Peachy Keenan has written a really good article in American Mind titled "Pass Tents". She analyzes and explains why the "homeless" crisis is really a drug crisis, particularly crystal meth; shows how much graft is involved in "managing" and "controlling" the "homeless crisis"; and suggests a way forward (which will never be adopted, partly because it's too logical and rational, and partly because it would eliminate the opportunities for graft and corruption in the present system).
Here's her explanation of the graft involved.
The homeless crisis is fake. By fake I mean, it’s an engineered social dysfunction created on purpose to ensure a steady flow of suitcases stuffed with unmarked nonconsecutive bills to City Halls around the country. It is a racket. A money laundering operation, just like the Department of Defense budget, and almost at the same astronomical scale.
Just like the open border, Covid, and inflation, fake crises are never allowed to go to waste.
Los Angeles voted itself $1.2 billion to “address homelessness” in 2019. The number of homeless people, naturally, shot up from 40,000 to close to 70,000 now. Meanwhile, Governor Newsom pledged $4.8 billion to “address” and “confront” homelessness in the state, where over 150,000 homeless live.
But wait, there’s more! As the recall pressed in on him, he announced an additional $12 billion to “confront” homelessness.
He’s addressing it, you guys! He’s confronting it!
Liberal politicians understand that homelessness works. Homelessness is good. The more tents the better. The more lunatics who threaten and harass you with their pants around their ankles, the more likely you are to vote for new taxes and more spending.
You see a filth-encrusted hobo nodding out on a curb, urine running down the sidewalk—our leadership class sees cash.
You see a machete-wielding degenerate with stained pants terrorizing tourists on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—a greasy LA city official sees a new tax, a new program, a big pay raise for himself.
There is a reason that LA’s infamous Skid Row has been allowed to fester and grow for almost 40 years. It now spans dozens of blocks in the downtown shopping district of America’s second largest city. It is mile after mile, block after block, of wasted zomboids shuffling past heaps of putrid trash, drug dealers, and pop-up brothels in Porta-Potties.
It’s a perfect grift, and they don’t care if you know it.
Thanks to the tsunami of money, in 2020 there was a 12.7 percent rise in homelessness, “despite an increase in the number of people rehoused.”
I have no clue what “rehoused” means, but I’m guessing it’s a portmanteau of “deloused” and “re-hosed.”
Meanwhile, Los Angeles mayoral candidates like Kevin De Leon continue to double down on the clown world policy of Housing First.
Placing meth and heroin addicts in shiny new apartments with kitchens to clean, dishwashers to load and unload, beds to make, and trash to take out—what could go wrong?
San Francisco just announced it’s building micro-homes for some lucky addicts.
They had to remove the Port-a-Potties from LA’s skid row a few years ago because they were being used as brothels. Prayers to the poor city employee who has to clean out each micro house when the resident ODs.
There's more at the link.
I think Ms. Keenan doesn't make allowance for the fact that some of the homeless are on the streets because of economic problems, and are not drug addicts. I've met a number of them. However, I'm in no doubt that the majority of the homeless are on the streets because of drug problems and mental health issues, most of the latter being related to the former.
Back in South Africa, in my younger days, I volunteered with a homeless persons' project, using an old church hall to provide overnight accommodation and a hot meal to the needy. It was an eye-opening experience. Most of the homeless with whom we dealt were more than willing to blame anybody and everybody but themselves for their plight. They tried to bring in weapons, alcohol and drugs; got violent if they thought they could intimidate volunteers; and generally "played the system" for all they were worth. For example, some "married couples" who came in for a night's shelter would turn out to be a prostitute and her pimp. She'd turn tricks all night among the homeless men, who'd pay with whatever she would accept (usually drugs). To deal with this, we were forced to segregate accommodation for men and women - only to be accused of "breaking up our marriage" by these serial fornicators, who had no scruples about using the Bible and our Christian faith as a weapon against us. It took a very hard-nosed priest and ongoing instruction and support for the volunteers to prevent such tactics from succeeding.
When I came to this country, for the first couple of years I spent months traveling from city to city, raising funds for the church in Africa. I took the opportunity to look at inner-city conditions, including homelessness, in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New Orleans and other big cities. Not to my surprise, the homeless problem in this country proved to be just as much addiction-related (alcohol and/or drugs) as in South Africa. That was in the '90's, but I understand nothing's changed except the scale of the problem and the ready availability of drugs these days.
The so-called "War On [Some] Drugs" has been a dismal failure. Wikipedia notes:
In 2015, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimated that the United States spends $51 billion annually on these initiatives, and in 2021, after 50 years of the drug war, others have estimated that the US has spent a cumulative $1 trillion on it.
One trillion dollars - yet drugs are more freely available, and cheaper, on American streets today than they've ever been. If it's proved so spectacularly useless, I hear you ask, why are we still funding the War On Drugs? For the answer, see the excerpt from Ms. Keenan's article above. It's entrenched, systematized, politicized, legal bureaucratic graft. Literally hundreds of thousands of Americans, from cops to drug counselors to homelessness bureaucrats to politicians to cronies of all of the above, are taking that money out of taxpayers' pockets and transferring it to their own. We could abandon the War On Drugs tomorrow, deal with the dealers and their addicts through the regular criminal justice system (or just allow them to use more and more until it killed them), and save ourselves a fortune every year. We wouldn't notice much difference on our streets, IMHO.
That would also help deal with our homelessness crisis. By throwing more money at it every year, we're deliberately making it worse. How do you get more of something you want? By subsidizing it - and that's what we're doing to the homeless. How do you get less of something you don't want? By taxing it - which is precisely what we're not doing to the homeless. If they were 'taxed' by having to endure the consequences of their chosen way of life, rather than assistance to live it; if they had to fend for themselves instead of receiving fake bureaucratic sympathy and ever-increasing handouts; then a great many of them would vanish from our streets overnight. Yes, some of them - the hopelessly addicted - would die. They're going to die anyway, no matter how many programs we launch for them. There is no hope for them. That's reality - a reality I've seen personally on African and American streets. All that palliative programs are doing for them is postponing the inevitable, at our expense. The funds thus wasted could pay for a great many programs to help those for whom there is still some hope of improvement.
By all means, create exceptions for those in genuine need, those on the streets through economic hardship; but let them be thoroughly vetted, to make sure that's why they're there. There's no room for touchy-feely moonbattery here. It's got to be rooted in and founded on reality, and hard-nosed administrators have got to insist on that - otherwise it'll inevitably degenerate into the same sort of nonsense we have today.
I highly recommend reading the whole of Ms. Keenan's article. It's revealing, frustrating, and very true.