While the economy and abortion take center stage in the United States right now, what no one is really talking about is the extent of homelessness in the country.
Recent studies have shown that unsheltered homelessness has risen over 30% since 2015 and there is no real end in sight to fixing the problem.
With all of the billions of dollars being thrown at the problem, why is it that the rates of homelessness continue to climb? Perhaps it has something to do with only scratching the surface of the issue itself and not the root causes.
Throwing money at the problem?
As recently as 2019, New York City spent an estimated $3 billion on its homeless population.
California, the mecca of homelessness, spent nearly $5 billion. Democrat policies in these states have been to simply throw money at the problem, hoping that by doing so homelessness will somehow miraculously go away.
A similar analogy can be made to the trillions of dollars that have been sent to Africa over the past few decades. In much of the continent nothing has changed, and things have actually gotten worse, because simply throwing money at a problem doesn’t address the root causes of it.
Haiti is another broader example of how throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily fix anything. The country has been devastated by earthquakes and hurricanes in recent years, and the response has been to send billions upon billions of dollars to the nation to help fix things.
The result? Massive corruption and hardly anything being fixed. While Haiti is not the United States, it serves as a parallel example of how money doesn’t solve problems at their core, it just embellishes them by scratching the surface.
Housing with no accountability
As if throwing money at the homelessness problem wasn’t enough, another Democrat initiative has been a “housing first” policy.
Regardless of how the individual or individuals got into the position of being homeless, states have simply given them housing in the hopes that it would help them to change their ways.
Again, the “housing first” policy does not address the root causes that are bringing more and more people into homelessness, but simply acts as a band-aid to the problem.
It is the same as given a poor person $20 in the hopes they will use it to somehow better their lives and get a full-time career. To expect something like that to happen is asinine, and yet Democrat politicians believe that giving housing to the homeless will solve all of the problems.
Mental disability and Substance Abuse
An overwhelming majority of those who are living on the streets in permanent homelessness suffer from two main problems, mental disabilities and substance abuse.
San Francisco is the so-called homelessness capital of the United States for a reason, and it is not simply because the politicians there are lenient when it comes to living outside. It has more so to do with the policies on drugs than anything else, as practically any drug one can think of is seen as acceptable to use in the city.
As a result of this policy, there are tens of thousands roaming the streets as victims of substance abuse with no one really there to help them get out of it. Instead of addressing this specific problem, San Francisco and other cities like it would rather adopt the “housing first” policy and ignore the fact that their policies on drugs are having severe negative ramifications on their respective populations.
Mental disorders and disabilities are another root-cause issue that has led to the dramatic rise in homelessness, yet the problem is not being tackled on a nation-wide level.
A 2015 study done by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that nearly 45% of the homeless population was suffering from mental illness and 25% were suffering from a serious mental illness.
Having these mental illnesses makes it more difficult for individuals to work a stable job and a higher risk of turning to drugs or alcohol to remedy the problem, thus leading eventually to homelessness.
High housing costs are another factor at play, pushing those with lower incomes out of their houses in favor of those who can afford higher rents.
After the 2008 Great Recession, investment firms realized they could not get away with pawning mortgage-backed securities anymore, so they did the next best thing: buying physical homes in up-and-coming cities.
The investment firm Blackrock bought up homes left and right until 2017, when it split off its real estate division into what it is now Invitation Homes, a publicly traded company.
This is just one of many examples of investment and private equity firms buying up houses left and right in order to rent them out and make more money.
What exactly is being done by Democrat politicians in Washington D.C. to stop this from occurring? Nothing as of now, and it is unlikely to change until it is too late.
With all of that being said, what are some potential solutions to the issue of homelessness? It is an issue that will take time to solve, but it can be done by addressing the root causes of mental illness and drugs to start with.
There will always be a degree of homelessness within the country, it is just a matter of determining what is acceptable.
People will do drugs and roam the streets regardless of how much emphasis is placed on the problem, and as such work needs to be done for those who actually want and need the help. The “housing first” policy is great in an ideal world, but we don’t live in an ideal world.
We live in reality, and as such there needs to be accountability for those who are given housing. At the very least it will ensure that the billions of dollars being spent on the issue are done so with a degree of intelligence.
Holding people accountable, directing resources to the real root causes of the issue, and reigning in investment firms are all potential solutions that could positively impact homelessness.