Many naive policymakers discuss homelessness in purely economic terms, perpetrating a distracting myth. Sure, people become homeless for diverse reasons. One might be a LGBT youth, kicked out by parents. Another might be a spouse fleeing an abusive relationship. Those are prime candidates for conventional outreach and solutions: Make them aware of shelters and house them temporarily.
But unlike the individuals above, the coterie of able-bodied young men living under my freeway exit could certainly pool resources (including government-provided funds) and share a modest apartment in a down-market locale â€” which would be better than sleeping outside. Understanding why they donâ€™t is key to understanding the issue.
So is historical perspective. Some believe â€śfunding emergency shelters and transitional housing for homeless families and individuals and providing new rental housing for families and individuals with special needsâ€ť will solve the problem. That language comes from a 1988 statewide ballot initiative, which dedicated over $600 million in todayâ€™s dollars to ameliorating homelessness. Itâ€™s one of dozens of spending programs that have done little.View Article