My first priority as Costa Mesa’s directly elected mayor was to change the city’s approach to resolving homelessness. My initiative resulted in helping the homeless with shelter and services, including job training and placement, mental health assessments, health and dental care, substance-abuse treatment, reconnections to family, and connections to permanent housing. The secure, reservation-only operation at the temporary and long-term sites prevents loitering. Our model in Costa Mesa can be replicated in other cities to address this crisis. It’s a win-win situation because people are off the streets and are receiving help to find permanent housing. The main obstacle is funding: Although funds are available, they are not flowing to local city governments to support their efforts. I will work to support our local agencies.
My background as a planning commissioner and city councilmember will be useful in discussions about building and location of more affordable workforce housing. We must support local communities' planning needs, while protecting neighborhoods and creating housing that all families can afford. When we prioritize housing near job centers with amenities like grocery stores and parks, we will also reduce transportation costs, car emissions, and congestion.