Hume references Elvis Presley in addressing homeless, advocacy group pushes back

Sacramento County Board of Supervisors District 5 candidate imitating Elvis Presley on his video about homelessness. | 

In what is best described as an unusual campaign tactic, Sacramento County Board of Supervisor District 5 candidate Pat Hume has produced a video addressing homelessness while referencing Elvis Presley's songs. It was posted during the recent annual Elvis Week commemorating the late entertainer who died in 1977.

Republican Hume and his opponent, Democrat Cosumnes Community Services District Director Jaclyn Moreno, have made homelessness campaign priorities. However, while they share their desire to address this issue, they have different approaches [Moreno's policy can be viewed here]. 

Weaving well-known Elvis lyrics into his presentation, Hume starts by noting Sacramento's homeless population surpassed San Franciso's. Hume then addresses his opposition to the housing-first approach that many advocacy groups support and instead focuses on the criminal activity of homeless encampment groups.  

"The reality is the root causes are much darker than having a place to live," Hume said. "There are many within and preying on that community that should be doing the jailhouse rock."

Aside from addressing criminal activity, Hume does not propose any specific solutions. Hume stated his opposition to proposals from Los Angeles politicians' legislation that would compel hotel and motel vacancies to be rented to the homeless.

"We have to expand the conversation away from failed housing first policies and focus on how we get people to accept help, even if they don't know they need it," Hume said. 

A widely circulated email among Hume supporters complemented the video and called it fun. Along with asking recipients to help Hume and place a lawn sign, the email said:

"It's a fun and unique look at Pat's personality. Pat put this video together himself. Please forward the video and this email to your friends in Dist. 5."

Although the Moreno campaign did not respond to an email request seeking comment on the video and Hume's opposition to housing first, a prominent Sacramento area advocacy group commented. Speaking on behalf of the Sacramento Homeless Union was Crystal Sanchez, who questioned Hume's use of Presley.

"Homelessness is a very serious subject and not something to make jokes about through a celebration of a historic rock stars holiday," Sanchez said. 

Sanchez calls homelessness a public health crisis and should be addressed accordingly. She notes that often people are given access to shelters on a limited basis and then pushed back onto the streets. 

"There are no housing or wraparound services available," Sanchez said. "In fact, people are being discharged from shelters due to that fact." 

Sanchez noted she was on Gov. Gavin Newsom's 100-day challenge with several Sacramento area groups, including Sacramento County, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelop Agency, several police departments, and others. 

"We were unable to house anybody or really provide adequate services for those we had tried to case manage," Sanchez said. "While we absolutely agree something needs to be done, it needs to be housing and adequate wraparound services and for people to stop pushing a false narrative."  

She added, "I would challenge the local candidate to spend some time with us in the encampments or even have a meeting to discuss the realities of what is happening."

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1 comment

Atticus Finch said...

I know Hume thinks he was being clever with this video clip, but unfortunately for him, the message fell flat on its face. Whoever vetted the video, if there was even any vetting, should be fired. Hume looked like a bigger idiot than I thought he was. The Housing First Model has been proven to have efficacy in fighting homelessness all over the country. There is an excellent example of this even in our own back yard. A pilot program in 2014, called "Bridge to Housing" between the City of West Sacramento and Yolo County, with a modest budget of only $150,000, leased every room at the Old Town Inn on West Capitol Mall and then moved 65 chronically homeless people and 40 animals into the hotel. Each person was assigned a case worker.
Want more data that the model works? Check this site out.
Hume, like many politicians, is short on facts and policy solutions, but long on rhetoric and sound bytes. This lame video is proof positive of this. I suggest he hires a knowledgeable, experienced consultant well versed on public policy issues, or do some basic research himself, before putting out false statements.

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