WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE OWNERS
Yeah. Housing’s the easy part in much of these situations. There are shelters and tiny house programs and jobs programs going empty here because people don’t want to follow the rules. And the rules aren’t super strict rules like, “gotta go to church, be christian, don’t say a bad word ever, and be saintly”, they’re rules like “you can’t actively have drug paraphanlia or be doing drugs here. You can’t openly be having sex here. You can’t rape people here. You can’t come in after 2 AM. And if you have those problems, we’ll still help you, but you have to actively be working on them through one of our myriad number of programs.”
Many people do well and get helped by these programs, and many people do not want to give up the things, or are so addicted that they CAN’T give up the things, and you can’t just kidnap otherwise law abiding people and force them into medical treatments.
This is crucial. Having been homeless before, I caught a very bad case of athlete’s foot at the Salvation Army in Austin that required aggressive treatment (oral medication and removal of my big toenail), and got sick a couple of times from the cafeteria food (one of my bunkmates worked in the kitchen, and said the kitchen manager viewed us as parasites and really didn’t care if we got sick or not).
part of that is trust. given what some people who are in those situations have had to deal with – be it ptsd from war, abuse from loved ones, run ins with the cops – trust is hard.
both the trust that change will help. and the trust that the people offering change are really going to be there for them.
except for the rape thing – a lot of that is seriously difficult. imagine you have nothing except a few bags worth of stuff, but you’re only allowed to bring in one bag. imagine you’re seriously addicted, but have no safe place to fix. imagine you miss your bus and you’ve got to walk.
one kind of shelter, and one kind of process will not work for everyone. for people who are the worst off – often those who are the most visible – sometimes it needs to be about more harm reduction more than enforcing shelter.
i don’t know for sure how it is these days, but it used to be that there was a relatively small subset of very visible people who were chronically houseless and a much larger set of unseen people who were temporarily houseless ( from the loss of a job, a family death, divorce, etc. )
due to the cost of food and housing – and the lack of consistent well run programs – i imagine those two populations have merged quite a bit.
Ever notice just how many problems in America aren’t that there is no material to get something done, or labor to get something done, just that there’s no funding for it? Because the vast majority of money is locked up by billionaires who will only invest in things if they personally get even more back. There’s a really good answer to that.
Oh absolutely. There are a lot of variables in play here, it just seems that there are a lot of complaints that “nobody wants to be homeless” without understanding that , yes, nobody wants to be homeless, but QUITE A FEW people either WANT to or HAVE to (because medically, addiction is a medical condition) use drugs. And there’s not a really good set of solutions for that because the programs and systems that got a lot of these people hooked (a huge number are former oxy addicts who , after the legal oxy got shut down, turned to meth and heroin) were well funded government condoned operations, and the systems and programs to get them unhooked are poorly funded and run almost mostly by volunteers. So yeah. I’d say a vast majority of homeless here in portland don’t want to be homeless and are trying, a small percentage don’t but are held in the throes of addiction and the cycle of things that leads to here , and a much much much smaller percentage have no interest in ever getting any help whatsoever.
But I would also say that nobody in all those groups CHOSE to be homeless.
Given the housing shortage I’d be A-OK with new government regulations creating disincentives for owning unoccupied property in residential areas. For example, vacant homes get taxed at four times the normal rate until the owner either moves in or finds a full-time tenant.
If they don’t like any of those options they should sell the property to someone who can actually make use of it. Hoarding vacant properties as a financial investment in the midst of a major housing crisis is just obscene.
Vacancy taxes exist. Here is the one where I live:
if you are just choosing to live unhoused, and by the way there’s a lot of people choosing to live unhoused
Just like Santa Barbara in the '80s. As Doonesbury summarized it then, “We just want those with no place to sleep to have no place to sleep some place other than here.”
That’s essentially what our fucking useless PM said about people unable to afford rent after last night’s federal budget. Fucking dickhead.
The very concept of externalities.
Though several studies now show that the “housing first” model is more successful than other strategies.
i taught school for 26 years in texas. 22 years teaching 6th grade, three years teaching juniors and seniors in high school, and one year teaching 5th grade. i’ve seen innumerable examples of “missing the point” as well as hundreds if not thousands of examples of “deliberately missing the point” but this has to be the bull-moose grand prize winner of “deliberately missing the point” with an inhumanity twist.
3 posts were split to a new topic: The peculiar charms of the teacherly class
For obvious reasons, any additional services an unhoused person may need are going to be vastly complicated if you don’t solve the “unhoused” part first.
It’s not just the short-term results but long-term, “escape from the homelessness cycle” outcomes that are improved, though.
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