It may happen sometimes, but a recent survey showed that over 70pct of the homeless people in SF previously had homes in SF . So it's mostly a home grown problem.
Residency usually just based on any bill with city address within last 30 days.
I can easy imagine case when someone moved to SF with hope that things will work out in big city, spent savings on few months of rent and with nowhere else to go and no established income ended up on the streets. While it's a sad situation it fits that previous SF residency narrative and in the same time not exactly part of some native san franciscans ending up on streets due to yet another gentrification cycle everybody so keen to bring up whenever homeless origin is being mentioned.
I am curious about the baselines here for other areas though. Even given the incentive to lie, the reported numbers given still seem quite high to me. The most liberal metric is living in the city for at least 10 years, which applied to just below 50% of the homeless. Even if we take the most conservative metric of 'migratory' patterns, with 30% of individuals having moved to San Francisco after becoming homeless, that still seems very high. But I don't really have a baseline for comparison in other major cities and search is not turning up any particularly great sources.
The encampments shown there (which are talking about LA) are exactly like the encampments dotting the coastline in SB and along the onramps in Barrio Logan in SD. I imagine the problem is emdemic to most of the populated California coast.
The only such study wasn't even a "study", just a survey with no verification of the responses. And the responses defy reality (e.g. 48% claim to have had permanent SF residence for over 10 years, which is a higher rate than the general self-supporting population).
Plans can include mobile data, too. Even those is the USA illegally can qualify.
When I lived in SF, there were blocks that I would place money on being a homeless person there, and it seemed like most of them were relocated. Tons of familiar streets in SOMA were at or near zero homeless people. The interesting part is that my co-workers, who never lived in SF, remarked about how many homeless people were still out in the streets. To them, there were tons of homeless people and to me there were hardly any. I was so shocked that I even called one of my friends who is from the Bay Area and asked him what was going on?
Gilde is right near the area you're talking about and they provide tons of services for the homeless and mentally ill so there is a high concentration around that area.
 - https://www.glide.org
Another shock to me was that the homeless are very different between SF and where I'm from (Birmingham UK). Here, they are generally just pitied people down on their luck. They don't really cause harm but can be belligerent when drunk. In SF, many of the homeless people were _terrifying_, clearly having severe untreated mental health issues.
I think that the homeless problem in SF isn't that bad when you are a longer term resident because you get used to it, but it's definitely a big shocker for many tourists.
I think everyone can agree that it would greatly benefit society to get "people back on their feet".
But how? There's a virtually unlimited stream of drugs coming into this country. There are many people who have mental illness. In many places, The Rent Is Too Damn High.
IMO solving this problem is by no means "simple". How expensive is it to do "focused care"? Has it been tried, and what's its track record?
Anybody with a drug problem should be able to walk into a hospital, say "I'm addicted to X" and get into treatment immediately, free of charge.
Anybody with a mental illness should be able to walk into a hospital, say "I can't take care of myself because X keeps happening in my brain" and get into treatment immediately, free of charge.
If you've ever tried to help someone get clean or get mental health inpatient care in the U.S., you can completely understand how people end up on the streets who could otherwise be productive members of society.
Where can the USA look for similarities? Singapore is one city state, as is Hong Kong. Australia's cities are 600 miles apart. The EU has a language issue moving from city to city, despite London to Paris being 1/10th as far than SF is to NYC. The USA is pretty unique here.
The one similar country is China. The GDP per capita by Chinese prefecture makes the US look positively egalitarian: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prefecture-level_citie...
China solves their issues by essentially banning movement between areas. The US could never solve their issues that way, for a variety of reasons.
So I'm not sure what the solution is to micro level high homelessness, but macro level low homelessness.
We added to it with the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, as part of the stimulus program in 2009. It helped a million homeless people in two years.
That the US homelessness rate looks relatively good now, owes a lot to this chain of programs.
Getting people into houses and then helping them clean up their acts, rather than setting a high moral bar (we won't house you until you clean up your alcohol/drug addiction and take treatment for your mental health issues) is just plain good sense.
I've always thought the "clean up then get help" seemed cruel and from a position of ignorance. I couldn't imagine being homeless and having to clean up to get a dry place to sleep or food to eat. Sobriety would just add another layer of misery: Withdrawal from any substance would add even more layers.
I think you should understand what this really means. Are you willing to pay 10, 15% extra of your income to sustain 10~25k a month bills for mentally ill people?
Without hesitation. I want to live in a healthier America.
I think it's more reasonable to compare taxation on disposable income. In my opinion a fair tax would only tax disposable income anyhow. Of course that creates an incentive to have $0 disposable income but it's no different than the problem of corporations aiming to report $0 profit.
Progressive tax schemes aim to achieve this, but in a completely broken and inconsistent fashion. For instance somebody earning $100k in San Francisco is going to be spending a rather different percent of their income on basic living expenses than somebody living in Bodunk earning the same, and so applying the same scheme to both does not make sense. It'd be much easier to just make everything that qualifies as a 'basic living expense' fully deductible, and then you pay e.g. 15% on the rest.
The last 10 bucks of a rich person are worth less to him than the last 10 bucks of a poor person in terms of diminishing returns.
What I dislike enormously about utilitarian arguments is that, provided some evidence, you can justify anything. For example: why ever spend money on homeless people that will not work: its better to spend that money in literally anything else.
There are a lot more reasons as to the exponential advantages the wealthy generally enjoy suggest that the wealthy should indeed get taxed more, but it's probably better suited for discussion elsewhere than HN.
For instance while I agree with all you've said, excepting your conclusion, I'm sure you'd also agree that lower income individuals would also be much more likely to end up as the direct beneficiaries of where lots of government money goes to such medicaid/medicare and various social programs. Since these lower income individuals are going to be disproportionately more likely to utilize the benefits of these government programs, would it then not make more sense for them to shoulder a greater percent of the costs to account for this? I absolutely do not agree with this conclusion, but at the same time I also don't see any clear logical flaw in it.
So you can do an ideological tug of war, one way or the other, to no end on these issues. One ideology might have the wealthy give nearly all of their income away to help the rest of the population. The other end of ideology might have people give none away and rely entirely on market dynamics. I think a fixed and fair sum is one of the more reasonable ways to step outside of ideology and try to create a system that nobody really loves, but also nobody can create rational arguments suggesting is, in and of itself, unreasonably biased towards one group or another.
Great example! And I agree. The example you give is one of the reasons I have with progressive taxation, by the definition of %. Someone with 1,000,000 income and someone with 30,000 paying the same rate, the richer pays a lot more than he will use from the state. So in effect, a flat-tax rate is most likely already progressive.
I am in favor of a flat tax-rate for all, without deductions or exceptions. And I would go a step further and make the contributions public or pseudo-public.
Its a different system one where the top 90% each cheap in to help the distressed 10%, another one where the top 10 give to the top 20, the top 20 to the top 30, etc.
Liberty above everything else, and I dont want anyone to suffer any consequence under the veil of "trickle-down econ", which is not what people think it is.
theres so many bs political excuses; bad zoning, bad building regulation, bad union rules, bad health regulations, bad drug laws, civil legal liability, cost of Rx drugs ... as if government doesnt have have power to fix those things. it's a feigned helplessness because the poor inherently have no political leverage/value to those in power.
I think providing people housing is simple. It's just expensive.
theres also not enough jail space or PD headcount, so dealers, petty burglars just cycle in and out without consequence. its a vicious cycle of extreme poverty that starts and ends with a corrupt, poorly run local government
Bussing them out is just an idea done by the rich so they don't have to see the homeless any longer.
If that were actually true, then there wouldn't be a homeless problem. The unemployment rate doesn't count these people. The unemployment rate only counts people who are 'actively looking' for a new job. People who aren't looking at all don't show up in the statistics.
> Bussing them elsewhere doesn't help when they still don't have a home, a bathroom/shower, clean clothes, food, etc.
Let's be careful about the conjugation of that verb. The city is not bussing them anywhere. The city is offering them free bus tickets, if they believe they will be happier elsewhere. If they want to stay, they stay. If they want to leave, they leave.
> Bussing them out is just an idea done by the rich so they don't have to see the homeless any longer.
It's really not. They're not being forced out. They're just being given free tickets if they want them.
That's entirely incorrect. We track all of these layers in fact.
We have the labor force participation rate, which is available further separated out into groups, such as by age or race. We track the employment to population ratio.
We have the U3, U5, U6 unemployment statistics, which track labor based on various conditions, whether full-time, part-time, discouraged, etc.
We track how many people total are employed full-time or part-time. We know how many hours they're working.
We track multiple job holders.
We track how many people are not in the labor force.
We track the flow of labor in and out of the labor force.
And we track all of these statistics for different age groups, men & women, races, etc.
For one big example, the prime working age 25-54 civilian labor force participation rate. Considered a critical measure of labor force health. It bottomed out at 80.6% in 2015 and has since climbed back to 82.3% as of October, slightly below where it was in 2004-05.
No....it is entirely correct. The unemployment rate that was quoted was exactly as I described. I didn't say the other statistics weren't tracked, I said the statistic quoted above, and the thing commonly referred to as "the unemployment rate" does not count it.
Why would a reasonable reader assume that "statistics" means "specifically U3 unemployment"?
The point he was making though can be made even if the OP was referencing U3 which is if the fundamentals are looking better for employees (Which can be inferred from improving U3 numbers) then why are we seeing higher homelessness?
Are you seriously trying to insist that he could possibly have meant anything other than U3? The common meaning of 'unemployment rate' is U3. Google 'current unemployment rate' right now, and Google will tell you 3.7. Aka U3.
> The point he was making though can be made even if the OP was referencing U3 which is if the fundamentals are looking better for employees (Which can be inferred from improving U3 numbers) then why are we seeing higher homelessness?
Because the population looking for work and the population falling into homelessness are not the same population! Which is exactly the point I was making about U3. There is a massive population that has left the workforce completely, many of them are subsisting on disability or some other unknown way. It is highly likely that those people are the ones primarily falling into homelessness.
A: show up to work on time
B: be groomed
C: establish a pattern of living
It’s hard to go to work not knowing if your car will be towed. Granted, where people COULD afford to live isn’t the city centers, where the services are and where people congregate. And the suburbs don’t want them either. Pretty sad state of affairs - we need to provide a real safety net so people aren’t stuck below the line of employability.
Putting a homeless shelter or no address at all on your work application is a great way to get it sent straight to the circular file.
Even living in public housing can be a job killer if the addresses are well known enough. People at Cabrini Green had to hope they had a relative that would allow them to use their address to apply for jobs with, and hope on top of that the public housing officials wouldn't find out about it.
For example, many low tax base areas accumulate a population with more problems that have higher tax rates, insurance rates, etc (and a more strained social net) than a rich city.
It is important to make sure rich areas are at least paying some of the costs they create in selectively pushing people out or creating bottlenecks to set a minimum CoL on who comes in.
Everything in the article and this thread seems consistent with these programs actively running for rich coastal cities to return people or send them to places where their friends have space to spare.. That doesn't sound like Manhattan.
A convergence on rich cities getting more people is a possibility.. But the richer cities are setting precedents, have actual budgets for these things and regulations tend only to increase.
It seems just as likely to be a rich coastal city as anywhere else, tbh. The article makes a point of saying that they only do the most cursory of checks anyway, so we can basically assume they're meaningless.
> A convergence on rich cities getting more people is a possibility.. But the richer cities are setting precedents, have actual budgets for these things and regulations tend only to increase.
It's certainly a possibility. But I don't know if you live in a rich coastal city, but I do, and the homeless problem here is out of control. The homeless population in rich coastal cities is empirically growing very quickly, and it is not growing in the same way in other places, consistent with net migration of homeless into rich coastal areas, not the other way around.
These bussing policies have been in place for a while, and there is no epidemic of homeless leaving SF and setting up shop in Des Moines. So while it may theoretically be possible for this to increase flow in the way you describe, despite the policies being in place for a good while, that is empirically not what is happening.
Otherwise it's just conveniently moving the problem elsewhere.
The end result of your logic would essentially lead to caravans of homeless people because it would be cheaper to give them a bus pass and a pat on the back rather than take care of their own responsibilities. The idea that they have agency in this case is a facade because then the city could deny them care under the guise of 'well we gave them a chance for a better opportunity and they denied it'. It seems to be a uniquely American thing to ignore actually addressing the damn problem in favor of making it someone else's problem.
The city that they reside in is effectively denying them care. The tickets are an excuse to push them out of the city so that they don't actually have to give them proper care. If they weren't being denied care for whatever reasons, then there wouldn't be a reason to bus them out to other cities, now would there?
This is EXACTLY what happened when Nevada gave discharged patients from a mental health hospital one-way bus tickets out of town. They were given bus tickets and advised to seek health care elsewhere and were sued because of this program. So let's not ignore the fact that this actually occurs.
Well, one reason from TFA is so they can go back to where they have a friends/family support network. People actually do this on their own, parents get their kid a ticket on the Greyhound so they don't end up on/get off the streets. Happens a lot.
Given a choice between staying homeless where you happen to be or going somewhere where you have a fighting chance people seem to be going with the latter.
> They were given bus tickets and advised to seek health care elsewhere and were sued because of this program.
One alleged abusive program and this means they all share the same motivation?
Prisons do the exact same thing BTW.
What? How is giving them a free ticket pushing them anywhere? They're not being forced to take it.
> This is EXACTLY what happened when Nevada gave discharged patients from a mental health hospital one-way bus tickets out of town. They were given bus tickets and advised to seek health care elsewhere and were sued because of this program. So let's not ignore the fact that this actually occurs.
It is not even close to that. That was people being put onto these buses after being kicked out of hospitals. These are people who have already been living homelessly in the city, and the city saying "here, IF YOU WANT THIS, you can have a free ticket wherever you need to go".
This is a strict expansion of their autonomy, to paint it any other way is ludicrous.
> He was told the family was ineligible for services because they had housing options elsewhere, notably in Puerto Rico with his partner’s mother. To officials in New York, steering the family into accommodation instead of the city homeless system was the most sensible option. Ortiz’s decision to take the airline ticket was voluntary, but he did not feel he had much choice given the alternative likely meant sleeping in the park or on a street corner.
As for the people in the Nevada case they were offered a choice by the hospital: They could be discharged early if they took a bus ticket to another state, and could leave even earlier if they had family/friends there. These were people given a choice, something that you mention as being incredibly important. Their autonomy was increased, was it not? They were not forced into taking the ticket.
Of course they were coerced, naturally. That's why I think your argument about choice ends up being complete bunk, because often there isn't a real 'choice' for many of these homeless people. For people who may have trouble making a well-informed choice due to poverty or mental illness or any other reason, to act like they have a full choice in the matter is ignorance.
I think they, and I, would argue that a big part of the problem is that people become stuck in places that don't have opportunity or support networks for them. Helping them go to those places is an important step in fixing the problem in an organic way.
> As for the people in the Nevada case they were offered a choice by the hospital: They could be discharged early if they took a bus ticket to another state, and could leave even earlier if they had family/friends there. These were people given a choice, something that you mention as being incredibly important. Their autonomy was increased, was it not? They were not forced into taking the ticket.
I don't know the details of that case, but if they were said "hey you can leave early if you take this bus ticket", I see no problem with that.
> Of course they were coerced, naturally.
Erm, what? Where, exactly is the coercion? Here's the situation: I am walking down the street and come across a homeless man. I say "Hey man, if you need a bus ticket somewhere, i'd be happy to buy it for you". Where exactly does the coercion happen? Is buying someone a bus ticket that they ask for coercive when the state does it? Does that make food stamps coercion?
Why not simply restrict the free travel ticket a second time? Instead of the basic necessities like food and shelter?
Writing that out makes even less sense once you think it through, however.
If the goal of the city is to relieve itself of homeless people, they should offer as many free bus tickets out of town as homeless people can ask for... Even multiple tickets in a row... Becoming that dreaded "travel agency" that Mike Tolbert warns about.
Surely it would be less expensive to pay for a second free bus ticket than to pay two police officers to arrest the same person 3+ times in a row for sleeping on the beach... And eventually the person might find a city or town that caters to their needs better than their first destination might have and end up staying.
I am not arguing other points of the story, only saying that as a taxpayer, unlimited free bus tickets to anywhere doesn’t sound like a fair deal for the people who pay taxes.
Homelessness is a tragedy for some and a lifestyle for others, that’s just a fact. Being homeless doesn’t somehow make you free of accountability for your actions: you sign an agreement, that should mean something.
It seems crazy to you to think that somebody giving you a free bus ticket out of town isn't serious about your not being able to return... but to a mentally ill human being it's not so cut and dry.
Ultimately it landed in needing more data, immense respect for that type of data driven journalism.
Really love the visuals added as well!
The graphics and web design are very cool, definitely enhancing the story. The Guardian seems to be taking a page from The NY Times recently.
The web design is not intuitive. Why the need to break the browser's most basic functionality of vertical scrolling. The chart "visualizing" the data in 3 stages made me think the page was at the bottom. The animation finished, and then I tried to scroll past, except nothing happened. I had to continue "scrolling" to get the page to not move but have the next stage of animation start. Also, scrolling text over background text just looks confusing
Affordability and skyrocketing rent costs will improve if we work harder to increase the supply of housing near transit points. We need to act on this issue quickly.
In Denmark there is no reason for anyone to be homeless by purely economic reasons, but we still have about 6500 out of a pop. of 5.77M
A city in New Hampshire used federal funds to build low-income housing. Which attracted low-income people. Who disproportionately used city services. Which cost more than the added taxes and federal funds which came with them. So the city bought low-income housing. And tore it down. Which seems analogous to buying bus tickets out of town?
I was surprised and honestly amused to discover that this is real, but that it goes in the other direction, with SF bussing out ~10k homeless people in the last decade. Wow.
With that said, there's some room for subtlety around land-use questions. For instance, land-use regulation can make it very difficult to build a shelter or a mental health treatment center. When the infrastructure to get people off the streets cannot be built, the most vulnerable among us will tend to stay where they are.
Other places will mention this to clients. South Carolina was pretty notorious for giving sick Medicaid patients to northeast states with enhanced Medicaid in the past, for example.
I absolutely loved the graphics, cinemagraphs, and entire experience, and really do think it added immensely to the story itself.
Is there a name for this style of article? Do they use some existing JS library or is it all hand crafted?
Worked perfectly on Firefox Developer Edition / Windows 10. Was smooth and I didn't notice a single issue, FWIW.
I think that's part of the problem.
I'm generally less annoyed by the Guardian site than many, so don't bother with 'Reader View'
Oh the sad irony :(