says he advised the public not to compare the results to past homeless counts. That

Speaker 1: 03:59 Was cap radio’s PolitiFact, California reporter Chris Nichols.

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