“Housing first” appears not to work
The Cascade Policy Institute
, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research and educational organization that focuses on state and local issues in Oregon has released a report entitled Homelessness in the Portland Region
. Eric Fruits, Ph. D. and Vlad Yurlov contributed to the 23 page report
, which is also available in a condensed executive summary
The authors don't shrink before the task.
After decades of attempts to address homelessness—and unknown, but large, amounts of money spent—the crisis seems to have worsened in many places, especially in Portland, Oregon. Since the mid-1980s the region has launched long-range plans to “end” homelessness. All of the plans failed to reach their goals, for many reasons: insufficient funding, political headwinds, legal barriers, and the seeming intractability of solving the problem.
One of the best parts of the study is the analysis of "Housing First" as a solution.
For more than two decades, the “Housing First” approach has been heralded as the best solution. The approach focuses first on providing housing to individuals and families, then addressing issues that led participants to homelessness and are keeping them from being housed. These “wrap around” services are expensive and require individuals to have the ability and will to fully use them.
While the approach has improved outcomes regarding the transmission of HIV and the survival of those with HIV/AIDS and has had some success in reducing alcohol abuse, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that there is no substantial published evidence to demonstrate improved health outcomes or reduced health care costs. Moreover, there is no evidence that Housing First approaches have had any effect on reducing overall homelessness or the number of unsheltered homeless.
There are solutions being discussed and the report misses them. The first solution is a low-cost, albeit long-term solution. It is deliberately locate housing and services away from temptations and commerce. All too often, the homeless are provided with services which enables the revolving door of recovery -- either from mental illness or from addiction, if there is a meaningful difference between the two. Homeless persons
The second solution is glanced at. The report talks about
the state's involuntary commitment law, which has a very high threshold. To be involuntarily committed, one must be an imminent danger to themselves or others or be unable to care for their basic needs. Efforts to change the law failed under Mayor [Bud] Clark and have failed in recent legislative sessions.
It's becoming clearer and clearer over time that any solution will have to take on addiction, which is a force so powerful that some sort of commitment or incarceration will simply have to be used. This might take the form of using criminal charges and services as pressure to get a homeless person to voluntarily commit themselves and get treatment.
The sad reality is that the failure to address homelessness has a huge human consequence and in a world where so many public budgets are constrained, taxpayers have provided large sums of money that have simply disappeared into the homeless-industrial complex abyss.
|Post Date: 2021-02-07 07:34:04||Last Update: 2021-02-07 09:06:12|