However, I still think we're in pretty dire straits:
> The report finds, in 2018, that 61% of adults would cover a $400 unexpected expense using cash (or its equivalent). Politicians and many in the media seem to be subtracting 61 from 100, and concluding that 39% of people, to use Warren’s phrase, “can’t come up with” the money they’d need to handle this situation.
> Instead, as the Fed report makes clear, though “the remaining 4 in 10 adults” “would have more difficulty covering such an expense,” many of them would be able to make it work by carrying a credit card balance or borrowing from friends and family."
That's still really bad. 39% of people can't cover an unexpected $400 expense without borrowing money from someone else, or effectively taking out a loan at 20%+ interest.
And the 12-14% figure for people who actually would be unable to come up with that $400 via any means is also troubling.
I guess the key question is, does the other 39% not have liquid assets to cover it and thus have to take on debt, or would they choose to cover it for other reasons? I have $400 in the bank but would likely put it on a credit card because I don't like carrying that much cash nor using my debit card (to reduce risk of it being leaked). So would I be in the 39% or the 61%?
Important to note that it’s often a funnel, homelessness -> addiction, so you have to work on both sides.
I don’t have the perfect solution, nobody seems to, but Seattle and a few other cities seem to be going down the wrong path with vigor.
Probably lots of room to cut costs too.
We can discuss this with no implication that there's a static amount of soda consumption in the world, or that people want to be obese from consuming it. We understand life is a series of choices, "when to consume sugary drinks" makes up some of them, and that by disincentivizing that choice, people are more likely to choose a different beverage.
Nobody "chooses" homelessness, but like anything else, becoming / staying homeless often is the result of numerous choices, some of which are easier than others for various reasons. When you artificially remove bad consequences from some of those choices, it is not surprising that those choices are made more often.
> Nobody "chooses" homelessness, but like anything else, becoming / staying homeless often is the result of numerous choices, some of which are easier than others for various reasons. When you artificially remove bad consequences from some of those choices, it is not surprising that those choices are made more often.
Consuming soda is just one way people can become obese. The problem is obesity. If you are an obese person, you may not really be able to "just stop" being obese, but if policy leads to people choosing healthier beverages, it helps fight obesity.
...and the opposite is true, too. It would not be difficult to imagine what might happen if we subsidized soda until it was free, for example. Except we probably wouldn't have advocates claiming that because nobody wants to be obese, the incentives can't possibly be affecting the increase in soda consumption.
The issue with drugs (as opposed to soda) is that the illegality in itself a lot of times tends to make people homeless by heavily limiting their hosing/employment/etc. perspectives. De-incentivizing drug consumption by heavily taxing them and making the proceeds go towards rehabilitation for addicts and helping those people get on their feet and find employment? I am with you on that. But I cannot really support, in good conscience, punishing drug users to the point where they are pushed to become homeless.
To a large extent I agree with your point here, but these cities are well beyond simply not punishing drug users.
Mobile safe injection sites, needle exchange programs, cash handouts, unfettered defecation in streets, naloxone handouts, lack of enforcement of petty crimes like vehicle break-ins and theft. There are plenty of policy decisions being made here that affect the choices people make, and none of that even touches on actually enforcing drug laws.
Moral and financial cases can be made for any of the above, and we can debate that, but to me it's really drinking the Kool-Aid to claim these don't encourage homelessness. They certainly make it easier to make bad decisions that can start or keep you on the track of homelessness.
This does seem to be a topic that is (for whatever reason) very difficult to have a straightforward conversation about.
There was a talk by a finance minister from singapore who was asked about his country's social safety net, and he replied to the effect of: we don't have a net, we have a trampoline.
Enforcing vagrancy laws might.
Adding support for an activity provides extrinsic motivation for doing something.
Basically, cities get what they pay for. If you pay for homelessness you get it.
That said, I'm not saying we shouldn't help people, but that we should make sure that whatever support we provides guides people towards self sufficiency and not dependence.
“The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber, ... To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America.” – FDR 1935
Therefore, ppl who would otherwise being in jail for crimes are living on the streets.
There was a documentary about this done by a local Seattle TV station. I don't know how reliable it is, but at the end it actually gave fairly humanitarian and progressive solution to the problem, despite spending most of the show arguing lax and progressive policing attitudes created the problem to begin with 
 by, a criminal being more likely to become homeless, or by desperation driving the homeless to crime
 Their proposed solution, inspired by a program in RI (? maybe ME), is to treat drug addiction as a disease to be treated by having effective programs.
One approach includes both reward / consequence. In this model, things like theft, various forms of violence particularly in shelter or public housing violence, even taking over extremely large areas of public space (ie, 3-4 tents plus dogs plus...) results in consequences, while avoiding issues along the above lines results in rewards (ie, eligibility for service or additional service). In addition, these approaches tend to also consider impact on the non-homeless (ie, prison time linked arguably with a reduced risk of property crime)
Other models are focused primarily on making life as bearable as possible for the homeless - basically the straight service model. Under this model, resources are provided and consequences are reduced in the event to solve homelessness.
Some folks going through the tougher love systems (ie, jail vs rehab etc) say good things, other folks ask how can homelessness be criminalized and focus primarily on reducing risk of govt involvement (this can also save money in some cases - prison is expensive, rehab is expensive etc).
While I can't speak to the truth of the belief that people are actively moving to Seattle, I can say that there's little incentive for someone to follow basic property or drug laws in this city.
EDIT: To your point on how this differs from "Homeless people are lazy" I guess the idea is that we've created a situation where there are even more factors pushing homeless individuals to the streets and suburbs of Seattle, that Seattle has made homelessness more attractive in a sense.
Again, I find this logic to be extremely confusing. How related is "car camping" to Seattle's homeless? Is there some implication that the majority of them have cars they sleep in? Or am I missing something there?
As for the incentive to follow basic property or drug laws, again, how does that encourage homelessness? I could understand if you argued it encourages crime, but why homelessness?
The only remaining argument is basically "this encourages already homeless people to move to Seattle", which I can see being a problem, but of a different kind. It shares certain aspects with the immigration-related problems: in both cases, it's an effect of a deeper underlying problem that acts as a root cause and should be solved.
Car camping is intended to be as shown at ; no more than a few days, tidy, and not overflowing with garbage and sewage. These campers are here to do pre-game tailgate parties for the nearby stadium.
However, largely because Seattle doesn't enforce limits on car camping, that same street will soon look like . This is a small permanent homeless camp that will remain at this location for months. The trash pile across the street will grow and attract vermin. Eventually, after weeks of health issues, sometimes fires and other illegality, the city will do a 'sweep'.
These sweeps are problematic on their own, since it is obviously dehumanizing to chase people out of their homes. They're also depressingly impermanent. The  location had been recently swept before the Google car came through. It already looks like .
This brings us back to CodeMage's first question:
> At a first glance, it looks like a passive aggressive implication that homeless people, if they just tried harder, wouldn't be homeless.
This is effectively what you're arguing. That homeless people just need to try harder. Or you're arguing that you don't care if they're homeless as long as they're not near you.
In Seattle, there are a lot of people living in tents, cars, and temporarily-parked RVs. They all get lumped under "homeless" because they don't have permanent addresses or access to municipal services.
> The only remaining argument is basically "this encourages already homeless people to move to Seattle", which I can see being a problem, but of a different kind.
It's really hard to get good data on this, but, yes, there is a widely shared belief that Seattle gets more than it's "fair share" of the country's homeless epidemic because we have a lot of compassionate people, services, and, increasingly, lax law enforcement. Talk to any local and they'll tell you anecdotes about other counties or even states buying people one-way bus tickets to Seattle so that it's not their problem any more. It's hard to tell how much of that is urban legend.
Okay sure, but the data we have indicates that it's not true, and yet people like yourself insist that it is. In a world where my options are to a) make my best guess based on imperfect data, or b) make something up that fits my worldview, it seems like the correct thing to do would be a, but you're going with b.
> states buying people one-way bus tickets to Seattle so that it's not their problem any more
Ironically, this is effectively the approach people in this thread are arguing for, except without the bus ticket.
I absolutely did not. Did you read my comment carefully?
> Ironically, this is effectively the approach people in this thread are arguing for, except without the bus ticket.
Another irony: you're lumping all homeless people — criminals and victims — into the same bucket, which is the criticism many homeless advocates have of "NIMBYs". What I think many people in this thread are saying is that repeated offending criminals should be locked up. Some of those people happen to be homeless, but I don't see comments in this thread arguing that non-criminal homeless people should be discarded.
Shouldn't the city do something to dispel that perception, y'know, such as enforcement of vagrancy laws?
I'm pretty sure it's better for society overall for the homeless population to be widely distributed than concentrated in one place.
> would try harder to [...] move to another location.
I'm sorry, but this makes no sense to me. The best data we have indicates that most homeless people are from the area, so I don't think there's any evidence to support the idea that people are moving here from elsewhere.
The idea that homelessness is "attractive" is even more absurd. Do you seriously believe that if we just criminalized people a bit more, they'd simply stop choosing to be homeless?
You seem to be arguing for criminalising poverty. That's going to work just as well as criminalising stupidity, short-sightedness, death, or losing your car keys.
The only solution is exactly the kind of thing this article is talking about. Providing consoling / rehab services and helping people turn their lives around one by one. There is no blanket solution.