Housing First has undergone randomized assessments. Has Solutions for Change? Touting a 93% (!!!) 'success rate' reminds me of the bogus AA claims, where they report similar literally unbelievable success rates (and note the overlap of alcoholism with homelessness) by a variety of mechanisms like screening out the hard cases, excluding anyone who doesn't complete the program, ultra-small samples, using weak endpoints like very short-term followups of self-reports or additional attrition, publication bias, p-hacking various outcomes and adding new ones on the fly etc. As a rule, there are no interventions with 93% success rates for such intractable problems as schizophrenia, alcoholism and drug addictions, homelessness, or poverty - the experiment has died and the statistician can only do a post-mortem.
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Like any large structural social problem, there's probably not a single all-encompassing policy solution at the current time. Housing First has shown some success. Kudos to Solutions for Change for its accomplishments, too. It's important to realize that Housing First doesn't imply Housing Last, a distinction I'm not sure the article makes.
Until the zoning / NIMBY / Prop 13 problems get addressed, there isn't enough money in the world to do enough on the homeless challenges.
It also highlights that intelligent, informed people of good will, acting in good faith can view a problem and come up with different solutions.
Unstudied, or unstudiable, government policy results in whole societies being forced to take metaphorical drugs in which politicians, without any supporting evidence, tell the populace that this policy will help them. And yet people who live in the real world see the exact opposite. The economic and social isolation of the political class exacerbates this effect.
This is the fundamental problem that any just political systems seeks to solve. No policy will ever benefit everyone, much less benefit them equally. That doesn't mean we should avoid implementing policies that help some more than others: that is in itself a form of injustice.
The same can be said of how we fix homelessness. There is no one size fits all solution. You have to figure out for any given person what they need. This is what makes it so expensive to fix. As a society we love panaceas. The reality is that we need to figure out how to diagnose the root cause of a person's homelessness faster and cheaper before anything will get better. With respect to how we do that our technology is still stuck in the middle ages.
Maybe nobody will want to pay them (their salaries come out of taxes, after all), but the jobs will continue to exist, with whatever budget—they certainly can't be automated away. There is an intrinsically human element to figuring out just how to untangle a (seemingly-irreversibly) knotted-up human life.
In the 90s the Teacher's Union often discussed the fruit cart metaphor. Much of the fruit is at or above standard, but in any pile the growth the substandard (and rotten) always occurs. Education rarely benefits from improvements to production-line approaches, where deviation is discarded.
Will we ever talk about how society no longer provides affordable housing for young single adults and similar demographics?
I am so tired of these discussions and how they turn a certain segment of society into zoo animals to gawk at in a way that just reinforces the idea that there is something wrong with these people rather than something wrong with society and our policies.
I think we've largely seen a policy change away from projects to vouchers that spread people out, though I've also seen some studies saying that projects vs vouchers is not a choice that is better for every demographic group, one way or another.
In an ideal world, you would send people to the program that works for them, but that raises questions of fairness and asks who is going to be making decisions. Maybe it's good that these decisions are being made by decentralized NGOs rather than the government.
If this sort of realism is particular to one political ideology, sign me up.
each chronically homeless individual uses about $30,000 to $50,000 in taxpayer funds per year by cycling in and out of emergency rooms, hospital beds, detox programs, jails, and psychiatric institutions.