Homeless problem...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Seattle, May 25, 2020.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    What are your thoughts on the homeless problem?

    It's definitely a problem but it's one that has always been there. It seems to be mainly about mental illness and drug addiction. It's a problem in the U.S. but the U.S. has less per capita than some industrialized European countries so it's not just because the U.S. tends to have less safety nets.

    We used to have "mental hospitals" and people didn't like those but now the "solution" seems to be to do nothing other than let people put up tents in public parks, under bridges and in downtown areas.

    After you work out the constitutional issues you could round everyone up and dedicate a large parcel of land just outside of the cities and let them become "tent cities". It's certainly not ideal but it's better than having needles, theft and other issues in people's neighborhoods.

    Better than the tent city on the edge of town, it seems to me, could be to bring back the old concept of the "mental hospital".

    What are your thoughts? I don't believe this is mainly about people not being able to afford shelter.
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    It's more or less part and parcel of any large city anywhere...including my home town Sydney.
    While my heart accepts that they need help, as many got to that situation through bad luck and circumstances beyond their control.
    I do flinch though at the druggies that have brought it on themselves.
    A few years ago, I saw an old hobo sitting against a shop facade with his hat out asking for money. It was also next door to the pub. Anyway I went into the grill shop ordered a hamburger and chips and coke...Came back out and gave it to him.

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  5. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    Insted of goin backwards to "mental hospitals"... i thank the forward approach of "assisted livin" is the beter concept.!!!
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    In addition to the concentration of high-income residents elevating the housing prices, the surge of homelessness in elite metropolitan areas, and its mimicry of roadside and sanitary conditions in India, is the result of investment firms and deep-pockets having gone on a dozen year spree of buying up downgraded properties and renovating them into profit-making attractions. Thus, less cheap or diminished value lodging for poor and lower middle class quasi-migrants, who mistakenly travel to what they believe is a "land of milk and honey" and discover they can't even afford a roof over their heads (somehow managing to get themselves stranded there).

    The destitute whose abode-less origins rest in mental illness, initial runaway status, substance abuse, prior incarceration, etc do still constitute the homeless population in port cities (and extended locations benefiting from that constant cash-flow of traded goods and tourism). But now that number is heavily supplemented by "ordinary" struggling folk.

    For low rent and modest or sub-par job attracting areas, homelessness is still of the traditional degree and variety. Should there be applicable politicians, bureaucrats, and their methodically compromised social sciences cohorts portraying it as a universal epidemic that has exploded in magnitude even across flyover territories, then it's probably to distract suspicion from their policies, negligence, and lobbying vulnerabilities as part of the explanation.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I think that there are a variety of things contributing to homelessness.

    1. Misguided urban renewal efforts. In San Francisco (where I was born, attended university and lived for many years) there used to be many low-rent "SRO" (single room occupancy) hotels. They were typically found in 'skid row' areas (San Francisco's "tenderloin") and housed people with all sorts of psychiatric and/or drug abuse problems. People on the edge of society, so to speak. So when city leaders sought to clean up blighted areas, they looked first to tearing down the SROs.

    2. Immigration. Today, the remaining SROs are typically inhabited by recent immigrants. Landlords (often recent immigrants themselves) favor others of their own ethnic groups over individuals who are less likely to pay rent and bring all kinds of crime and resulting attention from the police. Unlimited importation of poor people into cities where low cost housing is limited will inevitably result in the displacement of those on the low end of the spectrum onto the streets.

    3. The popular image of certain cities as 'hip' places where effectively anything goes. Since the hippies in the late 60's and early 70's, then the gay influx, San Francisco kind of turned itself into an amusement park for troubled people who felt alienated wherever they started out. This is a mixed blessing. On one hand, San Francisco attracts lots of 20-something recent college graduates who want to live in a 'hip' community with lots of cool cafes and nightlife, so they can continue the kind of lifestyle they enjoyed in college. These kids with their 'nerd' glasses and their goatees fuel lots of "tech" start-ups. But along with them come lots of more troubled people with psychiatric and/or drug problems, who want to get away from wherever they were and hope to find a place where they can finally fit in. (Unfortunately, wherever they move they can never escape from themselves.)

    4. The closing of the mental hospitals. This one is cited more often than the three above, but I don't think that it's nearly as big a factor. While there is indeed a dangerous element of street-lunatics out there, the stark-raving-crazies that are so obvious and scary on the street, most homeless people wouldn't have been hospitalized in psychiatric hospitals in the first place. Most of them do suffer from alcoholism and drug problems, but they aren't active psychotics.

    5. Climate and services. Warm winters is an attractant, since homeless people tend to favor places where it's easier to live on the streets. And a humanitarian impulse to help the homeless by providing them help and services won't make the problem go away. The homeless population will only swell to take advantage.

    Los Angeles, America's poster child for homelessness, is the congruence of all of these factors. Street scene in downtown LA:

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    Last edited: May 25, 2020
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  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Reagan did that - emptied the mental hospitals. He also eliminated the halfway houses and other social services that were keeping the mentally ill off the streets. This, along with the savings and loan powered real estate bubble also abetted by the Reagan administration (pricing the poor, especially inner city renters, out of their houses), and the accumulated effects of the racial oppression (in housing and related financing, especially) Reagan's administration freed of Federal curb, created entire neighborhoods of homeless and transiently housed people that have persisted to this day.
    It's mainly about people not being able to afford shelter. You can easily verify that by running the numbers.

    The standard cutoff for affordable housing, if you recall, is 30% of one's takehome income - anyone paying more unless by choice is statistically vulnerable to losing their dwelling on short notice. On that criterion the median wage in most American cities will not rent the median two bedroom apartment (before Reagan it would buy the median new house on 20% down).

    Combine that with the Iran/Contra launching of the crack epidemic in poor neighborhoods (on top of the hangover drug epidemic from Vietnam), and the punitive (income destroying) drug wars launched in response, and you have a good share of the homelessness explained in one shot.
    The Federal government played the key role in that, via tax policies and lax enforcement of regulations. The real estate industry was a key supporter of the Reagan administration (hence the bubble and bust, both the S&L debacle and the Republican Crash of 2008), and received large favors in return.
    (Note the differences in the means by which Fred Trump (pre Reagan) and Donald Trump (post Reagan) took advantage of inadequate governmental oversight to make (or fake) their fortunes - Fred built tens of thousands of apartments for low income renters, Donald gentrified poor people's apartments for rich foreigners and money launderers. Both Fred and Donald discriminated against American black people, to the point of breaking Federal and State law, but Fred actually increased the total availability of housing for poor people of all colors, while Donald reduced it. Both of them were taking advantage of Federal and State policies and laxities - it's just that those policies and the direction of laxity had changed)
    The immigration boom came after the structural change in the US economy and consequent initial rise in homelessness - again, largely as a result of changes in Federal policies, especially the breaking of the unions and lax enforcement of Federal tax and employment law as it applied to businesses that made significant campaign contributions.
    In places where the humanitarian impulse to keep cities clean and livable for poor people has had some influence - such as many First World industrial countries - the problem of homelessness has had far less impact on the society than it has in the US, and done far less damage. It turns out that the voluntary homeless are not much trouble - if one takes care of the involuntary homeless, especially children, military veterans, and the ill/addicted, the rest of the "problem" becomes much smaller.
    Republican cant. The involuntary homeless outnumber the voluntary by a large margin, and their numbers do not "swell" in response to what meagre services have been promised somewhere in partial recompense for having nowhere to sleep at night.
    Bullshit. Irrelevant.
    The ten US cities with the largest officially counted homeless populations include Seattle, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston (for weather); Las Vegas, Washington DC, and San Diego (for services). The only city in the top ten for homelessness that is also thought to have suitably mild weather and above average services is LA (and the "services" are dubious even there). https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/10-us-cities-with-the-largest-homeless-populations.html
    There is no visible correlation between homelessness and those factors. It's hard to establish a causal relationship without a correlation.
  10. pluto2 Valued Senior Member

    4 years ago I was almost living on the streets with no money to live. My parents saved me from becoming homeless.

    I live in Israel and I fucking hate it here.

    For starters, the population in Israel is way too religious and the country also suffers from corruption in many places and there's also abuse of power.

    Israel just sucks. I'd much rather live in places like Switzerland or maybe even Canada.

    The Israeli girls are also unfriendly and most of them seem to be repulsed by me. I still can't get a girlfriend in Israel.

    The only people keeping me in Israel are my parents who I really love very much but I can't stay in Israel much longer because the country is a becoming a hellhole like Lebanon and Egypt.
  11. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member


    Well, buy an orthodox girl a nice Christmas present. That should get some attention.
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

    There is religion, corruption and abuse of power everywhere. If you are looking for a place free of those things - it doesn't exist.

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