How do we know?
There are a plethora of new “studies” and books emerging from their side to claim that Housing First—more aptly titled “housing only”– is the solution to homelessness.
We hope the American public, many of whom live/work in regions where homelessness has become a top concern, reject such bias, and rely instead on what they see and experience daily… and what the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pre-COVID data have revealed.
Under the 2013 one-size-fits-all policy shift to Housing First, the nation’s sheltered population grew by 15.6% while the unsheltered homeless population rose by 20.5%… despite a 42.7% increase in the number of permanent housing units dedicated to the homeless in the 2014-2019 period and a 200% increase in federal homelessness assistance spending.
In California, the only state to go all in on Housing First in 2016, the sheltered population rose by 33.8% while the unsheltered homelessness population rose by 47.1%… despite a 33% increase in the number of permanent housing units dedicated to the homeless and at least a 101% increase in spending over the 2017-2019 period.
Sacramento County– a county that also went all in on the “housing only” approach in 2017– recently announced a 67% increase in homelessness from 2020-2022, after experiencing a 19% increase over the 2017-2019 period.
If housing alone were the solution to homelessness, the homeless population would have declined nationally, in California and in Sacramento County.
The NY Post asked me to respond to the latest “study”. In under five hours, I was able to review it and pen the following response. I guess the good news is that refuting the bs is becoming less time consuming.