Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Homeless Crisis Explained

Anyone who is looking for a daily dose of Schadenfreude need look no further than the homeless encampments in true blue California. From San Francisco to Los Angeles the Golden State has allowed its city streets to turn into third world sanctuaries. It could not have happened to nicer people.

Schadenfreude notwithstanding, it is good to have a cogent analysis of the problem. For that we turn to Rich Lowry who has aptly summarized the work of Stephen Eide, from the Manhattan Institute. (via Maggie’s Farm)

First, cities eradicated the low cost housing in what is called skid row. Those who would normally have lived there moved to the streets. (Otherwise they found permanent residency and three meals a day in prison.)

Lowry writes:

Cities wiped out or drastically diminished their skid rows, once a last-ditch housing recourse for men who had hit bottom. As urban renewal and regulations to improve the quality of housing eliminated these down-on-their-luck areas, the people who once lived there decamped to public places.

And, in another fit of do-goodism, we deinstitutionalized the mentally ill:

We “deinstitutionalized” the mentally ill, too often a euphemism for dumping them onto the streets and into jails. About 20 percent to 30 percent of the homeless are mentally ill.

Lowry and Eide also note that the breakdown of the family and the increase in single mothers contributed to the problem:

Meanwhile, the number of single-parent families drastically increased. Women only rarely lived on skid row, but poor families headed by single mothers are a large component of the homeless.

Eide notes that in New York City “two-thirds of the homeless population is comprised of families with children, and around 90 percent of those families are headed by single mothers.”

Also contributing to the problem were judges. Following the lead of the ACLU judges defended the rights of the homeless to live where they wanted and to do what they pleased. Defecating on the sidewalk became a protected right of free expression… sort of.

These large-scale trends have been met with a new restrictive legal environment. The Supreme Court in 1972 made it more difficult for city police forces to hustle along vagrants, and subsequent free-speech jurisprudence has made outlawing panhandling tricky. Civil commitment of the mentally ill has become highly restricted. The ACLU is a great de facto friend of vagrancy.

And the ACLU is a great friend to the psychotics roaming the streets, even those who occasionally open fire on a school. We do not know, from this article, how many of the California homeless are illegal migrants… lured by the promise of sanctuary.

What can we do about it? Lowry offers some answers:

But the beginning wisdom is to consider the status quo intolerable, and resist the advocates who want to normalize panhandling and camping, and the associated drug abuse, petty crime and disorder. Houston has had success with a tough-love policy of more services, coupled with a crackdown on encampments and other public nuisances.

One of the advantages of modern society is that people don’t have to live in public, or in squalor. That it is widely accepted in some of our greatest cities is an outrage of our age. It is deeply harmful to our civic life, and does no favors for the men and women living in parks and highway underpasses.

The problem, in Los Angeles and San Francisco, continues because the grandees who run those cities simply do not care. Lowry calls it a major policy failure, and rightly so. When are the advocates of these policies going to admit their mistakes and take steps to rectify the situation?


Sam L. said...

I went thru Portland OR last week. Saw lots of tents and tarps along the highways and Interstates. Liberals are so "caring" of the homeless.

Anonymous said...

So, B. F. Skinner was right? Concerning classification of who is 'mental invalid' and therefore requires involuntary commitment to sanitarium. Radical Behaviorism is the correct approach?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the vibe "happy to see them suffer" for people in cities who are having difficult times. That vibe reminds me of the one I got reading the Rome Falling article. I would like to think this is due to my error as reader rather than attribute it incorrectly elsewhere.

The quote in question: "A subway system that is almost as bad as New York."

Would a reader be 'asking for too much' to assume the jest in quotes is a mere instance of 'bad form'?

For decades the once positive reputation of New York has been maligned by the un-American activities. This repetitive display of Slander has mercilessly been 'stuck on repeat mode' far too long, and remains unchallenged.

The stifling degree to which this fools' errand of 'dmisal'-informed people has turned the once-simple process of making an authentic decision based on reasonably accurate information into an arduous process that has more in common with an elaborate maze based on Barbra Streisand.

If Occupy's fantasy narrative abruptly supplanted that of 'reality' and the "NYC demographic composition became 99% Patrick Bateman clones".. Then, the absurd imbalance created by this hypothetical scenario would necessitate that the Remainder of NYC Elite will have to be MORE THAN ordinary 'decent folk', but also extraordinary and capable of an altruistic plan that rises above crude-nearsightedness to counteract the adverse consequence of the Occupy hypothetical narrative.

For if a clone army of Patrick Bateman were somehow in control of America's economy as Occupy narrative would have us believe then wouldn't everyone already be dead long time ago? The possibility of such "extraordinarily good representatives of New York" existing is the most plausible outcome.

Anonymous said...

The invention of the term "homeless" enshrined its adherents as noble social heroes in the minds of the democrat/progressives, thus harming their chances of aspiring to more because their activates as homeless have been legitimized by them. At the same time, the democrat/progressives despise them, expect as opportunities for virtue-signaling (I have personally witnessed this).

They say that about 1/3 are mentally ill, 1/3 on the streets due to misfortune, 1/3 there by choice (for drugs, the freedom, etc.). This means about 2/3 can be assisted in some way. For the other 1/3, the streets are their home; they are not homeless.

Take away the euphemism, and we have the mentally ill, the unfortunate, and, harsh as it may sound, bums. Eliminating the euphemism also robs the democrat/progressives of a political weapon, allowing focus on a more clearly defined problem. Such an approach may permit workable measures may be devisable.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous other, that is an interesting thought process you shared.

What is this workable approach you have potentially Allowing for measures leading to potential resolutions' to nebulous problems concerning you?

Although "fix the world" is not on my list, one of many reasons include plenty of qualified politically oriented people with a network of people using quality information.

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Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The root cause is litigating activist lawyers who don’t have to live with the consequences of their activism.

The homeless are victim abstractions to these attorneys, who subscribe to a licentious “People should be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want” type of ideal. Such deeply held political “values” negatively imact the livability of cities, and ruin the lives of the indigent souls they claim to champion.

What’s missing from this equation is any semblance of responsibility.

Human beings have a remarkable ability to adapt, but true love will limit what we want them to adapt to and tolerate. Especially women and children. Those claiming to stand for the most vulnerable seem sociopathically willing to allow squalor to fulfill their own selfish civil idealism.

Activist isms seem to be tearing us apart these days. I suppose the homeless are just collateral damage.

That’s justice? That’s peace? That’s love? I think not.