Trump’s New Homeless Czar is a Familiar Face to Cities and Counties
The Trump administration has hired a new executive director for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and a number of California cities and counties will recognize his name.
Robert Marbut is replacing Matthew Doherty, who was ousted by the administration last month. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced Doherty will now work as an advisor to the Golden State.
Marbut’s experience is not in question. He has done consulting work for hundreds of municipalities. These include several in California, such as Fresno. But critics say his tack has generally been punitive in nature, with a focus on deterring street dwelling rather than providing housing. Marbut, for instance, has advocated for homeless feeding bans.
In 2015, NextCity.org profiled Marbut’s work on homelessness. He described his approach as one that focuses on the problem’s “root causes.”
Marbut’s appointment signals a significant change in the federal government’s handling of homelessness. That could have major implications for California, which has the largest population of unsheltered homeless in the nation. The Trump administration has already signaled its intention to get involved in California’s crisis.