Utah has cut homelessness by 74% in eight years. The radical solution nobody else had thought of turns out to be: let people without homes live in the homes that nobody else is living in. Just let them go in and live there, in the homes. Then they stop being homeless.
Meanwhile in Hawaii, one elected Democrat opted for a stint of ostentatiously destroying homeless people’s property and harassing them while they slept. Normally you’d have your ass sued for something like that. Y’know, if the victims were real people.
Utah’s given us some pretty great data on how to cost-effectively address this problem. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where actually fixing the problem is not everyone’s priority. It’s what everyone says they want, but in practice it often comes below “seeming to fix the problem” or “performing the kinds of actions that will reduce the chance of political opponents being able to hurl reputation-damaging epithets like ‘soft on crime’ at me”.
For instance: Tom Brower, of the above-mentioned sledge-hammer rampage, has demonstrated fuck-all interest in helping the people he represents. (Yes, that even includes the ones with nowhere to live, whether or not they voted for him or are capable of donating to his campaign. If you’re arrogant enough to want to hold political office, you don’t get to choose which people in your district are real people and which can be safely disregarded as trash.)
The only purpose this campaign of harassment served was an attempted PR boost. He obviously doesn’t take such a hands-on approach to the running of his district in all regards. He makes the higher-level decisions and delegates everyday things like garbage collection to professionals in that area. This was a cynical, attention-grabbing, vote-wangling, photo-op of a ploy. It’s cruel and hateful, and shows him to be the kind of bell-end who thinks that such dehumanisation will have mass appeal among his potential voters. His style of political strategising leads him to assume that, when folk see him kicking the least fortunate of his own constituents while they’re down, the majority will be inclined to give him even more power to run things and kick the scum even harder next time.
Tragically, he was right enough about this kind of stuff to have got voted into office at least once.
Bullying homeless people improves nothing for anybody, and it’s hard to imagine how even an asshole like Tom Brower could be dishonest enough with himself to believe that it would. But show me another approach which has reduced homelessness by 74% in eight years, and in which most of the homeless people in question are still alive at the end of it. If you can’t, let’s start giving people homes.