If you are concerned about the growing homeless crisis, and why our decade-long approach to it has failed, here are links to a short video and a white paper that I highly recommend.
Here is a brief preview of what you will see in both:
HUD’s 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report claims that a mere 20% of the homeless struggle with severe mental illness and 16% with substance use disorder. If you buy into this, then you are likely also buying into the fact housing alone will solve homelessness for the vast majority of the population.
However, a 2019 study by the UCLA Policy Lab suggests that 78% of unsheltered adults might struggle with mental illness and 75% with substance abuse disorders. These data align with the findings of the Los Angeles Times analysis of homelessness data, as well as through practical experience from service providers including myself.
Looking at the homeless population through this lens, it becomes clear why the provision of life-long subsidized housing– with no services and no expectation these human beings address the behaviors that led to their homelessness—has not worked. It not only serves a strait jacket into mere existence, it ensures that nearly everyone who enters the system will never exit,… which is in turn fueling the affordable housing backlog faced today in many regions throughout the country.