Why The U.S. Can’t Solve Homelessness

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The Covid pandemic caused a surge in housing costs and a rise in unemployment, leaving nearly 600,000 Americans unhoused in 2020. So how is the U.S. addressing the homelessness crisis and can the current housing first policy approach solve it?

“What people don’t typically realize when they walk past a person who’s homeless is that this person is costing taxpayers a lot of money,” said Sam Tsemberis, chief executive officer at Pathways Housing First Institute.

In 2019, New York City spent a record-breaking $3 billion to support its homeless population. California is also expected to break its record, allocating $4.8 billion to the same issue over the next two years.

Despite the rising budget, overall homelessness in the U.S. has improved by only 10% compared with 2007. It’s even worse for certain subgroups, such as individual homelessness, which dropped by only 1% in the same period.

“Right now, we are trending in the wrong direction,” said Anthony Love, interim executive director at the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. “The state of homelessness is pretty tenuous, and there are some small increases that are taking place across the board.”

For decades, the U.S. has relied on a “housing first” approach to homelessness, where permanent housing is provided for homeless people without preconditions such as sobriety or employment.

“Without the coach to guide me into housing, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now,” said Shannon McGhee, who moved into his supportive housing in 2020 after being unhoused for four years. “Being able to have my housing first, I know that I’m in control of my environment. Now, what happens here is all about what I create.”

However, some critics of the housing first approach say it hasn’t shown enough real results to deem it successful.

“When the public is told that this particular policy is going to end homelessness, what they’re expecting is that they’re going to see fewer homeless people around,” said Stephen Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. “I don’t think that we’ve seen that in the case of housing first.”

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Why The U.S. Can’t Solve Homelessness


Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.

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  1. The reason why the US can't solve homelessness is that the funding intended to help the homeless is all being gobbled up by the politicians and unethical/ fiscally irresponsible nonprofit organizations. There seems to be no oversight whatsoever with regard to what local governments are allowed to do with federal/state money. Im homeless myself, and neither I, nor any other homeless person I know, has yet to see even one penny of the $12 BILLION DOLLARS that Newsom released to local governments earlier this year, ostensibly to benefit people like myself. If none of the money that is being thrown at the problem ever gets spent on what it's supposed to be used for, it doesn't matter how much money the government puts out there as it's ALL going to be STOLEN, just like all the money that has already been spent. Homeless isn't the problem. CORRUPTION is the problem. Homelessness is just a symptom.

  2. The Uber rich pay no taxes the huge corporation pays no taxes so we have to increase property taxes in which all those entities don’t pay much there’s not a single billionaire in America does ever paid a dime in personal tax or his companies have paid anything in tax the problem is just like Social Security attorney equal tax because after you’ve made $150,000 you don’t have to pay Social Security anymore that and the fact the five Republican presidents from the 60s all the way up to today have taken $3.1 trillion out of Social Security to fund their wars

  3. Being homeless as a teen taught me one valuable lesson-the world doesn't owe you a damn thing. As a result, I finished school, went to college, and have a fairly successful career. With a student loan I paid for and without a "support team". Doing everything for someone else doesn't teach anyone anything.

  4. Part of the reason homeless is getting worse is rental companies leasing companies big business don't look at the person they just look at numbers as a felon I'm always scared of being homeless no matter if I make $1,000 a month or $5,000 a month because people won't rent to me I haven't been in trouble for over 20 years and I'm afraid of being homeless 15 years ago I wasn't afraid the land would meet me talk me and they would rent to you if you had a job and kept herself out of trouble but now the application says felonies or bad credit I don't even apply

  5. half the population is below average, yet jobs expect an IQ of at least 90 to function properly. with most jobs needing IQs at 100 or more. And college levels should be 110 That leaves at least 15% of the people who are going to struggle in society. and legalization of marijuana will ruin even more lives especially those who aren't the brightest in first place.

  6. because government is wasting all of our tax payments on paying a debt that should not exist… our bank government is coerced by crooked Central bankers into borrowing all of it spending money… the trillions of national debt from this fiasco is weakening our economy that's why we have so many homeless

  7. The US could solve homelessness very easily. There's no practical reason why this country CAN'T solve homelessness. The better question is why we don't WANT to solve homelessness. The answer lies with the moral spirit of the people of this country, which fell into depravity long ago. We don't zone for affordable housing because everyone wants to get rich by doing nothing, and the easiest way to do that is to "build home equity." You can artificially restrict new supply of housing at the same time demand keeps rising due to population growth (and AirBnb). It's NIMBYISM meets basic economics.

  8. We need to start forcefully institutionalize homeless people with mental illness and/or drug addiction. Neither are mentally capable of making their own decisions. Then we will start to see results.

  9. It's not a homeless problem. It is a drug problem. Offer the homeless a job and see what happens. Tax payers should only pay for institutionalized drug treatment.

  10. Today the main problem with homelessness is the cost of housing. Corporations are buying up houses and are asking exorbitant amount of rent. No one should be paying more than 30% of their income.

  11. The cost is not to the tax payer. He has no idea who controls tax spending. I cant even listen to people who make false statements and try to defer government decisions on to the public.

  12. Because it is linked to healthcare.Period.
    1)Single payer healthcare lowers medical cost by spreading it out over every individual and every employer by percentage.
    2) Converting hospitals and healthcare industry to non-profit means that 100% of every healthcare dollar is reinvested back into facilities equipment or salaries, not shareholder profits.
    3) Build addiction and mental health hospitals, treatment centers and homes. Cover treatment 100%.
    4) Since cities with housing affordability seem to have the most issues, build affordable housing-Duh! Shelters and transitional facilities. Apartment communities, tiny home and mobile home parks. Once there is a place for everyone to go, cities can humanely pass laws to remove them from the streets.

    The choice for all cities is to demand Total National Healthcare Reform -Then pay for treatment centers, shelters and low income affordable housing, OR live with these problems and lose their tax base.
    There is no third option.

  13. Easy.They interfere other countries' politics and causing endless war and conflicts overseas that they forget to solve their own problem.Trying to teach other countries how to operate? More like destroying them.It'll never be solved until the US starting to mind their own business

  14. You want answer
    You want help
    You want cure
    Leave that money alone
    Money means nothing
    Money is dying
    Wake up understand that
    You don’t need money to fix A LONG LIST OF problems
    Just have to create a program to help those who can’t buy quality
    There’s different levels of quality
    High – you got somewhere to stay house apartment condo with car suv van
    medium – you don’t have no where to stay you Continue to go to work buy sleep where you can however you want
    low – these group of people can’t keep Nothing when it’s giving to them long term use cause problems steal
    Use streets as restroom
    They have infections virus
    This group quality is worst they make people
    feel uncomfortable
    Non of them have sense
    Always do drugs
    I consider medium quality
    I’m not rich have no plans on becoming rich
    If you have no workers to work for you
    Then being rich can come to a hault
    Or end
    That’s why this world doesn’t need money to run anything
    And common sense runs the world

  15. This black guy in black sweater sounds like a little kid of 13 years old LOOK we latina come and in 2 days qe already working

  16. Lock them up and give them drugs if that’s what they want. Putting them on the street is the dumbest thing ever. Eyesore. It doesn’t help the cities, it doesn’t help the taxpayer, it doesn’t help the homeless person, it doesn’t help anyone.

  17. Because idiots spend 41 billion on a war no one give a dame about or 30 million to the Kennedy Center when it is closed and had no staff. That’s why

  18. Most of the stories have the same thing in common grown ass people are grown ass men living of someone who worked a whole life and who was responsible when people are not prepared to lose their home or lose their support system and they cannot work or willing to work and lack of education skills and training, and plus drug addiction and alcohol addiction how much longer do we keep pouring sugar on rotten fruit. And on top of that all the tax money goes in the pockets of politicians and programs that are backed by taxpayers money and only a fraction of the money goes toward should California is a cesspool of corruption

  19. George carlin said it best when he said, " that if the corpret swine ,and the greedy politicians could make millions for solving homeless. You would see homelessness disappear. " you can take this fraise to the bank. Thank you george for at least telling us the truth. You are sorely missed.

  20. It sorta of started in California. They discharged everyone from the State hospitals and let them go to their communities. They were supposed to follow this up with community funding but didn't. Then with money tight and with the likes of the ACLU fighting for individual rights, the counties didn't conservatize people they should have. People were dying in the streets with "their rights on." And from there, it has just deteriorated. Laws not only need to be tightened to force tx for the good of society, but it also needs to be followed up with funding, so people get the structure and tx they need. It can definitely be solved. But requires an informed populace and knowledgeable leaders with some backbone. So that's why hard.

  21. San Francisco's Homeless budget is $1.1.billion a year, plus hundreds of millions in affordable housing initiatives. The result has been an increase in homelessness (7700 last PIT count). A San Francisco Official recently estimated that 80% of the homeless in San Francisco are drug users who come to the city for the open air drug markets and lax policing. An affordable housing unit in California averages $600 – 800k to build plus $36k a year for wraparound services. San Francisco homeless advocates argue that every drug user who presents as homeless in San Francisco should be given a free studio apartment (Housing First). Meanwhile, the working poor have to commute 4-6 hours a day to get to their jobs in the city because they can't afford to live in the Bay Area.

  22. We can't solve the 600,000 missing children every year or the Catholic church killing kid's.

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