The Homeless Are A Danger To Themselves And To The Rest Of Us

The once beautiful streets of San Francisco are now littered with needles and human waste. The homeless commit crimes to support various drug habits. Diseases that we have not seen in America for decades are appearing in the community. Who knows how the coronavirus will impact these people. The city does not seem to be able to deal with the problem. Where do you start?

On Tuesday The City Journal posted an article about the homelessness problem. The article reminds us that new data undermines the idea that homelessness is the result of high rents and lack of economic opportunity.

The article reports:

But new data are undermining this narrative. As residents of West Coast cities witness the disorder associated with homeless encampments, they have found it harder to accept the progressive consensus—especially in the context of the coronavirus epidemic, which has all Americans worried about contagion. An emerging body of evidence confirms what people see plainly on the streets: homelessness is deeply connected to addiction, mental illness, and crime.

Homeless advocates argue that substance abuse is a small contributor to the problem, and that no more than 20 percent of the homeless population abuses drugs. Last year, when I suggested that homelessness is primarily an addiction crisis—citing Seattle and King County data that suggested half of homeless individuals suffered from opioid addiction—activists denounced me on social media and wrote letters to the editor demanding a retraction. But according to a recent Los Angeles Times investigation, 46 percent of the homeless and 75 percent of the unsheltered homeless have a substance-abuse disorder—more than three times higher than official estimates from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

In the interest of preventing “stigmatization,” progressives downplay the connection between schizophrenia, severe bipolar disorder, and homelessness. In general, cities have claimed that roughly 25 percent to 39 percent of the homeless suffer from mental-health disorders. As new data from the California Policy Lab show, it’s likely that 50 percent of the homeless and 78 percent of the unsheltered homeless have a serious mental health condition. For residents of cities like San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, this should come as no surprise. The people smashing up property and yelling in the streets are clearly suffering from mental illness. The numbers confirm the ground-level reality.

The article concludes:

Residents in the most progressive enclaves of West Coast cities have quietly begun to demand policy changes to address the obvious causes of the homelessness crisis. In San Francisco, city leaders have launched a new initiative to focus on the 4,000 individuals who suffer from the “perilous trifecta” of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness. Mayor London Breed has spoken frankly about the human causes of homelessness, and Anton Nigusse Bland, a physician and director of mental health reform for the city, has pledged to “develop a strategic approach to mental health and substance use services for people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco.”

This is a small but promising step. Especially now, with the threat of an infectious disease becoming a national crisis, it is imperative that city leaders come to grips with the dangers of letting people live in encampments that lack even rudimentary sanitation. We can only hope that this new awareness extends to other cities. For now, more than 100,000 people in California, Oregon, and Washington continue to languish in the streets.

Rhode Island has put in place a program that has been successful in dealing with the problem of homelessness. The problem includes counseling, drug rehabilitation, reintegration into the community and reintegration into family units. The program is a public-private partnership that has been successful in getting many of the homeless reintegrated into society. Similar programs need to be instituted on the west coast. It is a disgrace that America has not done more to help those among us living on the street. Throwing money at the problem or ignoring it is not the answer. It takes a commitment to helping the homeless deal with the mental problems that have resulted in their living on the street.

An Interesting Perspective On Homelessness

Christopher F. Rufo posted an article in The City Journal about the homelessness that has become so prevalent on the west coast of America. The title of the article is, “An Addiction Crisis Disguised as a Housing Crisis.” Please follow the link above to read the entire article; it is very insightful.

The article states:

By latest count, some 109,089 men and women are sleeping on the streets of major cities in California, Oregon, and Washington. The homelessness crisis in these cities has generated headlines and speculation about “root causes.” Progressive political activists allege that tech companies have inflated housing costs and forced middle-class people onto the streets. Declaring that “no two people living on Skid Row . . . ended up there for the same reasons,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, for his part, blames a housing shortage, stagnant wages, cuts to mental health services, domestic and sexual abuse, shortcomings in criminal justice, and a lack of resources for veterans. These factors may all have played a role, but the most pervasive cause of West Coast homelessness is clear: heroin, fentanyl, and synthetic opioids.

Homelessness is an addiction crisis disguised as a housing crisis. In Seattle, prosecutors and law enforcement recently estimated that the majority of the region’s homeless population is hooked on opioids, including heroin and fentanyl. If this figure holds constant throughout the West Coast, then at least 11,000 homeless opioid addicts live in Washington, 7,000 live in Oregon, and 65,000 live in California (concentrated mostly in San Francisco and Los Angeles). For the unsheltered population inhabiting tents, cars, and RVs, the opioid-addiction percentages are even higher—the City of Seattle’s homeless-outreach team estimates that 80 percent of the unsheltered population has a substance-abuse disorder. Officers must clean up used needles in almost all the homeless encampments.

The article reminds us that drug-dealing is a lucrative industry for the cartels:

For drug cartels and low-level street dealers, the business of supplying homeless addicts with heroin, fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids is extremely lucrative. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the average heavy-opioid user consumes $1,834 in drugs per month. Holding rates constant, we can project that the total business of supplying heroin and other opioids to the West Coast’s homeless population is more than $1.8 billion per year. In effect, Mexican cartels, Chinese fentanyl suppliers, and local criminal networks profit off the misery of the homeless and offload the consequences onto local governments struggling to get people off the streets.

The article concludes:

No matter how much local governments pour into affordable-housing projects, homeless opioid addicts—nearly all unemployed—will never be able to afford the rent in expensive West Coast cities. The first step in solving these intractable issues is to address the real problem: addiction is the common denominator for most of the homeless and must be confronted honestly if we have any hope of solving it.

Part of the problem here is that some cities and states are moving toward legalizing recreational drug use. Obviously not all of that drug use will lead to further problems, but a percentage of it will–adding to the homeless problem. The other problem is that treating a drug addict will not be successful unless the addict desires to be free of drugs. You can lock up an addict until he is clean, but there are no guarantees that he will stay clean once he is out on the street again.

 

This Is Simply Harassment

Anyone who celebrates the Congressional search for any smidgen of dirt on Donald Trump might want to consider that if this continues, it could happen to any President or any citizen. The two-plus year witch hunt needs to end, and those responsible need to be held accountable. The latter seems to be about to happen. The former has no end in sight.

On Tuesday The City Journal posted an article about Congress’ demand for President Trump’s tax returns (including years he was not in office). This is harassment. However, you only have to look at the events of the past week or so to find out what is actually going on–the quest for tax returns is simply a bright shiny object put in front of the American public to divert from the news that John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, will be investigating the origins of the surveillance on the Trump campaign and transition team.

The article points out:

Disappointed by Robert Mueller’s failure to demonstrate President Trump’s perfidy, Democrats are focusing anew on the president’s tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is refusing to order the release of Trump’s federal returns to the House, saying that there is no legislative purpose for doing so, but a new effort to expose Trump’s tax history runs through Albany, where Democrats in 2018 gained solid control of the state senate for the first time in decades. Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign a bill making its way through the legislature that would submit any New Yorker’s state tax returns to Congress, on request from the chairs of any of three revenue-related committees.

The excitement among Democrats is palpable. “We are facing a constitutional showdown,” says State Senator Brad Hoylman, the legislation’s sponsor. “New York, as the home of the president’s state taxes, has a special responsibility to step into the breach.” Assemblywoman Pat Fahy concurs, saying that “we can help hold the president accountable and we will set future precedents for all elected officials, that neither you as a president nor your business interests are above the law.”

Is anyone going to want to run for office under these ‘new’ rules?

The article concludes:

It’s likely that Trump’s pursuers don’t expect to find smoking guns in Trump’s tax returns. Decades in public life, including multiple infamous bankruptcies, have produced no hint of major scandal or criminality. So why should we expect his tax returns—already submitted to the government and scrutinized by forensic professionals with power to arrest—to reveal anything shocking?

Those demanding Trump’s tax returns probably just want to embarrass him by proving old rumors that he isn’t as rich as he pretends to be. For all this effort, though, that would be a weak payoff—especially since the people likely to care about such revelations aren’t Trump voters, anyway.

This is what desperation looks like.

Leadership Matters

Yesterday The City Journal posted an article which contained the following statement from New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio:

the “way our legal system is structured to favor private property” provokes his “anger, which is visceral.” The mayor elaborated on this point, insisting that “people all over this city, of every background, would like to have the city government be able to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be.”

Wow. Private property is one of the foundations of our Representative Republic.

In December 2010, I posted an article showing the relationship between private property ownership and the lack of poverty in a country. The article was based on a Townhall article by John Stossel.

The article stated:

”To get an address, somebody’s got to recognize that that’s where you live. That means … you’ve a got mailing address. … When you make a deal with someone, you can be identified. But until property is defined by law, people can’t … specialize and create wealth. The day they get title (is) the day that the businesses in their homes, the sewing machines, the cotton gins, the car repair shop finally gets recognized. They can start expanding.”

“That’s the road to prosperity. But first they need to be recognized by someone in local authority who says, “This is yours.” They need the rule of law. But many places in the developing world barely have law. So enterprising people take a risk. They work a deal with the guy on the first floor, and they build their house on the second floor.”

What Mayor DeBlasio is suggesting is communism or socialism. Historically, neither has been proven to work.

The article in The City Journal concludes:

De Blasio insists that New Yorkers fervently want to have a powerful government that gets involved in the minutest details of how they organize their lives. Based on their voting behavior, he may be right. But New Yorkers are also obstreperous, entrepreneurial, and small-d democratic; they typically reserve a Bronx cheer for authorities who dare to tell them what to do. De Blasio has now come out explicitly as a central planner whose politics sound frankly Bolshevik. We’ve been warned.

Benjamin Franklin replied when asked what the Constitutional Convention had created, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” Obviously, not everyone wants to keep it.