December 19, 2022

Homelessness in America

It’s a difficult problem in cities across the nation, but particularly in blue cities like LA and NYC.

As Christmas quickly approaches and the weather is promising a freezing drop in temperature, our hearts, minds, and wallets are commended to help those in need. The homeless in particular are brought to our social conscienceless.

Homelessness has become a significant and pitiable problem in cities across the nation. In Los Angeles, the sheer number of people struggling with homelessness has caused Mayor Karen Bass to declare a state of emergency. According to the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority (LAHSA), 41,980 people are unhoused and living in encampments in the city. In the whole of LA County, the number of homeless is 69,144. The LAHSA has blamed the rise in homelessness on “COVID-era policies like eviction moratoriums and rentals assistance, as well as federal assistance.”

What the LAHSA fails to also say is that the rising homelessness crisis has been an issue in LA long before COVID reared its ugly head. According to a UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy study, LA’s homelessness problem has been around since World War II and is mainly due a housing infrastructure problem. The city has grown, but available housing has not grown with it. This has been partially by design. This housing scarcity drives up the cost of available homes in California. Then there is the problem of the cost of living in the state.

LA homelessness experienced a spike starting in 2012 that has been accelerating year after year since. It is here that it should be noted that former LA Mayor Eric Garcetti also declared a homelessness emergency in 2015 using $100 million in taxpayer funds. His policies didn’t work and those dollars were squandered.

Karen Bass’s solution is to move the homeless into housing provided by taxpayers in the form of hotels and motels. This solves the immediate problem of people on the streets. However, she is also planning on utilizing community organizations to provide aid to the mentally ill and the drug addicted to “address the reasons why they wound up unhoused.” Her long-term plan is to help builders cut through bureaucratic red tape and build affordable housing.

Homelessness is such a problem in LA that the encampments are making children scared to walk to school. Needles from drug use litter the sidewalks, and human defecation is everywhere. If Bass is able to make a dent in this problem, it’ll be apparent fairly quickly.

Mayor Eric Adams is also seeking new solutions to New York City’s homelessness problem. NYC has made headline after headline for its homeless and mentally ill attacking and even killing other residents. Adams has green-lighted involuntary hospitalization for severely mentally ill homeless. These individuals will not be released until there is a long-term plan with accountability in place for treatment.

This move on the mayor’s part inspired a lot of backlash from leftists and the mainstream media who saw the move as infringing on the rights of these homeless people. However, Adams is left with little choice. Decades of deinstitutionalization and a billion dollars wasted in former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s failed effort to help the mentally ill have left NYC looking more and more like Batman’s Gotham.

In his announcement of this new initiative, Adams said, “If severe mental illness is causing someone to be unsheltered and a danger to themselves, we have a moral obligation to help them get the treatment and care they need.” This clears the path for NYC’s first responders to intervene and get help for the more volatile homeless.

Nationally, Joe Biden just released a plan today to realize his vision of “preventing and ending homelessness in America.” Federal spending sure isn’t going to fix anything.

Both LA and NYC are deep-blue cities and have been facing frank criticism from their constituents and the rest of the country for allowing their homeless to live in squalor and bring the rest of the cities down with them. Unhoused individuals who rough it on the streets have been failed by “compassionate” leftist policy. These leftist mayors are faced with the reality of these failed policies. By taking a harder stance to address the problems, they may actually be able to combat the homelessness in their cities.

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