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The former Public Health Service Hospital was once the home to Amazon. Now it is home to a mess of public agencies because there is no private developer willing to finance earthquake retrofits needed to adapt the building for housing.

Despite spending billions on homelessness, governments and non-profits have failed to put a dent in California’s population of city street-dwellers. …. In July, Gov. Newsom toured the Estrella Vista Apartments, a new affordable housing development in Emeryville.  …..Estrella Vista project epitomizes the problems with California affordable housing policy:  Estrella Vista’s 87 units have an average construction cost of $736,239 and it took eight years from property acquisition to project completion. High costs and long development times are common for the kind of infill, transit-oriented projects California planners prefer.

Also, because affordable housing projects like Estrella Vista are often owned and operated by not-for-profits, they don’t generate property taxes for the counties, cities and school districts in which they are located.  The project’s non-profit developer, EAH Housing, will be able to obtain a welfare exemption freeing it from any property tax liability.

Joffe goes on to suggest that homeless pople maybe should be forced to live min less expansive places .. 

But don’t homeless people have a right to housing in the city in which they live?  Not necessarily. Many homeless individuals have migrated from other states, attracted by the mild California weather, availability of services and permissive attitude of many cities. Others who may have once owned or paid rent in an expensive city, lost their connections to employment, friends and family due to drug abuse and anti-social behavior. It is not clear that individuals in such circumstances have a reasonable claim to housing at their current location.

Many homeless could be expected to refuse offers of housing elsewhere. Indeed, many street dwellers decline offers to move into nearby shelters and navigation centers. This leaves the question of whether the homeless should be obliged to take housing options that they may not like.