Sue Frost

Posted by Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost
Exactly a year ago, I wrote an article on RanchoMurieta.com outlining why I thought Sacramento County was in need of a work program for people who are homeless.  Since then, I worked to help craft a plan that would not only employ people who are homeless, but also work to beautify Sacramento County at the same time.  I am thrilled to announce to you that the plan was formally adopted at the end of January, and will begin to be implemented in March. I want to take this opportunity to explain the program to you, and share with you why I believe it will work.

Ten homeless people will be identified who are both willing to work and get clean.  They will meet four days a week at a central location, and then be driven to the American River Parkway to get paid minimum wage to do cleanup work.  The American River Parkway has been completely trashed in many sections due chiefly homeless encampments and negligent teenagers, so this work is much needed.  

In the afternoon, they will then be driven downtown to go through a job training program.  This job program is aimed to get them various certifications in the construction industry. With the surge in construction in this region, there is a lack of construction workers, and this is the perfect field for them to get entry level work in.  

After ten weeks of working and going through the classes, they will have graduated out, and a new group of ten will start the program.  After leaving the program they will then get help in finding employment by getting introduced to employers, receiving job interview training, getting help creating a resume, and getting help obtaining job-appropriate clothing.  This is also coupled with trying to find them a permanent housing solution.

I take great issue with new government programs that are started and turn out to be ineffective, yet get funded for eternity.  With that in mind, this will be a trial program that will last for 40 weeks. After those 40 weeks, we will evaluate the program to see if it’s working, whether changes need to be made, or whether we need to end the program entirely.  

To get this job done, the County (with major help from Sacramento Regional Sanitation District) decided to contract with PRIDE industries, a nonprofit headquartered in Roseville.  Their primary mission is to help people who have disabilities overcome employment obstacles, and empower them to lead productive, independent lives as contributing members of our community.  It seemed to me to be a perfect fit to have them work with people who are homeless, as many of their challenges are similar to people who have disabilities, such as regaining a sense of self-worth and finding reliable transportation.

I’m excited about this program because I believe finding jobs for people who are homeless is an important piece to this overall problem that we are not looking close enough at.  I like the idea of giving them training in a field that sorely needs jobs, and I like the idea of teaching them what it is like again to feel accomplished for earning a paycheck by putting in a hard day’s work.  

I know this is a drop in the bucket in terms of solving this overall problem, but I am hopeful that we might be onto something really great here, that over time and careful development we can end up putting to work far more than just 40 people.

Thank you for reading – and as always, if you want to contact me call me at 916-874-5491, or e-mail me at SupervisorFrost@saccounty.net.

Sue Frost represents the 4th District, which includes all or part of the communities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Orangevale, Antelope, Rio Linda, Elverta, Gold River, Rancho Murieta, North Highlands, Carmichael, Foothill Farms, Fair Oaks, and Rancho Cordova.


Greg Cannon's picture
Joined: 09/07/2016
Posts: 26
Post rating: 37

What is the cost of this?

Why isn't the cost of this boondoggle mentioned in the article? As I understand it, this program will attempt to turn 40 homeless individuals into members of the working world, 10 at a time in a 10-week period. Then our political "leaders" will decide whether it is a good thing to keep investing in this nonsense. How much are we investing in these 40 individuals?

This political virtue signaling is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Is there a homeless problem? Of course there is. The same is true for our shameful treatment of the mentally ill. The problems are huge, but so is our tax burden. This "pilot program" is just a stalking horse for yet another taxpayer supported program, one that will certainly cost a fortune if our politicians decide that it "works."

This reckless taxing and spending must stop. It's so bad that the middle class is fleeing the state in amazing numbers. The only way to fix the hole that leaves in revenue is more taxes -- and hardly a day goes by without some new tax being proposed -- and that will only increase the spiral.

The state of New York just announced a tax revenue shortfall of roughly 2-3 billion dollars due to the exodus from that state. The big cities in blue states are sinkholes of poverty and violence. Welfare states don't work. Our representatives need to stop spending tax dollars like drunken sailors and focus on those of us who pay the bills.

Marie Hanson's picture
Joined: 02/18/2008
Posts: 7
Post rating: 8

Attention where it's needed

Kudos to Supervisor Frost -- for taking the lead in directing attention and resources toward a major human issue of mich concern in the Sacramento area!  Researching the roots and results of homelessness has guided your efforts. As well, you bring to bear "best practices" to address this critical and growing problem. Pulling together known and effective approaches and directing adequate resorces to implement the effort is truly the mark of an effective leader. Thank you for the doing. Making this a  temporary, "pilot" effort assures concerned and taxpaying citizens that a critical problem within the larger community is being intelligently addressed and respnsibilty administered. Thank you for your leadership.  

Marie Hanson

T. Hanson's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 313
Post rating: 467

CA Taxes

As new Gov. Newsome is so proud to recently state "you ain't seen nuttin' yet, folks". Oh my!

Jerry Pasek's picture
Joined: 12/13/2007
Posts: 134
Post rating: 190

taxes remedy

If the gov wants to effectively confiscate other people’s money for his give aways, one can always move out of state like many have already. Look at NY where migration out is seriously impacting the state. 

Jerry Pasek

Nellie Bloom's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 360
Post rating: 583

Thank you Supervisor Frost

I appreciate this innovative approach and the careful way it is being rolled out. Thank you, Supervisor Frost, for dealing with what is instead of telling us what sounds better. These are the kinds of programs that will assist people who can work and clarify next steps for those who need other kinds of help. I also appreciate the cautious, measure results approach. 

Greg Cannon's picture
Joined: 09/07/2016
Posts: 26
Post rating: 37

support, but no more information

The last thing I would want to do is make this personal, but I'm curious to know if the people who support this boondoggle -- or more correctly, who support Supervisor Frost -- have any idea of the cost of the thing they are supporting. A meaningful discussion of the merits of the program necessarily requires an understanding of the costs, not merely adulation for others who support the program. So I want to ask, is your support of the program based on a greater understanding of the program than is set forth in Supervisor Frost's posting? Or is it merely yet another example of identity politics? What is the cost of this program? Do you know?

Nellie Bloom's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 360
Post rating: 583

More info

Hi Greg, 

Here is more info but I think if you contact Supervisor Frost's office, they can give you more specifics. https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/homeless/article225184065.html I am supportive because it's a huge problem with no easy solutions. I like the small size and the fact the program is committing to measuring for results before committing further.  Around this time last year we were looking at dumping a lot of money into cleaning up American River Parkway and evicting the homeless population living there. Supervisor Frost recommended against relocation at that time because there was no place for the homeless to go but into neighborhoods. Instead, Supervisor Frost advocated applying grant money to cleaning up the river area and working on a longer term solution for permanent relocation. I like her thoughtful, practical approach and the way she communicates. I also believe in "teaching to fish" if at all possible. Gov Brown's law "Housing First" means that many homeless programs have lost funding because they require job training and sobriety from their clients. http://solutionsforchange.org/california-law-requires-all-state-housing-... I like that Supervisor Frost is participating in a program that could provide lasting solutions. 

 

John Brock's picture
Joined: 03/20/2010
Posts: 21
Post rating: 53

Let's not forget that there

Let's not forget that there is a significant percentage of the homeless population that are veterans that might have had issues making the transition back into the private life from the military. California has nearly 11,000 veterans who are homeless which is 5 times the next state. That coupled with the issues for their healthcare at the VA hospitals is not the way we should be treating those who have served our country. Go over to the VA hospital at Mather to get a first hand look at a sad situation.

Greg Cannon's picture
Joined: 09/07/2016
Posts: 26
Post rating: 37

more info

Dave and Nellie, thanks for the info. I read it, and continued to search for and read articles on supported housing, and it does seem to save money in a way.

The problem I continue to have is that politicians saving money on one project will only spend it somewhere else. The savings never get passed through to taxpayers. It's just more money politicians can spend. As of 2017, there were roughly 130,000 homeless people in California and the numbers are growing exponentially. The cost of the program that will be needed to address that population would be incredible, and that will only mean new taxes on those of us who pay the bills. The way to address the problem is to build the middle class, and thereby increase the tax base. Spending like this only diminishes the tax base, and the California middle class already is in a death spiral.

Sue Frost's picture
Joined: 05/22/2017
Posts: 17
Post rating: 35

Cost of the Program

Greg Cannon-

Thank you for asking about how much this program costs, I should have included that in the article! The cost of this pilot is $387,200, and it is money that was already dedicated to cleanup efforts on the parkway.  I will have to run the numbers, but due to the fact that these workers are going to be paid minimum wage (instead of full time union pay + benefits for regular county cleanup workers) I'm quite certain we are getting more bang for our buck with this program than without it, not to mention the added benefit of getting homeless people back to work and job training.

The county has a longstanding rule written into our county charter that says we cannot contract out work that can be done by county union employees.  So any cleanup work that is historically done in the county is extremely expensive.  But since this program is designed specifiically to help homeless people, it doesn't trigger that piece of our charter.

Sue Frost
Sacramento County Supervisor, District 4

Sue Frost's picture
Joined: 05/22/2017
Posts: 17
Post rating: 35

One more thing...

Greg Cannon -

One more thing...I couldn't agree more with you regarding my disdain for politicians who "save" money, only to have it get spent on some new pet project afterwards.  

I am always the first elected official on a board to advocate for putting money back into our reserves as a first priority, instread of spending it in ways that only grow the size of government.  I will do the same again here.  That concept is never a fun one, but governening is rarely fun.

Sue Frost
Sacramento County Supervisor, District 4

Greg Cannon's picture
Joined: 09/07/2016
Posts: 26
Post rating: 37

my point exactly

Ms. Frost, thank you for your response, as it completely proves my point. Once the government gets its hands on my tax dollars, they are gone forever.

Taxes, on the other hand, just keep getting added for things like the $5 billion a year gas tax Jerry said we just couldn't live without.

It's admirable that you advocate for putting the money back into the reserves, but what happens to that money once it's placed in the reserves? It gets spent on some other project. My taxes never go down and the tax proceeds certainly don't get spent in a way that benefits me or my neighbors. It's just more money for politicians to spend on pet projects. Many of the homeless are addicted to drugs. Money is the drug of choice for politicians.

Subsidizing housing for the homeless will benefit slumlords and REIT's, but it won't do a thing for those of us who pay to keep this thing running. Saving money on one project so that it can be spent on another project does nothing for taxpayers. How about doing something for us?

Sue Frost's picture
Joined: 05/22/2017
Posts: 17
Post rating: 35

Respectfully Disagree

Greg Cannon,

I respectfully disagree with your overall point that putitng money into reserves is somehow a bad thing.  In my opinion, that is the most fiscally responsible thing that we could realistically do with the money.  If we don't save for our future, we will be setting ourselves up on a collision course for layoffs/tax hikes.

I'm not advocating for putting money iun reserves only for us to spend it immediately, I'm calling for a massive investment into our reserves for the long-term, and a slow down in the amount of money that we are spending on a yearly basis.

Sue Frost
Sacramento County Supervisor, District 4

Greg Cannon's picture
Joined: 09/07/2016
Posts: 26
Post rating: 37

You mischaracterized my point

My point was not that putting money into reserves is a bad thing. My point was that putting money back into reserves is not a good thing. It simply is taking money out of one of a politician's pocket and putting into a different pocket. It doesn't do anything positive for tax payers unless the money is spent on tax payers, and it never seems to be spent on tax payers. Once you have our money -- money earned by a lifetime of labor and paid into the tax coffers -- it is gone and it won't come back.

Sue Frost's picture
Joined: 05/22/2017
Posts: 17
Post rating: 35

It's the best realistic thing

Of course I agree with you that the best thing for the taxpayer would be cutting back on services that don't work, and lowering taxes as a result.  But unfortunately that's not politically viable from my perspective.

Given that, the most positive thing we can do with our money from a fiscally conscious perspective is to invest in our reserves.  That is the best way to ensure our taxes don't get raised in the future (which I know you and I both agree we don't want to see happen).

Sue Frost
Sacramento County Supervisor, District 4

Greg Cannon's picture
Joined: 09/07/2016
Posts: 26
Post rating: 37

summing it up

Okay, just to recap. We started with, "this is a great thing" because it will save us money. Never mind that this program is a stalking horse for an even larger program that will cost us a lot of money. That's okay because we save money by doing it.

Then we moved on to "this is a great thing" because it will transfer tax dollars from one program to another government program, possibly a reserve fund. Never mind that the ultimate benefit will not flow to the people who fund this boondoggle. As I've noted repeatedly, once the government gets its hands on our tax dollars, they are gone forever.

Then we finished up with putting the money into a reserve fund is the "best thing we can do," and doing anything else isn't "politically viable." So it's "politically viable" to invest in a program that will only increase the amount of money politicians can spend, but it's not "politically viable" to actually do something for the people who fund the government.

 

 

Sue Frost's picture
Joined: 05/22/2017
Posts: 17
Post rating: 35

Greg,

Greg,

I do believe this program is going to be a great thing that can save the county money by putting more money back into our reserves.  I know that from a taxpayer perspective the best thing that we can do with extra money is to distribute it back to the taxpayer, but as I said, that's not politically viable.  From a taxpayer perspective, the next best thing we can do with extra money is to ensure that we have a healthy resereve so that we don't have to go back and raise taxes or force layoffs when the economy dips.

This doesn't grow government. This money was already going to be spent on cleanup projects.

Sue Frost
Sacramento County Supervisor, District 4

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