We know how to fix homelessness, we just won't do it

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/21/prop-13.html


We know how to fix all of our problems… we just won’t do it.


if the spectacle of human misery doesn’t alarm you, perhaps you should be thinking about communicable disease epidemics.

This is one of the major distinctions between smart wealthy people who want to enjoy their money in vibrant, pleasant and diverse cities and stupid wealthy people who want to either barricade themselves in guarded compounds and buildings or turn entire cities into exclusive preserves of the wealthy.

Because homelessness is, to a first approximation, a synonym for “not white.”

See also “the undeserving poor.”


after watching the rampant rise of spitefulness, selfishness and open bigotry since 9/11 and coming to a boil over the past few years I am utterly convinced 90% of the population could own million dollar homes and drive $100K cars and half of them would still say F-U to the remaining 10% instead of trying to help in some way

maybe genetics will explain it someday, maybe it’s how some people were raised, but it’s so incredibly depressing that there are so many that default to that mode


The zoning laws which help drive this problem are also directly racist in origin. They were instituted after the Fair Housing Act was enacted to try and tackle redlining.

I am disgusted by the wealthy white people, who usually consider themselves liberal, who oppose any action to tackle our housing crisis in Seattle.


Didn’t the city council and mayor there just reverse the corporate head tax on Amazon, some of the revenues of which would have been applied to solving the housing crisis?


We are waiting silently for the next homeless Hepatitis outbreak here in San Diego. The SD city gov can’t get a breakfast order together let alone find solutions to issues, any issue for that matter.


“Local mistrust of ambitious development projects is also founded on a long history of developer misconduct”

BINGO. - someone has to “build” the free housing. and those someone’s are always “developers” greedy, money-grubbing shitheads out for every cent of profit they can squeeze.

that distrust will not change.

San Antonio, TX ha a working model. All “do-good” agencies have agreed to ONLY distribute food, clothing, free —etc - in one central place, or be fined (or taxed if they are “religious institution”

which encourage the homeless who want help, to go to one central location - where there is help, and a track record of success.


Prop 13 is flawed and needs some reforms, especially for commercial properties, but I do like the idea that families, old widows, etc. who are lucky enough to own their own homes and have lived in the same neighborhood for many years should not be forced to sell their homes and move away due to crazy housing price bubbles that they may not want and have nothing to do with.

My preferred solution for prop 13? Levy high capital gains taxes when the house is sold. So if a person buys for $300k and sells for $2M then the state still gets their cut, but in the meantime the owner is not forced to sell earlier than they want to by skyrocketing taxes. Also, the loophole that businesses use to avoid reassessment (technically selling a property management company rather than the property itself) is total BS that needs to end.


We know how to fix homelessness - provide people with housing. It ain’t that deep - the housing first model.


They’ll only say F-U as long as there is a group of people constantly reminding them that financial security is a zero-sum game (and passing laws that keep these conditions in place / preventing the passing of laws that disprove this relationship), and that if you concede any of your “fair and square” wealth to the poor through social programs or restructuring society to help the less fortunate, you will suffer exponentially.

of course these same people are reminding you that the wealth of the extremely wealthy is NOT a zero-sum game, and in fact the richer they are, the richer you are. So any wealth you concede to THEM actually makes you richer…

funny how that works out.


This article contains almost no mention of the growing tenants rights movement and basically proposes only a market based solution. I skeptically see it as a thinly veiled YIMBY propaganda piece because it leaves out one of the biggest things happening in our quest to fight the affordability crisis…

This November California has one of the best opportunities to fight homelessness and gentrification in decades. There will be a measure on the statewide ballot that would repeal the 1995 Costa Hawkins law; a statewide law passed by real estate lobbyists that makes it illegal for municipalities in CA to enact the kind of rent control we need to keep people in their homes.

No more YIMBY think pieces that hem and haw vaguely around a bunch of various solutions yet only advocate for the market based one. Repeal Costa Hawkins!!

cue the wishful middle class that buy into “gated communities”


there is no profit in helping your fellow man. Never has been.

Roddenberry was right that the future quasi-utopia of Star Trek is possible…but it has to begin with the elimination of greed and the desire to accumulate wealth. Once that ends…we can then eliminate all sorts of other human condition issues. But it must start with that.


It always works out so well for them.

1955 (“Live in the Home of Tomorrow … Today”)

1985 (everyone prefers Hilldale)

2015 (or, as we know it, the Biff timeline: worse than Hilldale, which by this time was “nothing but a breeding ground for tranqs, lobos and zipheads”)


I’m certainly not defending the status quo but I just have to put this out there: the East Coast May have better laws in some cases, but they’re not much closer to solving the problem. New York has a higher rate of homelessness than California. (453 per 10,000 vs 342 per 10,000).


I don’t doubt that tent cities are more common on the West coast, but part of that may be because the winter weather out West is more survivable than back East, so indoor shelters are slightly less of a life-or-death situation.


this white, middle aged, middle class individual insists on living in ethnically mixed neighborhoods even when the realtor has suggested we might not want to live there because of the “demographic composition” of the neighborhood. when she told us that when we had found a house in a neighborhood we liked i got exceptionally sarcastic . . . “is there a large number of sex-offenders? . . . known burglarizers of homes ? . . . serial killers perhaps? . . .” we’ve been here 24 years and our black and brown neighbors have been nothing but friendly and helpful.

edited for spelling.


Get him elected in 2020. Andrew Yang for president

Sam Harris has a good interview with Andrew on how his Universal Basic Income will work.

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It’s also notable that the homelessness situation in Seattle has continued to get noticeably worse over the last few years despite rising spending for it; public opinion is turning against the spending pretty dramatically because there’s a feeling of ‘wasted money’ since it’s not making any visible dent in the problem.

Part of this has been discussed in the article - there’s lots of reasons why the money spent isn’t doing a good job, but having lived in Seattle for years with an increasingly antagonistic culture growing around homelessness I can see why people are getting frustrated with the spending rises.

Caveat: I’m basically in favor of solving the problem as discussed in the article, just expressing my opinion as a native.

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There is often this middle class and working class view that because we worked hard for the homes we have, it is upsetting seeing someone who didn’t work for it get a home.

I on the other hand find it upsetting seeing people sleeping along the highways of my prosperous silicon valley city. I also buy tents when they go on clearance in the winter after one homeless man asked me if I had a tent or tarp or something he could have. (it rains in the winter in Silicon Valley)