In late December, the Biden Administration released its new homelessness blueprint– All In. Most of its assertions were predictable: some, however, capriciously absurd.
Assertion #1: The “new plan”- nothing more than a doubling down on the failed Housing First experiment introduced by the Obama-Biden Administration in 2013- the number of people experiencing homelessness will decrease 25% by January 2025.
Reality: They claim that by doubling spending- from $4.1 billion annually to $8.7 billion annually- homelessness will magically decrease. Never mind that this spending increase will be DOA in the new Congress, President Biden seems to have forgotten that despite a 200% increase in annual federal spending, the number of homeless Americans rose by 15.6%, pre-Pandemic. California- the only state to have fully adopted Housing First in 2016- experienced a 33.8% increase in homelessness despite a 101% increase in spending.
Assertion #2: The new plan is based on the premise housing is healthcare and accordingly, every American has a right to housing.
Reality: A 2018 study by the National Academy of Sciences– the federal government’s premiere research institute—unequivocally refutes the notion that housing improves health outcomes for the homeless. “Overall, except for some evidence that PSH improves health outcomes among individuals with HIV/AIDS, the committee finds that there is no substantial published evidence as yet to demonstrate that PSH improves health outcomes or reduces health care costs.”
Assertion #3: “Referring to the increase in homelessness after drop between 2010-2016: This increase stems from decades of growing economic inequality exacerbated by a global pandemic, soaring housing costs, and housing supply shortfalls. It is further exacerbated by inequitable access to health care, including mental health and/or substance use disorder treatment; discrimination and exclusion of people of color, LGBTQI+ people, people with disabilities and older adults; as well as the consequences of mass incarceration.”
Reality: 78% of the homeless are overwhelmed with the diseases of mental illness and addiction, whether a precursor to, or a result of, their homelessness. The United States Surgeon General describes addiction as a complex, brain disorder disease. Well-supported scientific evidence shows that brain disruptions reduce brain function which inhibits the ability to make decisions and regulate one’s actions, emotions, and impulses.
Yet treatment services were not only wholly defunded under the 2013 Obama-Biden indoctrination of Housing First, the homeless were given the choice of whether to engage in sobriety and mental health treatment services, despite the evidence that their ability to come to such conclusions is knowingly reduced.
2023 is the year by which the Obama-Biden Administration promised “homelessness would end” under their one-size-fits-all Housing First experiment. More spending is not the answer to reversing the nation’s humanitarian crisis; policy change is.