Boston and the Homeless

donkeybutlers

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It is a proven fact that the vast majority of people you see living on the streets under those conditions made not one, but many poor lifestyle choices before ending up in their predicament. If you don't believe me, you can google it, or perhaps you can go down to Mass & Cass and do a survey. I don't have to read your links because I know first hand, that all the housing, money, love, caring, prayers, pleading, food and any other righteous thing you can think of doesn't do a damn bit of good unless you treat the underlying problem. You can OD, drink yourself to death, commit suicide or get murdered just as easily in the confines of your own home as out on the streets.
You have not provided a single shred of evidence for your claim, you simply blame people for their circumstances. Not everything is individual responsibility and studies of why the homeless are homeless show that is generally caused by something going wrong and things spiraling out of control, usually involving debt. Its no joke that many people end up homeless because of the inability to pay a single bill and getting trapped in an exploitative debt cycle. And when the actual evidence contradicts you, you simply double down talking out of your ass. "I don't have to read your links because I know first hand" shows how uninterested you are in anything except blaming the homeless for their circumstances. You can stick your fingers in your ears and go lalala all you want but you wont be convincing anyone else with that. Your anecdotes do not actually counter scientific studies.

And sure bad things can happen to you in your own home but you really are going to say that those things are equally likely? You are way more vulnerable to anyone who may want to attack you if you cannot even close a door between yourself and them (homeless people are victims of much higher degrees of violence in general), You are much more likely to OD or die from an OD when you are exposed to the elements (this is also why safe injection sites demonstrably save lives). You very clearly have no idea what you are talking about, especially what its actually like to be homeless, and you would much rather simply assume everyone on the streets is there for their own failings than grapple with the fact that a system that benefits you clearly is failing many others. And beyond that there is simply no indication that not providing homes means that people will get the care you claim to support but only seem to be bringing up to deny other forms of care, if anything it makes it less likely (as studies routinely show).

Even if housing people does not address underlying drug problems, mental health struggles etc (and again there is considerable evidence that it does go a long way to addressing those, or at very least making them possible to address) you don't have to deal with those things on the street. You clearly believe the poor should suffer, and you justify it with nonsense about personal responsibility, however society has collective responsibilities as well, including to minimize suffering, and we very much can minimize suffering here. There are strategies (housing everyone without condition) that are proven to work, your rejection of them shows where your true interests lie no matter how much you try to dress up your disdain as humanitarian.
 
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PT1987

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Please show me where I stated that I didn't want these people being provided with housing/shelter? My true interest lies in actually trying to give these people hope, a future and a chance to rejoin society instead of just shoveling them off into housing so that we can feel better about our new cleaned up neighborhoods. If anything, I'm the one who truly cares about their predicament and am not just satisfied with them being out of site and out of mind. Again, I am not talking about the family living out of a car because their dad/mom lost their job, or a woman bouncing around shelters due to an abusive situation, or a family or person that just flat out can't afford housing.
 

MrDee12345

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If you look at this link, you'll see that the US does not have a very high homeless population compared to much of the world


I realize that there are a lot of poor, war-torn countries that have high numbers of homeless, but we're still below industrial nations like France, Israel, UK and Australia. So I'd argue our problems aren't as bad as they may seem on the surfaces.

However, my hypothesis as to why it seems so bad is because homeless people are generally going to congregate in dense, walkable areas with good transit and lots of services. That's why LA, SF, NYC, Boston et al all seem to have high populations of homeless people. Simply put, if you were homeless in Billerica, would you really hang around Billerica? No, because you'd have no place to pan handle, get services or move from one place to another. So you save what money you have and go to Boston.

In countries with denser small towns, being homeless is actually feasible in smaller towns because of the concentration of businesses in central business districts. What happens is the homelessness is spread out more and less concentrated in a few large cities.

Combine my above theory with the fact that there are some cities that give bus tickets to homeless people to other cities across the country and a lack of homeless shelters in some places.
 

stefal

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donkeybutlers

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You really like to repeat the same nonsense after it is refuted don't you?

Again: Even if housing people does not address underlying drug problems, mental health struggles etc (and again there is considerable evidence that it does go a long way to addressing those, or at very least making them possible to address) you don't have to deal with those things on the street.

If anything, I'm the one who truly cares about their predicament and am not just satisfied with them being out of site and out of mind.
Providing homeless people with homes is not simply saying "out of sight out of mind, it is addressing a problem that makes all their other problems, if they have them, worse. Providing housing first is very literally is what you are arguing against, so whatever other services you may claim to support seem to be more of a crutch to pretend to care while advocating to keep people homeless.
 

Sprngh2o

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The closing of mental health facilities didn’t help.1990 or there about.
 

jbray

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You really like to repeat the same nonsense after it is refuted don't you?

Again: Even if housing people does not address underlying drug problems, mental health struggles etc (and again there is considerable evidence that it does go a long way to addressing those, or at very least making them possible to address) you don't have to deal with those things on the street.

Providing homeless people with homes is not simply saying "out of sight out of mind, it is addressing a problem that makes all their other problems, if they have them, worse. Providing housing first is very literally is what you are arguing against, so whatever other services you may claim to support seem to be more of a crutch to pretend to care while advocating to keep people homeless.
Let it go donkeybutlers. All we needed was:
I don't have to read your links because I know first hand, that all the housing, money, love, caring, prayers, pleading, food and any other righteous thing you can think of doesn't do a damn bit of good unless you treat the underlying problem. You can OD, drink yourself to death, commit suicide or get murdered just as easily in the confines of your own home as out on the streets.
To see how poor their underlying logic of "previous anecdotes > updated data" is. Do yourself a favor, don't waste your time with the user.
 

Arlington

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@PT1987 , It is not a proven fact that the homeless / poor are there because they chose badly
It is at best controversial, and more likely flat wrong, given a whole body of evidence that they chose badly because they were homeless/poor--and that any of us would if we were similarly deprived. We really would.

You should read @donkeybutlers links. They correctly describe this solution.

In the alternative, try either of these two mental experiments:
1) If you were an employer, would you interview the applicant who had no fixed address and smelled bad?
2) If you were homeless, picture your hygiene, your clothes, your sleep-deprived mental state, and then describe where and how you'd apply for benefits or work

Housing first works because it returns people to a state in which they can resume thinking about their longer term.
 

bigpicture7

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First and foremost, +1 to the housing first approach discussed above.

I can't help but feel it's constructive to point out, though, that donkeybutlers' and PT1987's exchange is scriptedly representative of some prevalent conversational dysfunctions in our polarized/ideologized present era: for instance, all of the following phrases trigger people to jump to judgements and stop genuinely reading/listening: "personal responsibility"; "housing is a human right"; "lifestyle choices" (and I'm sure others, above)

When we use terms like these: whether we like it or not and whether it's fair or not, we are potentially short-circuiting productive dialogue. I am pretty sure, for instance, that advocates aren't aiming to change the minds of people who already feel the same way as them about any of the above phrases.

"personal responsibility": weaponized by conservatives causing liberals to react as if the concept of "personal responsibility" is a bad thing. The real liberal argument is that there are legitimate, structural barriers that thwart making such a lofty concept equally fulfillable by everyone....not that the world would be better if no one took "personal responsibility." Yet, people get triggered by this phrase and react as if "personal responsibility" is not a noble aspiration...and opponents of structural change are gleeful because the conversation gets steered away from the need for structural change.

"housing is a human right": if we changed that to "having a [home / shelter / dwelling] is a basic right," we could have a productive conversation. Instead, "housing" triggers pushback because it's the same word that high-end/luxury developers use to make the case that what they're doing contributes to solving a metro-wide housing shortfall. Etc., etc.

If you really care about changing hearts and minds, avoid the indulgence of towing your ideological side's buzzwords.
 

Arlington

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+1, @bigpicture7

See also: Great Ezra Klein column on the Progressive need to revisit "Supply Side" solutions to housing (encouraging production, not just facilitating/entitling demand-side)

Core thesis:
But progressives are often uninterested in the creation of the goods and services they want everyone to have. This creates a problem and misses an opportunity. The problem is that if you subsidize the cost of something that there isn’t enough of, you’ll raise prices or force rationing. You can see the poisoned fruit of those mistakes in higher education and housing. But it also misses the opportunity to pull the technologies of the future progressives want into the present they inhabit. That requires a movement that takes innovation as seriously as it takes affordability.
 

PT1987

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For the 10th time, please show me where I said that homeless people don't deserve to be sheltered; you either can't read or are putting words in my mouth. My point all along is that if you give housing to someone who is severely addicted, or has severe mental illness that you may see around places like Mass & Cass or Kensington Ave in Philly, which makes Mass & Cass look like Rodeo Drive, without giving them counseling and/or treatment, they have practically zero chance of overcoming their illness, rejoining society or having a happy ending. I have known way too many people over the years who were on the streets, taken back by their loving families over and over, had their drug debts paid off, given every opportunity in the world to succeed and yet every one of them now is either dead, incarcerated or has completely fallen off of the face of the earth. Just shuffling these folks into housing is simply sweeping the real problem under the carpet. Lastly, I find it ironic and quite comical that someone who appears to be such an advocate for the homeless is getting all worked up because I'm suggesting that the government actually step up their efforts in terms of providing more services and treatment programs which would give these poor souls the hope and help they truly need.
 
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donkeybutlers

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For the 10th time, please show me where I said that homeless people don't deserve to be sheltered; you either can't read or are putting words in my mouth. My point all along is that if you give housing to someone who is severely addicted, or has severe mental illness that you may see around places like Mass & Cass or Kensington Ave in Philly, which makes Mass & Cass look like Rodeo Drive, without giving them counseling and/or treatment, they have practically zero chance of overcoming their illness and rejoining society. I have known way too many people over they years who were on the streets, taken back by their loving families over and over, had their drug debts paid off, given every opportunity in the world to to succeed and yet every one of them now is either dead, incarcerated or has completely fallen off of the face of the earth. Shuffling these folks into housing is simply sweeping the real problem under the carpet.
You have a moralistic and fatalistic view of drug use that you only seem to apply to poor people and it clouds your judgement. There is significant research that housing first actually does make it much more likely to "rejoin society" and address other issues they have. I provided some of it for you, you refused to look. If you want to be deliberately ignorant at least stop talking.

I absolutely do not advocate that housing is the only service that should be available. I believe that access to all basic needs (including healthcare) should be decommodified and there should be a genuine and robust safety net that doesn't let so many people fall though the cracks. Advocating against providing immediate housing only gets people further away from the services you claim to support. Housing first says housing first not housing only.
 
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PT1987

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For the 11th time, AGAIN, please show me where I ever said anything about people not deserving immediate housing. Until you can site one example, you are arguing with a ghost. Furthermore, who said anything about rich vs poor people, I know plenty of rich people that have ended up on the streets with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Substance abuse and mental health issues effect everyone but yeah, generally speaking, most people living in a cardboard box that we're talking about trying to help here don't have a lot of money. Personally, I'm a lot more inclined to prioritize help for the poor guy in rags, whose passed out on the curb with gangrene in his arm from drug use than I am some movie star billionaire with a cocaine habit, though in the end, they both need help.
 
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bigpicture7

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+1, @bigpicture7

See also: Great Ezra Klein column on the Progressive need to revisit "Supply Side" solutions to housing (encouraging production, not just facilitating/entitling demand-side)

Core thesis:


@Arlington, wow, so funny that the Klein piece caught your eye too. I read it yesterday and it was really refreshing. That's the type of "let's not be so cemented into our ideologies that we stop thinking critically about how to solve the very things we care about" piece we need more of these days (even if all of the ideas aren't 100% spot-on or need further investigation). I was prepared to be let down when I saw the title, but came away optimistic that this will spark good conversations.
 

donkeybutlers

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Boston joins with House America to combat homelessness
As part of Boston’s participation in House America, the city has committed to rehouse 1,100 local households and create 650 housing units for the local homeless population between now and December 2022. Additionally, many of the housing recipients will be paired with services to help them stay consistently housed.
Boston’s annual homeless census counted 1,591 homeless individuals on the night of Jan. 27, 2021
That would be homes for about 40% of the homeless population according to the last census. It would be a decent start, especially if they stick to that time frame, and continue building after 650. It's worth remembering this problem is not as big as it seems and it can be solved.
 

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