What Works for the Homeless Problem

Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada has had functionally zero homeless for about six years.

Japan, Singapore and Denmark also have been very successful in dealing with homelessness. Singapore is a multi-ethnic society with about 6 million people.

Hamilton, Canada ( a city with a population of 750,000) has also has great success reducing homelessness.

Medicine Hat’s example is cleaner because it removes the power and exceptional capabilities of Lee Kuan Yuen (x-PM of Singapore) from the solution.

In 2015, no one living unsheltered in Medicine Hat is left without permanent housing more than 10 days after the city learns of their circumstances. In 2009, when the goal was established and (future Mayor) Clugston was initially opposed to the strategy Medicine Hat wanted to implement. But the self-proclaimed conservative said that — after learning the hard facts — ensuring residents are housed is the fiscally responsible thing to do.

In 2009, the city of 60,000 people started with about 700 homeless (1332 homeless or at risk of becoming homeless). The city now has a population of about 76,000 and has no more than three people experiencing chronic homelessness in a community for three straight months.

Here is a link to the Medicine Hat Functionally Zero Homeless Case Study.

The Medicine Hat program the city housed 1,072 people, including 312 children April 2009 to Dec. 31, 2016.

Medicine Hat Homelessness 2018 Stats:
Total number of people estimated to be experiencing homelessness: 68
Unsheltered: 12
Emergency sheltered: 21
Transitionally housed: 19
Health system: 4
Chronically homeless: 17%
Episodically homeless: 33%

HOUSING
No. of public & subsidized housing units: 537 (2013)

No. of households on housing waitlist: 355 (2013)

Recent statistics for the US have about 17 homeless per 10,000 people. Forty-one per 10,000 people were homeless in California, and 70% of the homeless people in the state were without shelter. In Los Angeles City and County there were 63,706 people experiencing homelessness, 72% of whom had no shelter at all. California also experienced a large increase in the percentage of homeless people in families during 2019-2020, an increase of about 14.6% or 3,276 people. This is 15% of the people in families experiencing homelessness in the nation.

9 states (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) and the District of Columbia that have homelessness ratios higher than the United States as a whole.

In the US 553,000 people are considered homeless on any individual night. The population of the US is 333 million vs 38 million in Canada. That would mean that the percentage of people homeless in the US on any one night is 0.016%, or four times higher than the rate in Canada.

There are 2,880 unsheltered homeless in Canada versus about 200,000 unsheltered homeless in the US. The US has 8.6 times more people than Canada.

Housing an individual is cheaper than having a city pay expenses often related to homeless people — like frequent hospital stays and run-ins with the law.

A 2005 study by Pomeroy looked at costs in four Canadian cities, institutional responses (jails, hospitals, etc.) cost $66,000-$120,000 annually, emergency shelters cost $13,000-$42,000 annually whereas supportive and transitional housing cost $13,000-$18,000 and affordable housing without supports was a mere $5,000-$8,000.

A two-year pilot project called The Canadian Model for Housing and Support for Veterans Experiencing Homelessness in 2012, was designed to address the needs of the Canadian veterans experiencing homelessness. The program included a Housing First approach and staff/volunteer resources for each participant. The program revealed promising results of an estimated $536, 000 per year (in terms of cost savings) due to reductions in 911 calls and emergency-shelter drop-ins.

By 2013, the Medicine Hat program there has been a decline in the use of emergency shelters by nearly 30%, while over 700 chronically and episodically homeless people have been housed. Moreover, there is a 72% success rate among program participants.

How did they do it?

Medicine Hat has been forging the path toward ending homelessness even preceding its work with Built for Zero Canada. The community is one of the first to implement By-Name Lists and Coordinated Access beginning in 2010.

The By-Name lists means they have a database of every person who is homeless, whether they have kids and other data. They are working on each case on individual and family basis. They know each person’s problems and why they are homeless.

Medicine Hat achieved functional zero by:
* Rallying around a defined goal to end homelessness. In 2009, Medicine Hat was one of the first Canadian cities to commit to ending homelessness, a goal that was updated in 2014. They continue to set measurable goals to end homelessness.

* Strong partnerships. Service providers, shelters and other stakeholders representing a broad cross section of interest and expertise locally (e.g., private sector, criminal justice, health care) work together on the Community Council on Homelessness. The community is also supported by all levels of government and the public-at-large where they’ve fostered a strong belief (and proven!) that ending homelessness is possible.

* Real-time data used to drive system transformations. Medicine Hat has a strong culture of data-driven decision-making – where data informs policy, program, and system improvement. Since 2010, a Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS) has been deployed in the community, which means Medicine Hat can see their data in real-time as well as enabling them to review and monitor trends and improvements over time. They use their data daily to provide service and monitor system functioning. In addition, all funded programs have annual targets that are monitored with monthly reporting. They support programs to read and utilize program and system-level data to inform their programs and leverage funding.

* Housing First and continuous housing focused system improvement. Medicine Hat is a strong advocate and user of Housing First principles. These principles have underpinned their continuous housing focused system improvements. Medicine Hat embarked on its own 10-year plan in 2009 and began implementing Coordinated Entry in 2010 (first in Province). Since that time, they have continued to evolve their system, shifting programs and resources in response to their data.

* Lived experience at the table. Medicine Hat engages with people with lived experience of homelessness via 1:1 engagement and feedback sessions that support system improvement. The community works hard to address the pipelines into homelessness and work with folks who’ve experienced the gaps and pitfalls in services to better address the problem areas.

SOURCES – Homeless Hub, Medicine Hat
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

77 thoughts on “What Works for the Homeless Problem”

  1. From the article: "That would mean that the percentage of people homeless in the US on any one night is 0.016%, or four times higher than the rate in Canada."

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  2. I didn't see where it said what they were doing? What are they actually doing besides identifying, engaging, reporting, building databases, dealing with individual cases, etc.?

    That's all nice and essential, I'm sure, but what are they doing? Mass quonset huts with daily MRE deliveries?

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  3. they (in essence) have to have written down their plan for killing (insert relative/enemy/etc.) and shown it to a witness.

    Even that's allowed if they wrote it on twitter.

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  4. You can't hold anyone in any kind of confinement legally for more than 72 hours, and that's only if they make threats. You can't even force them to take a single pill unless committed. The bar is REALLY high to even hold them at all, and they (in essence) have to have written down their plan for killing (insert relative/enemy/etc.) and shown it to a witness.

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  5. I am absolutely flabbergasted that not a single person in this thread has mentioned what it would really take to solve the homeless problem:

    Biomedical research into restoring neuroplasticity in adults.

    After that the resocialization can begin.

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  6. MMT is just normal, common sense budgeting with algebraic rearrangement for rhetorical purposes.

    There is nothing new in it, they've just changed the way things are stated.

    But rhetorical purposes are the entire point, with enough fancy rhetoric you can ignore the fact that the actual math can be simplified back to saying you can't spend more than you earn.

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  7. "I think we are dancing around the main issue: most, if not all, homeless are mentally ill…"

    That's right. US used to have few homeless people back in the 50s and early 60s. Then, the psychiatric community decided that it is better for mentally ill to be released from what used to be called "mental asylums". You can see this in some buildings around you: Cal State Channel Islands campus used to be a mental institution, for example. About 1% of the population will develop schizophrenia during their lifetimes, and there is still no effective treatment. So, how do you deal with these people? Some have families to take care of them, but others do not.

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  8. In America, the homeless problem is fueled by a destroyed educational system that for 40 years has stopped teaching transferrable skills to our kids. In short, no math, now English, no Science – NO JOBS!…
    5% of the homeless in America are mentally destroyed and need institutions to live out there lives, but there are none!
    15% of homeless have serious addiction problems that require treatment, and then, they will need intensive job training (in sought after skills) and relocation to areas with jobs before they can become productive members of society.
    80% of the homeless in America can still think, and they are fit to work, but nearly all of them have made horrible decisions in their lives. The schools pushed them through, but they are the ones who made the decision to not work hard and attain transferrable skills. These are the main population in the tent cities.

    The acronym for them is, PMFMBD (Pay Me For My Bad Decisions…)

    This 80% should have their civil liberties temporarily suspended, and be scooped up into centers where they get mandatory training and detoxification if necessary, and then, put to work. We can build barracks for them to live until they earn enough to get places to live.

    End of the homeless problem…

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  9. "…we should give housing them a try …"
    Yeah. that's been done a million times. Uncountable amounts of co-operatives, non-profits, half-way houses, other socialized 'open' institutions with lenient access policies – many with specialized case study workers on-site.
    As a Structural / Civil Engineer, I review fixes and design repairs for much of these high-rise and townhouse developments on a day-to-day basis — mostly due to tenant destruction or inability to contain violence, fires, and floods from erupting 'passionate' crowds frequently. It is not reasonable to insist the government pay $10,000s per year on new bathrooms, kitchens, windows, etc., per person due to violence or neglect or inability to function.

    "…it didn't work…"
    You're presuming they have potential or that a reasonable assemblage of staff and costs can monitor and contain such individuals. I am not sure that restraint, separation, or sedating a potentially violent or destructive individual is inappropriate when considering the children, property, and pets of the neighboring community.

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  10. In "sane" times the homeless would eventually break the law (shoplifting, petty theft, etc) and the enter the criminal justice system where they could be presented with a choice to seek rehabilitation or go to jail.

    Do-gooders have decided that punishing people for shoplifting and theft is somehow unjust and so cities (e.g. San Francisco, Seattle) don't have the ability to get the homeless to go through rehabilitation.

    But its all ok because once you play language games to define good and bad away homelessness isn't actually a problem anymore.

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  11. > there is no legal authority to mandate that someone be taken off the street,
    forcibly medicated, and forcibly restrained from consuming alcohol and
    addictive drugs.

    Sure there is. Just make it illegal to live on the town streets. Then send them off to a nice "residential facility" where they have to take their meds, can't leave to buy booze, etc. They have to work at something while there, and get paid for it. If they try to leave or make trouble, they can downgrade to a real jail. If they clean up, they can re-enter regular society.

    By nice, I means something on the level of a college dorm. Individual rooms, but shared facilities, and someone checking at the door to prevent illegal stuff from getting in.

    Outside of a town, you can go to hell in your own way, as long as you don't bother anyone else.

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  12. I am not claiming George to be libertarian, only that his land ownership idea could be implemented in a libertarian way perhaps, and can be made libertarian in principle. However, the libertarian implementation would REMOVE property (not real estate!), things built, from the control gov wants so desperately. They seem addicted to the power.

    The alternative to George is to ratify that thieves should keep their booty. Be careful what you ask for! Do you have something worth stealing?

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  13. You can't have an economic or rational discussion with people like that – they live in a Cult-values Bubble. When you think a deranged and unsupportable person's day-to-day comfort and blissful happiness should come at any cost to society or the feelings or rational expectations of the local populace or taxpayers – all you can do is shrug with disbelief. Force them to take full custody of such as Individual in their community may be a Just and Fitting Exercise in Community Empathy.

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  14. I would LOVE to hear the NAME and ADDRESS of any Institution anywhere in the free world that has a multi-family housing configuration that allows absolutely total free movement 24/7 inside and to the outside; is completely indestructible to their abuse and violence (and therefore has negligible maintenance costs); allows reasonable levels of ventilation and visual access to the Outside; makes it impossible for any two or more of them to physically assault, rape, or abuse each other while still maintaining visual and verbal communication with each other and the Public; can be supported on anything less than 2x the amount spent on medium-level prisons per capita; would be amenable to the local community of any middle-class urban community in a G7 country; allows any level of non-specific criminal activity (at or below a misdemeanor) to occur so that they cannot simply be expelled or incarcerated out; shows defineable and absolute proof of their increased Value to Humanity over time (reduced destruction of local property or increased job contribution value); and whose capital cost of design and construction is less than that of a University, fully-functional military base, or City Hall. Impossible. You might as well just allow the zoos to have cages open to each other and the public; relying on the self-contol and inherent community-values of the Animals.
    What kind of delusional person thinks that criminals and the mentally-ill should be left to wander the streets? Bizarre.

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  15. The Worst part is that these people cannot typically be 'objectively assessed' as it invades their what? privacy? access to a lawyer or other qualified support person? some liberal-sanctioned right to be 'above judgment'? their upcoming 'payout' due to rough handling and lack-of-respect by previous administrations??? The Liberals/ Left don't want the Truths to be known because the continued widespread exposure that their system of values is so fundamentally flawed and backward and anti-productive that funding would simply be cut-off (to great negative effect)at any small 'rightward' change in politics (which is cerainly coming in all G7 countries) in the next 1 – 4 years – pandemic remainder or not.

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  16. I am surprised that you didn't offer extermination as a solution. We tried warehousing the mentally ill, it didn't work. It was expensive and they were mistreated. Maybe we should give housing them a try.

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  17. Homeless people are expensive. They often end up in the ER and in a hospital bed or they end up in jail. Its much cheaper to house them. A small studio apartment can house singles and couples. And a 2br apartment for families. Much cheaper than putting them in motels.

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  18. I think it's more about the influence of the local community.
    Rampant NIMBYism or anarchy or gentrification-powers or near-unpoliced-ghetto all have their Power on how much intervention they can have…

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  19. "Because in real life zero rent is worth less than low rent"

    You've obviously never rented a house to a tenant who trashes the place.

    This misstatement of yours reveals a significant lack of knowledge of how housing works. You are missing at least three variables in your equation.

    My parents (bless their hardworking hearts) invested in real estate decades ago and as the years have gone on have been struggling to find good tenants who do not trash their rentals. The struggle is so real that when they get good tenants that they will not even raise their rent to keep up with inflation.

    (if somebody moves out then rents are raised to keep up with inflation)

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  20. Regrettably it isn't so easy as "just give the homeless a home".

    If you give somebody a puppy then they need to take care of the puppy. If they aren't up to that (sometimes exhausting) task then the puppy doesn't do too well.

    Same goes for houses and their upkeep.

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  21. It used to be that mentally ill homeless could "do their thing" until they ran afoul of the law and then they would be given the choice to go to prison or to enter rehabilitation. The problem is that many cities no longer want to use the criminal justice system to force them to consider getting mandated help.

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  22. Well it used to be that we would employ people with "little to no potential" in menial jobs. Janitors, re-stockers, etc. Nowadays in the USA fill those positions using undocumented workers who we can pay less.

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  23. I'm missing in the article how Canada deals with the toxic combination of mental health and substance abuse in the homeless.

    Because that is what drives much of the difficult homeless problems in CA. There's an enormous difference between somebody who couldn't pay rent vs somebody who is living on the street and arguing with the streetlights.

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  24. Oh-ho. That is It in a Nutshell, then:
    What do you do with people with little to no potential???
    (also applies to various other aspects of society – schools, prisons, unemployables, etc…)
    Depends on the current financial situation, current political situation, recent 'events', part of the country, urban/ suburban/ rural, etc…
    One may argue that it is indicative of your 'progressiveness' of a society as to how much you 'invest' in such individuals (and whether One Society outwardly measures and defines these people — obviously, many left-wing-leaning administrations would avoid such categorizations)

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  25. Well it's the extremists on both sides – bleeding-heart-neo-anarchists who would disable all private entities and promote an 'Arab Spring' chaos (i.e. Detroit of mid-2010s (and before) is the way) -and- the hyper-elitist capitalist pigs who would cordon off and exclude all except well-monied and connected individuals to all the prime areas of urban experience and opportunity (dubai). Most G7 urban public entities have the financial resources to provide elevated (temporary shelter) services for emergency assistance — BUT, it is the follow-up service that matters release? monitor? move? institutionalize? That is the Political question.

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  26. I think we are dancing around the main issue: most, if not all, homeless are mentally ill, with an inability, at the lowest level, to take care of themselves (pay for/ acquire food, keep themselves hydrated, keep themselves warm and dry, avoid harm such as traffic and violence) and at the highest level (pull their own economic weight, socialize productively, and avoid disruption of local community social and economic values).
    We must ask ourselves, what is more important?: allowing these people to be individuals and to conduct themselves in a social setting, without supervision, and to only intervene when they are committing a heinous crime or in serious state of self-harm or to that of others? Or do we institutionalize them (within a monitored and secured setting) until we 'feel' that they are ready to phase-up to being a productive member of civilized society?
    Many deep left-bleeding heart Liberals and their close associates: government-supported anarchists would have them suffer until near near-death living rough and in unsanitary encampments (as in Toronto recently) so they can blame the system for letting these individuals 'down' and then pilfer for income-redistribution (via increased taxation) for people, who, if we are being honest, really have no potential or future. A no win situation. Worst part is that worker members of local anarchist-cafes and bike shops and co-op housing created 'defense lines' around encampments, even though there was elevated disease risk.

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  27. Because in real life zero rent is worth less than low rent

    The structure of such financial instruments may not reflect real life, but I assure you they are real and the value of X is not dependent on actually collecting Y, only on the realized level of Y. If you dont realize a lower level Y-1, the value of X remained tied to the last level of Y you collected, even if that was years ago.

    The value of X is worth more than both low and no rent.

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  28. "Because in real life zero rent is worth less than low rent"

    Actually, it's quite possible for low rent to have a negative cost, and be worse than zero rent from an uninhabited property. Low end tenants tend to actively damage properties, as I found to my horror when I had to move in 2008, and couldn't sell my house. Spent all the rent, and then some, fixing the house afterwards.

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  29. avecherrAffordable housing costs way more than $8K/year. And what about drug/alcohol use, combined with a refusal to take anti-psychotic meds? In LA & SF, most homeless are mentally ill drug addicts who have come from far and wide to take advantage of permissive governance regarding their pathologies. There is no way Housing First can work long term, without strict abstinence from alcohol and drugs, as part of an overall therapeutic plan to address mental health issues. In CA and most of the US, there is no legal authority to mandate that someone be taken off the street, forcibly medicated, and forcibly restrained from consuming alcohol and addictive drugs. Moreover, land & building costs in urban US, particularly SF & LA, are prohibitively expensive, so units wind up costing $750K to build, and that's before any services are factored in. So I tip my cap to Medicine Hat, but doubt their approach could work here, even if the Homeless Industrial Complex would allow it, which they would not.

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  30. I suspect a large part of the reason Medicine Hat has little problem with homelessness is conditions in Medicine Hat make it a miserable place to live outdoors nearly year round. In January, and February the average low temperatures are 14.6, and 14.5 degrees Fahrenheit, (-9.7C), average wind speed in jan, and feb are 9, and 8 mph, and average gusts are 26, and 28 mph, the altitude is 2300 ft(701m), and at 50.03 degrees of latitude north, days near the winter solstice are a bit over 8 hours long, with the sun at noon only 18 degrees above the horizon.

    During the summer, if there is little wind black flies, and no-see-ums make DEET the fragrance of the season. If you have never experienced no-see-ums, you would not believe such a small insect can have such big "teeth", their bites are quite painful.

    "Homeless" people living outdoors in much of north America do so because they do not want to deal with the rules, and possible violence of homeless shelters. Conditions in shelters would need to be quite severe for someone to move outdoors in January.

    I've backpacked in subzero Fahrenheit weather in the black, and roan mountains of North Carolina, and the Grayson highlands of Virginia. As long as you have the correct gear, and know what not to do, it's wondrous. If you aren't prepared, or are careless it can rapidly become hellish, or lethal. Don't even consider bathing, unless you have a sauna, or hot spring available, as well as lots of towels.

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  31. if the value of x depends on the value of y

    Well there's your problem.

    There are some ways around this.

    1. Value of x depends on the value of y multiplied by the occupancy rate. Because in real life zero rent is worth less than low rent, and only stupid policies would ignore this.
    2. Squatting means that an empty property can suddenly drop in value hard. Lower rent occupancy still provides a level of protection for your property that you don't get from being empty. View the lower rent as full rent, but you are also paying for security.
    3. There are ways to rent a property out for Z, but have it look like X. This often looks like "charity". We charge this customer X but give a tax deductible donation to a local charity that gives these people rent assistance so they are only out of pocket X/2. This is how expensive universities do it. Charge $50k for a degree, but you get a scholarship of $40k, so it's really only $10k, but on paper it's $50k, so the next sucker doesn't know how much he's being ripped off.
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  32. Hence my new book that provides a detailed theoretical explanation as to why politicians and senior bureaucrats need pay rises, more luxurious trips to 6 star resorts, a system of tenure, and also need to hire appropriate book authors at frankly ridiculous consultancy rates.
    It's for the children.

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  33. I think there should be fixed rent 25 cents per square foot throughout the state. There should be a vacancy tax with the proceeds used to build housing for low income. For those that are unemployable welfare to cover the bills and free training.

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  34. You should treat each problem for what it is, house pricing, drug abuse, mental illness each as what it is, what is left you could categorize as homelessness and then find the best way to treat it, unless more ways to dissect it. Giving a wrong treatment to a problem is costly.

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  35. So, like, don't make it so comfortable that they never go out and start working for themselves? As in, don't encourage complacency? Because complacency can certainly cause people more pain than they realize, too.

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  36. I mean, its there. Doing nada. 

    Some of your own investments could be unknowingly parked there.
    It does not mean abandoned and up for grabs just because no one lives there.

    If I long ago invested $x in that property when the rent was $y, it's better to let it sit empty than rent it out for $y-1 if the value of x depends on the value of y.

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  37. If all the 20 billion could be used for new housing, that equates to 40k units.
    That would leave less than 120k units to go to cover the remaining homeless population.

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  38. Part 2

    I mean, its there. 
    Doing nada. 
    Apparently being mown, an street-lights lit for some inscrutable reason. 

    Buy the output of a small struggling mom-and-pop-and-kids furniture plant, and make beds; double-stackers. Make crâhp-looking, but really durable furniture. Tables for kitchens, stools and chairs. 

    Buy nothing from China.  Everything from local economy.

    Fund all the necessary civilization-supporting industries to repurpose all the commercial properties. EMPLOY as many once-were-homeless arrivals as can be coherently maintained. It might be 'homeless town 101', but you know, there need not be destitution.  

    Let the newly minted townspeople EARN ownership of their properties. 
    Don't saddle them with impossible to pay off mortgages. 
    They HAVE to earn their keep, but the affordability is attractive. 

    Government? The newly made citizens can staff that.  
    Policing? SAME!
    Economics, banking? America used to be full of town banks. Do them again.
    Internet, phones, etc.?  Sure. Use Brazil's model. It works. 
    … nothing fancy, but gets the job done.

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

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  39. Bad (as in intentionally offensive) solutions to homelessness.  

    [1] Global Ice Age.
    [2] Ship 'em to Australia
    [3] Food-for-minimal-real-work program
    … Housing for optimal-real-work program
    [4] Public Enlightenment work/live camps
    [5] Let 'em eat cake
    [6] Feed, house, clothe, entertain, medicate, enfranchise, indoctrinate, poll

    OK, that's a continuüm from REALLY offensive to almost-presentable. № 6, at the least is the article's "well if it worked in Moose Jaw or Dead Horse, it'll work in L.A." sentiment. OK!

    Tell you something, folks…

    It wasn't all that many years ago that once, by accident, while driving from SF to LA via highway 101 (the much slower alternate route), that I took an unmarked exit — a big one, well paved, but without either any 3-miles-until-Snoopy signage, or for the exit itself, any indication of what it might be, and where it might go.  

    Turned off, took a left at the bottom of the ramp, underneath the 101 freeway, and a bit curvy to … wait for it … a completely discarded modest-sized town.  Not a single parked car, anywhere. Street-lights turned off. A post office that wasn't boarded up, but had no lights on, mid day, on a Wednesday. Stores, closed. A tiny shopping center, all closed. Thousands of houses, all with weed-free front yards, but no one there, no cars on streets, in driveways.  D E A D.

    Now, I'm thinking, "well WTF! Comport all the homeless to this apparently abandoned town!" (Pt 1)

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  40. Also, as has been pointed out elsewhere, who would WANT to be homeless in Canada–the winters are brutal. It's no surprise the states that have the greatest number of homeless tend to be in warm or moderate climates.

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  41. Just another attempt to get more government dollars be tossed at a housing that really requires a society to infirm the mentally ill, druggie zombies and nomads. We have the wrong program for the majority of homelessness. They need to be committed and taken care of until their death.

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  42. We have a mental health crisis, a zombie drug hoard, life long criminals and the nomads. These people will never conform to a house or program.

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  43. Additionally states that have welfare programs, supplements for homeless initially attract the unwanted from other states and countries. In California we have at least 50%+ inhabitants from other states, easy. It's been known fact that other states clean up their unwanted, purchase a one way bus ticket to SF and thier problem is solved.

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  44. The article says Canada has 1/8 the homeless population as the U.S. The article fails to mention that Canada has 1/10 of the population of the U.S. Based on total population numbers, that means the U.S. is doing better than Canada.

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  45. But the reason George got taken seriously is because he was telling the government to do what the government wanted to do. Rather like Keynes got taken seriously as an economist because he told the government that going into debt was a good idea.

    That's the recipe for success as an academic in fields like economics or law, that are dominated by government: Construct a plausible excuse for the government to do what it really wanted to do already.

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  46. George's *point* goes back to far before anything like large government. He sez for example that New Zealand is *clear* title to the first settlers, as it was discovered by them. But, they have been killing each other so long that even that theory is wrong. The current tribes have stolen from earlier, Europeans just view them as one group. And George's plan is refreshed at each generation. Lack of clear title is permanent.

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  47. The outliers here are Northern states with bad weather. You should naturally expect higher levels of homelessness in states where the weather is moderate, because it shifts the cost benefit analysis, and even the homeless are doing that on some level. But if you have high levels of homelessness and bad weather, you're obviously doing badly, because this is in spite of people having very strong incentives to have a roof over their head.

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  48. Pointed out, asserted and the government decided to make the assertion real, it can be hard to tell the difference.

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  49. As part of my work I had once a chance to be in a rundown motel converted to abused women and their children, waiting for aid in getting a job and permanent housing. Each family was cramped into one room with a lot of shared facilities.

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  50. This is only related to homelessness in the most upstream sense, but just imagine how much more housing good they could do if they'd just upzone everything… and they wouldn't have to spend a dime. But we're too dumb for such a libertarian approach.

    Like Esperanto, SB50 was too pure for our corrupted world.

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  51. I imagine he means it shouldn't be as good as what you pay for, so that once you're ready to get a job and start paying your own way you don't find yourself working 8 hours a day for a downgrade.

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  52. California has a $262 billion annual budget for 2021-2022. California is spending $4.6 billion over two years on homelessness now. California will spend a record $4.8 billion over two years to alleviate homelessness. Beyond helping those who are homeless, the new state budget includes $10 billion in spending on housing, including $1.75 billion for affordable housing construction and millions in rental assistance, foreclosure prevention, mortgage assistance and first-time homeowner.

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/04/29/will-california-spend-20-billion-on-homelessness/ help.
    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-07-16/california-budget-homelessness-spending

    Proposal for $20 billion for homelessness
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/04/29/will-california-spend-20-billion-on-homelessness/

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  53. "Housing made available for homeless people should by no means be in a standard good enough for people who are ready to move on with their life."

    I can't figure out what you intended to say with that sentence. Could you clarify it a bit?

    Reply
  54. Start by increasing supply of housing to the market, streamline the building code, provide insurance to the builders that they will be able to sell housing they build, make more land for building available and help low income working people buy housing and invest in technologies that improve productivity and price of construction. Housing made available for homeless people should by no means be in a standard good enough for people who are ready to move on with their life.

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  55. Henry George pointed out that, historically, virtually no one has "clear" title to their land. It is not as if anybody has built an O'Neill rotating habitat in ELEO or anything. Yet. So, each person *should* get his share of land, and natural resources. If he uses more, he must rent from the owners. If he uses less, he gets the rent. A fine libertarian solution to many problems!

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