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Can we declare a "war" on homelessness and redirect some military spending? Maybe instead of another fighter jets, nuclear aircraft carrier, or nuclear missiles, we can help our citizens instead.

I would be a lot happier paying taxes if the spending ratios were reversed.

Why do you think it's a money thing? Major cities already spend a lot of money on homelessness, and the richest cities are often struggling the most. It's not obvious to me that they'll succeed if they just get a bit more funding.

Remember that the most financially cost-effective solution to homelessness is death, and the next most cost-effective solution is exile.

Economics (and math) is only useful to life insofar as its axioms model reality well.

If you put a value on human life and model flux across borders, the metrics look different than purely $ spent for # of homeless present.

Absolutely. It'd be terrible to decide that we won't help the homeless because it's too expensive. What I'm questioning is whether modern homelessness programs could actually solve homelessness if we tossed a bunch more money at them.

Also, remember that in Government-speak, “spending money on Problem” often means: hiring a Administrator Of Problem, having them hire a Deputy Administrator Of Problem, hiring a 20-person staff who will run a Task Force On Problem, then paying all of them $200K+ plus a pension, and the outcome is a PowerPoint presentation on Problem that can be used to justify hiring more Administration Staff For Problem to do more studies.

See Also: where most public school funding goes.

That's because a large portion of homeless people have drug addiction and/or have mental disease. Just giving them a place to stay doesn't cure the root problem.

Most homeless folks do not have drug addictions or serious mental disorders. The majority of them just recently lost jobs or were evicted for not paying rent and live in their car for some time in between shelters and figuring out how to get housing. These transient or temporarily homeless make up the majority of the homeless population (~75%) and can definitely be helped out with temporary housing and other measures.

Chronically homeless folks make up only ~25% of the homeless population and of them less than half have mental illness or addiction issues. So, most chronically homeless people can be helped with housing and other measures.

My point is just that the crazy yelling homeless guy you see on the street in SF is a minority when it comes to the homeless population. You are just much more likely to see him because he is yelling on the street in SF. However, for every crazy homeless guy yelling, there are >5 people living in their cars who just need some temporary help to get back on their feet.

Homeless people, like everybody else, usually have many problems. You can fix their problem of not having a home by giving them a home. Once somebody has an address and a little more stability, your chances of dealing with other issues goes up.

Yeah the issue is that housing them together puts the woman down on her luck next to the guy with a violent drug addiction and then you have to kick him out when he starts attacking people.

So don't house them together.

Oh? Which demographic is deserving of living with violence?

None, of course.

You aren't suggesting that providing housing to the homeless will lead to more violence than when the homeless live on the streets, are you?

No, I'm suggesting that we bear less responsibility for violence experienced by homeless on the streets than the responsibility we would had if we provided housing and forced the homeless to live in them. In the same way the government is not responsible for discord in my relationship with my friends, but would be responsible for discord between me and the police.

>Just giving them a place to stay doesn't cure the root problem. reply

I suspect that this is because the 'place to stay' usually comes with various strings attached. I doubt there are many homeless people who would choose to sleep under a bridge rather than in a bed (though not doubt there are a minority who would).

The strings attached generally ensure the place meets a minimum standard of tolerability. For example, while drug abuse certainly can't be cured at a snap of your fingers, it can't be tolerated in communal housing situations either; any sane person would rather sleep under a bridge than a bed in a crack house.

> It's not obvious to me that they'll succeed if they just get a bit more funding.

So the options are to cut social programs, leave them as they are now, or expand them. Which option would you guess has the best chances of helping more people?

The fourth option, and the one that seems most promising to me, is to laterally shift social programs. Change the way they work in ways that aren't about the amount of money they can spend.

People might be surprised to discover how many of the homeless are veterans of one of the actual wars, possibly with injuries or PTSD.

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