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> more sensible systems

Can you give me an example of one of these systems?

Salt Lake City had that policy for a while, but funding is running out.


> what about all of the working poor who are doing the right thing, but still have to pay half of their income in rent?

I thought that the claim was that everybody got free housing to correct for perverse incentive structures. The SLC program required homelessness and disability- thus having a perverse incentive structure.

I can see now that I misread the context- specifically referring to ER abusers- which makes this a very good example.

I am the one who posted the comment you quoted.

I'm not sure if you're agreeing or disagreeing with me. But I had heard of the Salt lake City program years ago, and expressed doubts about it online (unsurprisingly my opinions were not very popular).

While I hope it works out, there are always externalities to doing the right thing (and housing homeless definitely is the right thing).

Residents hate living in buildings with homeless neighbours. As sympathetic as we should be, once paying tenants start finding needles in bushes or drunkards stumbling around at night, they are not so enthused. There is a degree of hypocrisy in that the liberals who want to house-first are seldom the ones who want to house-next door.

Second, municipalities that offer generous support for homeless may end up with a greater homeless population because of immigration. There isn't much of a solution for this so long as homelessness is tackled on a local basis.

Social housing in the rest of the developed world? It’s more or less the norm relative to the US’ punitive deprivation.

Theoretically in the UK local councils have an obligation to house anyone who has a "demonstrated connection with the area". There is also a "housing benefit" system which pays rent for those who cannot afford it.

I say "theoretically" because it doesn't entirely work and there are still a gradually increasing number of rough sleepers, but it does at least keep children from living on the street.


> In 2015 there were 4.8 million families in receipt of Housing Benefit. Most families –2.7 million – claiming Housing Benefit are workless and living in the social rented sector (this includes pensioner recipients). Some 1 million were workless and living in the private rented sector. The remaining 1.1 million were in working families, half in private rented and half in social rented housing.

The UK has been testing the reverse strategy to that described in the article. As well as the forty year war on public housing [1], the last decade has seen cuts to safety nets, social services, social care for the elderly and other 'soft' forms of care. The burden inevitably falls on the emergency services and the NHS and this is not only an ineffective way of caring for people but also, as the article notes, a very expensive way to fail.

[1] https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n01/james-meek/where-will-we-live

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