The local charities have urged communities in California to take unhoused people into spare rooms or take them into their own homes.
Some of these schemes receive little to no compensation from the government, Dailymail report.
Carpenter, who runs the East Bay nonprofit Safe Time, which places homeless families and college students in spare bedrooms for one-to-six months, told Mercury News:
“This is something that someone can do when they just feel that despair of ‘oh my gosh, I just can’t stand seeing these poor people on the streets near my home.”
Over 60 placements have been made by the group since 2017. Homeless are estimated to number 30,000 in the Bay Area’s five counties, which include East Bay, North Bay, South Bay, Peninsula, and the city of San Francisco.
About 20 miles east of downtown San Francisco is Richmond, a city in the East Bay county of Contra Costa that has created a program to connect homeless people with landlords who have vacant apartments.
By funding the program with private donations, it will allow landlords to waive credit, employment, and background checks for tenants.
“That’s the carrot,” Mayor Tom Butt told DailyMail.com.
“But we have had some landlords come forward and offer it lower, as they want to participate.”
When quizzes, He said people care more about unhoused people and homeless camps than the potential dangers of welcoming homeless people into homes or apartments.
“They are more concerned with the homeless camps,” he stated. “People want to see solutions, and want to be part of the solution.”
As the apartments are lower end, the tenants will always be less secure and affluent, so he claims he hasn’t faced any concerns or issues from those housing them.
With the help of Safe Time, Zach Stein and his wife housed a young woman for three months in Albany, California, in 2020.
“In some ways, it was really weird,” he said.
Once their newborn is a little older, they plan on doing it again – explaining that the reason they were able to purchase their house is because they inherited money, and they want to share their good fortune with others.
“Being in a position to do that, especially in a place like the Bay Area, it felt really important to us to find ways to open that up.”
Homecoming Project pays homeowners in Alameda and Contra Costa counties $30 a day to house a former prisoner in their spare bedroom for six months.
Every former inmate is matched with a case manager who helps him or her find a job and save money. The program does not accept sex offenders.
“When we first started talking about this project people thought we were crazy. You’re going to put somebody from prison into somebody’s house?” said Aishatu Yusuf, an official in the project.
In spite of this, the nonprofit has housed nearly 70 people, none of whom have returned to prison or jail.
In addition, the homelessness department of San Francisco will host a seminar on Thursday to encourage landlords to rent out their properties to the homeless.
The solution has not been well received by everyone.
GOP challenger Richard Greenberg said the schemes were a publicity stunt and downright creepy, according to DailyMail.com.
“The sheer number of people, and the reasons behind them being homeless, means it won’t have an impact,” he said.
The majority of homeless people are either mentally ill or drug addicts, according to Greenberg, a small business advisor, so they will possibly not receive assistance.
More rehabilitation facilities for drug users were needed, he said, as well as a means of caring for those who are mentally ill so they do not harm themselves.
“This is not a new idea – it’s been floated for many years,” he said. “Particularly in San Francisco – it goes back to freedom, and the summer of love, and hippies and communal houses, with strangers crashing on your couch.
“It’s not an unheard of concept. But we’re not talking about flower children. Now it gets a bit absurd.”
Greenberg continued: “A very high percentage of San Francisco’s homeless people are homeless because they are addicted to drugs or mentally ill. So the number of candidates is going to be quite limited.
“It won’t be the mentally ill or drug addicts, who account for around 60-70 percent.’
He added that the proposal was “unrealistic”. “Secondly, it’s creepy.”
“If you are looking for a room mate, that’s one thing – you can check references, and talk to people at their previous places. But these are not that kind of people. A lot are down on their luck.”
In Richmond, Mayor Butt, 77, teamed up with the Rotary Club to help connect homeless people with landlords – and successfully placed a family of six living in an RV encampment.
“I got disgusted at throwing all this money at the problem without any thought of the end result,’ Butt told DailyMail.com.
“I had access to some funding and thought, I can’t solve the whole problem. But I can move people out of RVs and tents into apartments.
“So I partnered with the local Rotary Club, and they pivoted to prioritizing people in housing, rather than showers for camps.”
Mr. Butt said he must “provide some kind of incentive to landlords,” and so he is paying the year’s rent up-front.
With an estimated 300 to 1,000 homeless people in Richmond, the homelessness problem is comparatively small. However, Butt believes it is slightly higher than average.
“The big picture is that there are 160,000 homeless people in California, and unless we do something different, there will still be 160,000 ten years from now.
“If you take those 160,000 and multiply that by the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment, the cost is $1 billion.
“California’s state budget is $300 billion a year. So for less than one percent of the annual state budget, you have provided housing for all.”
In response to those who feel his plan would lead homeless in other states to migrate to California for free housing, he said it was a risk that could ‘work out’ if it happened.
“None of the things that are happening now are working,” he said.
“None have an end game. They are just throwing money at it.
“Last year, in Richmond, we spent $1.5 million just servicing homeless camps – with that money, we could have bought 77 one-bed or studio apartments.
“We’re the richest country in the world, and California brags about being the fifth largest economy.
“But if we can’t sort this out, we’re lame.”