On the one hand it seems implausible, on the other hand ridiculous. What worse way could there be to combat homelessness in America than to provide the homeless with a place to live?
It's such a ridiculous proposition that only Utah, a bastion of gay sex and other conservative values could dare suggest and then implement it. Now, with the alleged success of the policy - against all common sense - it has a chance of spreading to more liberal locales such as Wyoming.
n 2005, Utah set out to do something very different than the typical strategy of getting the hard-core homeless off drugs and alcohol, and making them jump through enough bureaucratic hoops to obtain some state assistance and finally get what they need most: permanent housing...
The "Housing First" program's goal was to end chronic homelessness in Utah within 10 years. Through 2012, it had helped reduce the 2,000 people in that category when it began by 74 percent. Lloyd Pendleton, director of Utah's Homeless Task Force, said the state is on track to meet its goal by 2015, and become the first state in the nation to do so...
I don't care whether people support the program because it's the right thing to do, or because they realize it saves them money in the long run. Whatever their motivation, people need to explore innovative solutions for Wyoming's increasing homeless population, and not keep doing the same things over and over...
By giving them a roof over their heads instead of a hospital bed or jail cell, Wyoming communities can show that they are both compassionate and good stewards of public funds.
Can we agree that Ayn Rand will not be visiting Utah any time soon? I believe we can.
How does Utah justify this transfer of wealth from the God-fearing wealthy residents of its lands to the homeless, many removed from their homes by banks doing the Lord's work of eviction?
It's simple: the root of all evil is at work, and it's tentacles are invasive:
The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached. In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000. Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment...
City officials in Casper, Wyoming, now plan to launch a pilot program using the methods of Utah’s Housing First program. There’s no telling how far the idea might go.
It's insidious. It's subversive. Imagine that if you gave someone a home they might use less social services; they might have less reason to collapse on the street and end up in an emergency room; and they would have a better chance of getting back on their feet and be better able to cope with the world. Now imagine the Pope castigating the modern-day money changers
, telling them they had a responsibility to the poor. Ridiculous, right? Couldn't possibly happen. Now imagine Jamie Dimon giving his year-end bonus to the homeless - okay, okay, I take that back- that one is not even conceivable.
The idea that this could work across America is even more preposterious. Statistic after statistic shows that we could not possibly house even a fraction of the homeless:
Amnesty International rejects the idea:
There are more than five times as many vacant homes in the U.S. as there are homeless people, according to Amnesty International USA.
The math seems impossible to get around:
approximately 3.5 million people in the U.S. are homeless, many of them veterans. It is worth noting that, at the same time, there are 18.5 million vacant homes in the country.
Estimates of the number of homeless in 2013 vary
, but their staggering numbers...
Roughly 610,000 homeless people were living in emergency shelters, transitional housing or unsheltered locations during a count taken on a single night in January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported.
Compared to realtor's estimates of the number of vacant homes
As of the first quarter of 2013, there are just over 133 million housing units in America and 10.7 percent of them - more than 14. 2 million - are vacant all year round for some reason or another.
Make the whole concept preposterous.
Who is to blame for this doomed-to-fail experiment? None other than failed candidate, Chinese food lover, "compassionate conservative" and all-around loser John Huntsman.
Eight years ago, under Gov. Jon Huntsman, Utah started an experiment in which chronically homeless people - first 17, then 2,000 - were given apartments and full-time caseworkers.
No wonder it failed so miserably.
Utah has reduced its rate of chronic homelessness by 78 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015.
I HAVE A BETTER SOLUTION:
There are plenty of bridges and tunnels that could be used to shelter the homeless. And just because they are leaking due to lack of infrastructure upkeep is no reason to dismiss this proposal. I reiterate: What folly to suggest using structures specifically intended to house people to relieve the problem of homelessness.