"Donald Trump is a slumlord who has spent his presidency pushing people into homelessness by taking away health care, food aid and affordable housing funds," said Scott Wiener, a Democratic senator from San Francisco, on Tuesday The President arrived in the state for a series of fundraisers and a trip to the border. "He has no credibility in terms of housing and homelessness."
In fact, Mr. Trump has repeatedly pointed out that his frustration with the homeless in some of the country's largest cities has more to do with the fact that others do not need to see them and less out of concern for the homeless.
Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, accompanied Mr. Trump on his journey to the West and visited a new San Francisco settlement. However, Mr Trump's comments on Wednesday showed that he was not content to tackle homelessness in the usual way.
Homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area has risen sharply in recent years. The city of San Francisco has 8,011 homeless people, according to a census that was conducted this year. This represents an increase of 17 percent over 2017, the last time a count was made. Other nearby cities saw even greater growth, including San Jose (up 42 percent from two years ago) and Oakland (up 47 percent).
An estimated 59,000 people are homeless in Los Angeles County, of whom 75 percent are homeless. According to a point-to-point counting published this year, they are unprotected.
A key difference to the East Coast is that a large proportion of the homeless are unprotected in California – nearly 70 percent of the homeless or about 90,000 people live on the streets.
California, the country's most populous state, has the highest number of homeless people in the country, according to federal data from 2018.