Union writer Debra J. Saunders says that without mental health and jobs programs, housing first programs are failing the homeless.

Not a small percentage of homeless adults experienced homelessness for the first time as children.

That number is 20% for homeless adults in Los Angeles, 18% in Seattle and Santa Cruz and 15% in San Francisco, according to the Department of Education.

They grew up sleeping on the sofas of other families or extra beds. When the goodwill of the hosts ran out, they stayed in motels, shelters, and makeshift lodgings—even for some, unfortunately, the streets.

Most characters are not bred to learn the skills needed for an adult career, such as showing up when you’re supposed to, maintaining proper hygiene, showing simple manners, and eating right.

There were more than 1.5 million of these children in the school year that ended in 2018.

You learned the statistics above by reading “How Congress Can Fix the Government’s Misguided Homelessness Policies,” prepared by the Discovery Institute team headed by senior colleague Robert Marbut, former President Donald Trump’s homeless czar. (Full disclosure: I’m also a Fellow of the Discovery Institute.)

The paper reveals the futility of current federal “housing first” policies, now espoused by the administration of President Joe Biden.

Housing advocates first see homelessness as a housing issue, not the result of an untreated mental illness often exacerbated by substance abuse.

        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

Therefore, under the housing-first mantle, the government funds unconditional housing, without requiring recipients to participate in mental illness, substance abuse treatment, or job programs.

California enacted a law in 2016 requiring all state housing funds to spend on housing first programs.

As Marbot noted during a briefing with reporters Wednesday, if the housing agency succeeds first, California will be a national homelessness success story.

Anyone who’s traveled to Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Seattle knows that campsites multiply, not disappear.

Housing advocates first talk about ending homelessness at this age.

For example, the Obama administration’s “Opening Doors” plan for the homeless — condominiums first, optional services — presented a goal of ending homelessness among veterans in 2015, ending chronic homelessness in 2017 and ending homelessness for families, youth, and children in 2020.

They never reach their goals.

On the contrary, homeless numbers are rising rather than declining – but that does not lead them to question their failed strategies.

Instead, they write papers selling the same snake oil, but on a different schedule.

This is not a pity. It’s abandoning people on the streets who need guidance, as well as breeding crime and promoting filth.

While I was leading this column with a discussion about children who grew up experiencing homelessness, I should note that many adults who lived on the street also need help to become self-sufficient.

The real reform, the paper notes, would start with ending housing first, shifting to House PLUS which includes supportive services, and prioritizing self-sufficiency.

Marbut offered that Pell Grants, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and unemployment insurance benefits require recipients to attend class with passing grades or participation in the workforce or jobs program.

Uncle Sam shouldn’t have said: This is a bed or a room, now do what you want. Because that doesn’t really work for them.

© 2022, The Creators

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