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The US has 500,000 homeless people. Let's say it would cost about $1,500 per month to provide them with basic lodging and basic needs. That's $9 billion per year, or about $30 per citizen.

As a comparison: The F-35 fighter program is expected to cost $1.5 trillion over 55 years. That's $27 billion per year, or about three times as much as it would cost to fix homelessness.

Let's compare with what you're advocating, which appears to be the status quo. The existence of homeless people (not all of whom are drug addicts, by the way) shows that drug criminalisation doesn't work.

Homeless people don't need more suffering to finally get their act together. Life on the streets is plenty uncomfortable and dangerous, and nobody operating according to your simplistic model of sticks & carrots would chose it.

Further criminalising behaviour you don't like such as being badly dressed or prone to shouting random, schizophrenia-induced nonsense seems not just heartless, but rather close to dividing society into your kind and "subhumans" to be exterminated. Because if you don't think they deserve food or shelter, and you want to drive them out of cities (and, presumably, towns) where are they supposed to go? I want to be as charitable as possible here, but "push[ing] people out of the public sphere" seems to be a euphemism to bus them into the desert and not watch them die.

Being slightly annoyed by homeless people is also the least you can do if you actually believe in the "public sphere" as a community of citizens, and not just the place to get cheap takeout. If others' suffering cuts into your bliss, either through its annoying smells and sounds or because there are remnants of empathy in play, that should be motivation to solve the problem. There are many countries poorer than the US that have far smaller homeless populations, so it is entirely possible.




You have some good points, but please edit out the parts of your comments which are crossing into ideological flamewar and even personal attack For example, this bit breaks the site guidelines:

> close to dividing society into your kind and "subhumans" to be exterminated

As does this bit from another post:

> why you seem to be indulging in such fascist revenge fantasies

It's not ok to argue like this on HN, regardless of how right you are or feel, or how wrong someone else is. If you wouldn't mind reviewing the site guidelines and commenting more in the spirit of this site, we'd appreciate it.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


> Let's say it would cost about $1,500 per month to provide them with basic lodging and basic needs.

You can say that, but it's very, very incorrect. Seattle spends $1 billion on services, clean up, housing, and etc. for a homeless population of 12,000.

https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2017/11/16/price-of...


Then they're doing something wrong, because that comes out to $83k per person, which is much higher than the average yearly salary for Americans.

They'd do better just giving these people $1500/month to live on, along with some counseling services to get them reintegrated into society.


It's because we as a nation are obsessed with providing complicated services that attempt to address people's problems as something that can be "cured" rather than just go ahead and pay the price to meet their basic needs.

Every place that has had significant success in combating homelessness has done what you say. They've payed less attention to the "social ill" side of the token and have just put people in houses.


It's basically the keynesian hole digging problem. The real solution to the problem is not politically acceptable. Therefore we have to do mental gymnastics to make it palatable to the public. The end result is a completely inadequate solution that doesn't solve the problem sufficiently but is good enough to make people become indifferent to the problem.


A lot of this population can’t be stabilized at poverty line costs. Mental health treatment, rehab and life skills training, are costly. In addition housing can’t be provided at market rate due to property damage costs and risks.


It needs to be paired with housing. If you got shitty credit no one cares if you get 1500 bucks a month, they are going to deny you in this city, period. I know first hand.


Yet it's only slightly above the average salary in Seattle. Average rent here is $2000/month. It's rare to find even a studio below $1000.

It's just not feasible for anyone to live in this city on only $1500/month, even if they don't require any social services.


Many of the homeless have mental health issues and that requires a costly support support structure. Also cities are just downright inefficient in spending money. Just look at any infrastructure project in recent years.


Who gets that $1500? How do they receive it? Bank account? Cash? What stipulations come with that money? Do they get it in perpetuity?


$9 billion per year does sound like a bargain to fix homelessness, but I think it's unfortunately a lot more complicated than that. The poverty line for a single person in the US in 2019 is $12,490 per year, and there are roughly 40 million living in poverty (25 million adults and 15 million children). You'd be offering all these people (and more who are just above the line) a significant increase in income if they call themselves homeless. While it might still be a good idea to do this, you are now looking at numbers closer to $0.5-1 trillion, so it's a very different discussion.


> The US has 500,000 homeless people. Let's say it would cost about $1,500 per month to provide them with basic lodging and basic needs.

What happens if you do that and next year discover that now you have 1,000,000 homeless people?

You're responsible for all of the consequences of a program, even the unintended ones. The line between "supporting" and "enabling" is very fine and hard to navigate. It's difficult to help people on the bottom while avoiding incentivizing people to stay on the bottom.


Aka Welfare traps, a big issue with all the current means-tested programs.




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