White House officials have a plan to crack down on homelessness in California, likely targeting Los Angeles, and which could include repurposing existing federal property, The Washington Post reported.
Citing two unnamed sources, the Post reported the officials are expected to present the plan to President Donald Trump in the coming weeks, and perhaps as soon as next week.
Besides considering repurposing existing federal property, and a focus on Los Angeles – whose homelessness problem have been described by the president as "disgusting" – officials have also discussed moving homeless people from specific areas and condemning certain properties.
The Post reported it had not been able to learn specifically what will be in the final plan.
The acceleration comes in the wake of Trump's demands to aides over the summer to do something about the homeless crisis in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
According to the Post, however, career officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and national housing experts are worried some solutions could make things worse — especially coming on the heels of the exit of Matthew Doherty, who until Friday was executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Career staff at HUD were told at an internal meeting, Doherty was not willing to compromise his principles and follow the Trump administration's lead on homelessness policy, the Post reported.
"Earlier this year, President Trump directed his team to study the issue, including visiting areas where the crisis has become most extreme, and develop a range of common sense policy options for consideration to solve the problem," said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman. "While some governors and mayors have helped create this situation only to ignore it, President Trump is not going to sit idly by."
Some activists also are worried about the reported suggestion that police officers could be used as part of the effort to address homelessness.
"We're worried about all the things the White House is hinting it may do," said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "It's really worrying that the administration appears to be using homelessness deliberately as a political wedge issue and preying on people's fears."
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