Former governors Gray Davis, left, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown strike a pose during the inauguration of Gavin Newsom at the state Capitol in Sacramento on Jan. 7, 2019. (Photo by Randy Pench for CalMatters)

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” CalMatters’ Matt Levin and the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon interview former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on how he’d terminate California’s housing shortage.

Schwarzenegger says the crisis goes back to laws limiting growth and construction in the 1980s. That restriction of supply was good for the housing market, but “bad for the people.”

“But it didn’t stop people from moving in to California — they came anyway,” Schwarzenegger said. “Anywhere I go, people come up to me and say ‘Please Arnold, can you help me get to California?’ They don’t talk about ‘Can you help me get to Iowa’ or something like that. They say California — that is the most desirable state.”

And the solution? Move away from partisan political bickering and make building housing easier.

“We free up our builders, so we provide properties, and then we can go and build,” Schwarzenegger said. “You have to create a supply and demand situation.”

He stressed the importance of working with the federal government to solve the housing crisis, citing his experience as governor both battling and working with the feds on environmental regulation. And California needs to build houses, he says, because people don’t deserve to be homeless.

“When I ride my bike in the morning to Gold’s Gym, I ride through Venice and I see the homeless there, camping out — and I’m freezing my ass off, and I have a down jacket on,” Schwarzenegger said. “I talk to them, and they say ‘Hi Governor, Hi Arnold,’ and all that kind of stuff. They’re right out in front of Gold’s Gym, so of course I talk to them a lot of times and just hear what their issues are.” is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.