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How would Kari Lake deal with homelessness as governor?

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Kari Lake has an ultimatum for people experiencing homelessness: “Get treated, go to jail or go.”

This is the overarching feel of the approach the Republican gubernatorial candidate is proposing to the growing number of people without stable residence in the state.

The plan proposes many policy and systemic changes, from expanding shelter services and substance use treatment to promoting aggressive policing of petty crimes. It also calls people experiencing homelessness “drug and unstable” and implying that they are responsible for “widespread violence, disaster and property crimes”.

Lake’s rival, Democrat Katie Hobbs, criticized Lake’s plan earlier this year on MSNBC, saying, “You can’t arrest people for homelessness.” Hobbs has yet to release a blueprint on how he will tackle homelessness, but his campaign manager said one is coming.

The Republic asked housing advocates and homelessness experts what they thought of Lake’s plan.

What does Lake recommend to people experiencing homelessness?

The tents are set up on a homeless camp along the Rio Salado riverbed in Tempe on August 31, 2022.  Tempe has given notice for those living at the bottom of the river to evacuate by August 31.

Lake’s homelessness plan calls a widely accepted model a failed approach to addressing homelessness.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness describes the “housing first” approach to addressing homelessness as “driven by the belief that people need basic needs like food and a place to live before they can engage in anything less critical, like finding a job, budgeting, etc.” or dealing with substance use issues.”

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