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Da Guru

Why won`t any candidate address homelessness as an issue?

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The last 2 weeks I have traveled to Minneapolis, and Indianapolis for work.  To use the word shock is an understatement, I was mortified at what I saw in the streets walking to and from my hotel. I was in Indy staying around Lucas Oil Field and during the day I saw people laying on the sidewalk who at first I thought were dead. I walked through an underpass and it was like a small city.  Almost every corner downtown people are sitting there. My wife was with me in Indy and she withdrew 200 dollars of 5s and we gave them to anyone who asked.  I talked to a few older women at the underpass and they were desperate. This is in the middle of the downtown district.

To put it mildly Minneapolis was much worse. Both  are worse than I have ever seen in Detroit.  And these cities are not even in the same league as Seattle and LA when it comes to people on the streets. LA has over 50K, 100K if you count surrounding areas. Seattle is growing by the day.

Why do candidate's continue to talk border, border, border and migrants when we have hundreds of thousands of our own citizens suffering, living and sleeping in filth on concrete in cities that is never mentioned?

Why is this huge people problem not an issue? Should it be?  Nobody ever talks about it. Nobody cares?  I would vote for the candidate that would try and take this one because it is only getting worse and seeing it up close and first hand made me physically ill.

Can this be fixed?

I certainly  don`t have the answers but would like to hear some thoughts.

Edited by Da Guru
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Just now, Da Guru said:

The last 2 weeks I have traveled to Minneapolis, and Indianapolis for work.  To use the word shock is an understatement, I was mortified at what I saw in the streets walking to and from my hotel. I was in Indy staying around Lucas Oil Field and during the day I saw people laying on the sidewalk who at first I thought were dead. I walked through an underpass and it was like a small city.  Almost every corner downtown people are sitting there. My wife was with me in Indy and she withdrew 200 dollars of 5s and we gave them to anyone who asked.  I talked to a few older women at the underpass and they were desperate.

To put it mildly Minneapolis was much worse. Both  are worse than I have ever seen in Detroit.  And these cities are not even in the same league as Seattle and LA when it comes to people on the streets. LA has over 50K, 100K if you count surrounding areas. Seattle is growing by the day.

Why do candidate's continue to talk border, border, border and migrants when we have hundreds of thousands of our own citizens suffering, living and sleeping in filth on concrete in cities that is never mentioned?

Why is this huge people problem not an issue? Should it be?  Nobody ever talks about it. Nobody cares?  I would vote for the candidate that would try and take this one because it is only getting worse and seeing it up close and first hand made me physically ill.

Can this be fixed?

I certainly  don`t have the answers but would like to hear some thoughts.

It's unfortunate but the primary reason homelessness gets scarce attention is because homeless people don't vote.  

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2 minutes ago, Da Guru said:

The last 2 weeks I have traveled to Minneapolis, and Indianapolis for work.  To use the word shock is an understatement, I was mortified at what I saw in the streets walking to and from my hotel. I was in Indy staying around Lucas Oil Field and during the day I saw people laying on the sidewalk who at first I thought were dead. I walked through an underpass and it was like a small city.  Almost every corner downtown people are sitting there. My wife was with me in Indy and she withdrew 200 dollars of 5s and we gave them to anyone who asked.  I talked to a few older women at the underpass and they were desperate. This is in the middle of the downtown district.

To put it mildly Minneapolis was much worse. Both  are worse than I have ever seen in Detroit.  And these cities are not even in the same league as Seattle and LA when it comes to people on the streets. LA has over 50K, 100K if you count surrounding areas. Seattle is growing by the day.

Why do candidate's continue to talk border, border, border and migrants when we have hundreds of thousands of our own citizens suffering, living and sleeping in filth on concrete in cities that is never mentioned?

Why is this huge people problem not an issue? Should it be?  Nobody ever talks about it. Nobody cares?  I would vote for the candidate that would try and take this one because it is only getting worse and seeing it up close and first hand made me physically ill.

Can this be fixed?

I certainly  don`t have the answers but would like to hear some thoughts.

It's an incredibly complex problem. I'm pretty familiar with it in my home town of Knoxville where we do the BBQ thing. Bigger cities obviously have much bigger issues with it. 

My guess is candidates are hesitant to address it because of the complexity and also because it's an emotionally charged issue. 

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A picture from Wednesday night.

https://imgur.com/a/7abOy37

And what I wrote to friends:

Quote

Tonight was our night to serve food for our Homeless Folks in downtown Knoxville. I’m so torn with this picture. They usually have a short 5 minute talk before dinner. Tonight we had a special 4th of July themed dinner with Hamburgers and Hot dogs and Red White and Blue tablecloths. They sang the National Anthem before dinner. And they asked my homeless friend Tom (not his real name and I’ve blurred his face) to hold the flag. Tom is an Iraq War veteran. He was so proud to hold and salute the flag. And all I could think about was he’s homeless and there’s a pigeon on the ground at dinner and how our country has failed him. This is hard sometimes. Tonight was one of those times. And I’ve got it the easiest of anyone there.

 

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11 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

It's an incredibly complex problem. I'm pretty familiar with it in my home town of Knoxville where we do the BBQ thing. Bigger cities obviously have much bigger issues with it. 

My guess is candidates are hesitant to address it because of the complexity and also because it's an emotionally charged issue. 

I agree but they have no problem with other emotionally charged issues.

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Wait, the OP is saying that none of the Democratic 2020 candidates for POTUS have addressed the issue of helping the homeless and the poor?

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To answer your question: the reason candidates don’t address it is because there’s no political gain. 

Consider the border issue: Democrats get Latino votes. Republicans get Trump supporter nativist types who view illegal immigrants as a real threat. So both parties gain when they discuss that issue. There is no sizable group of people who will select candidates based on how they deal with homelessness: maybe for a local politician like a mayor of a large city, but not for a national candidate. 

Plus it’s a complicated problem and nobody has any good solutions. So it gets ignored. Sad isn’t it? And you’re right to be outraged. 

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4 minutes ago, Da Guru said:

I agree but they have no problem with other emotionally charged issues.

Agreed. But I think it's more what Tim said above. There aren't clean and great solutions. And it's hard to get people fired up about it.

 

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6 minutes ago, squistion said:

Wait, the OP is saying that none of the Democratic 2020 candidates for POTUS have addressed the issue of helping the homeless and the poor?

I am asking, what candidate has made homelessness a conversation? 

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Just now, Da Guru said:

I am asking, what candidate has made homelessness a conversation?

It would just be lip service anyway.

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5 minutes ago, timschochet said:

To answer your question: the reason candidates don’t address it is because there’s no political gain. 

Consider the border issue: Democrats get Latino votes. Republicans get Trump supporter nativist types who view illegal immigrants as a real threat. So both parties gain when they discuss that issue. There is no sizable group of people who will select candidates based on how they deal with homelessness: maybe for a local politician like a mayor of a large city, but not for a national candidate. 

Plus it’s a complicated problem and nobody has any good solutions. So it gets ignored. Sad isn’t it? And you’re right to be outraged. 

Very true, real concern for the individual does not exist when politics are involved. 

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I'm pretty sure next week is infrastructure week, so I'm sure the administration will incorporate homelessness into that.

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11 minutes ago, whoknew said:

I'm pretty sure next week is infrastructure week, so I'm sure the administration will incorporate homelessness into that.

Actually I wish Cortez would take it on and see if a candidate would take the lead.

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The short answer is it doesn’t excite anyone.

The longer answer is that it’s a very complex problem that encompasses the opioid crisis, mental health and veteran resources. All these issues can and should be tackled on a bipartisan basis. But during election season, it doesn’t set them apart from the other democrats or from Trump. Someone might come up with a plan and score some points but right now there’s little benefit for them to focus on it.

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So actually candidates have addressed this and Bernie in particular brings it up a lot. It's all part of his economic talks. But it doesn't matter who brings it up it's not as complex as all that. House them. Look at what Utah has done. Using public private partnerships they homed homeless people. Did you know that between 25 and 40% of homeless have jobs? Once you home them they can get stable and use the transitional housing as a stepping stone to permanent housing. For many others getting housed means getting treatment for mental illness, for addiction, etc. Once they are in one place getting them on a regular treatment schedule makes a vast improvement and many of them can also transition out. Some will never transition they just aren't capable usually due to physical or mental handicap. But at least they are off the streets and safe. And lastly I'll point out Utah does this for less than it was costing them to criminalize homelessness,  yeah they actually saved money building them some place to live over policing them. 

The model is available and we see states showing interest. If we could get some federal grant money flowing my guess is more would do it.

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7 minutes ago, NCCommish said:

So actually candidates have addressed this and Bernie in particular brings it up a lot. It's all part of his economic talks. But it doesn't matter who brings it up it's not as complex as all that. House them. Look at what Utah has done. Using public private partnerships they homed homeless people. Did you know that between 25 and 40% of homeless have jobs? Once you home them they can get stable and use the transitional housing as a stepping stone to permanent housing. For many others getting housed means getting treatment for mental illness, for addiction, etc. Once they are in one place getting them on a regular treatment schedule makes a vast improvement and many of them can also transition out. Some will never transition they just aren't capable usually due to physical or mental handicap. But at least they are off the streets and safe. And lastly I'll point out Utah does this for less than it was costing them to criminalize homelessness,  yeah they actually saved money building them some place to live over policing them. 

The model is available and we see states showing interest. If we could get some federal grant money flowing my guess is more would do it.

I do understand that addiction is part of the problem, but to be honest I told my wife I would be drinking a fifth of vodka or whatever I could get my hands on if I were in the same living conditions just to escape.  Some sort of stable type of housing would be a big help.

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36 minutes ago, Da Guru said:

I do understand that addiction is part of the problem, but to be honest I told my wife I would be drinking a fifth of vodka or whatever I could get my hands on if I were in the same living conditions just to escape.  Some sort of stable type of housing would be a big help.

Sometimes big problems actually have straightforward solutions. And once people are off the streets they can make a lot of positive changes. Of course every person isn't a success story but that doesn't mean you don't try. 

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By the way if I were running for President I would be looking to take that solution  nationwide.  My campaign would lean heavily on The Judgement of Nations. House the homeless, feed the hungry, heal the sick, welcome the stranger and lift up the imprisoned. That's what Jesus instructed his followers to do. Now I'm an atheist as you are likely aware. But I can see pairing secular solutions with spiritual values and making a better nation for all of us. And that really is my favorite series of passages in the Bible.

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@Da Guru

I'm not trying to derail the thread and don't doubt the veracity of what you're saying. But I lived in Minneapolis for almost 10 years and still get back there at least a couple times per year and I've never seen anything close to what you're describing.  Where did you see this? Downtown? 

As for the question at hand, this is a crisis. And I agree with a lot of the conservative sentiment about caring for our own people first, as opposed to devoting more resources to immigrants (although I firmly believe we can do both). The reality is it's not a winning issue politically.  It will take partnerships between local governments, churches, non-profits and the VA to truly make a difference. 

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2 hours ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

It's unfortunate but the primary reason homelessness gets scarce attention is because homeless people don't vote.  

This. They also typically don't make large campaign contributions.

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I suspect that the reason why Democratic candidates don't want to talk about it is because liberals tend to see "homelessness" as a symptom of a bigger problem (whether it's mental illness, drugs, jobs, affordable housing, wealth inequality, whatever). So, the Democrats would rather focus on improving all of those other categories (automatically relieving the homeless crises while they're at it).

Of course I'm generalizing here, but I don't think I'm that far off.

As for Trump, he has talked about homelessness before -- but only in terms of which Democratic cities (or states) have high homeless populations. I don't think I've ever heard Trump offer any potential solutions in the past 4 years.

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12 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

This. They also typically don't make large campaign contributions.

And that just goes to show how broken our system is.

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2 hours ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

It's unfortunate but the primary reason homelessness gets scarce attention is because homeless people don't vote.  

The “ undocumented” are getting loads of attention.  Is the implication that they vote?

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1 minute ago, Rove! said:

The “ undocumented” are getting loads of attention.  Is the implication that they vote?

Many of the undocumented have friends and family that vote. Homeless folks tend to lose contact with their family and friends outside the homeless community.  Further the working homeless are usually ashamed of their situation and so don't really tell coworkers or friends. Homelessness is definitely more of an out of sight type thing I think.

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10 hours ago, Da Guru said:

I agree but they have no problem with other emotionally charged issues.

If you are alluding to immigration I believe it is because it's easy to play up the fear factor and the Us vs Them there. 

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Definitely a complex issue as stated before.  Drug abuse and mental health aren't going away for the homeless community.  Some continue to be homeless because they're unwilling to let people help them. 

Trump and other republicans haven't offered any solutions to the problem from what I've seen.  I think part of the reason for that is that homelessness hits blue states and big cities much harder than red states and rural areas. 

I think it would actually benefit the Democratic party to do something about the problems in New York and California.  So homeless don't vote, I guess that's true, I don't know.  I've brought up my concerns with how California has handled the homeless problem and what it looks like to an undecided voter.  The statistics don't paint a pretty picture.

California has a mental health tax that brings in between $500m-$1b to address mental health and homeless related issues.  With this budget, they do help people, but the state's homeless rate jumped 14% in 2017 (last year I found stats for).  You can say the numbers are going up because Cali offers more programs for the homeless, but the fact remains that the numbers continue to climb.  California's climate makes it a prime location for the homeless and that is never going to change.

Add sanctuary cities and California leaders pushing for open borders, they are only adding more people to their homeless numbers.  California cities have a finite amount of housing available which leads to increased rents and forcing more people to the streets.  This is just basic math.

So what now?  The numbers keep climbing and the current budget isn't solving the problem. The problem will only get worse and the super majority democratic leaders just seem to be shrugging at it.  Does California need more resources?  Spend the money better?  Hold leaders accountable?  Is it a problem too big to handle?

If the dems can take control of this issue, it would go a long way to showing an undecided voter that liberal policies do work, there is a plan, and we as a nation can successfully take on a large number of immigrants.  What I don't want to see is California raising taxes on the middle class to throw more money at a problem it isn't fixing and potentially making worse. 

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There's a simple answer for that. There are too few votes to harvest on that subject. Not worth their time.

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8 hours ago, Rove! said:

The “ undocumented” are getting loads of attention.  Is the implication that they vote?

Obviously that is the end game.

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1 minute ago, lod001 said:

There's a simple answer for that. There are too few votes to harvest on that subject. Not worth their time.

As a talking point, yes. Doesn't mean they don't intend to do anything about it.

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10 hours ago, Herb said:

@Da Guru

I'm not trying to derail the thread and don't doubt the veracity of what you're saying. But I lived in Minneapolis for almost 10 years and still get back there at least a couple times per year and I've never seen anything close to what you're describing.  Where did you see this? Downtown? 

As for the question at hand, this is a crisis. And I agree with a lot of the conservative sentiment about caring for our own people first, as opposed to devoting more resources to immigrants (although I firmly believe we can do both). The reality is it's not a winning issue politically.  It will take partnerships between local governments, churches, non-profits and the VA to truly make a difference. 

Yes, I was staying downtown.   Also I know the problem is nowhere near as big as LA, or Seattle.   But I got up at 530am to talk a walk/run every block I was on had people sleeping right on the sidewalk, some just laying there without a blanket, pillow or any kind of shelter. It is shocking to see as it looks like they are dead at that time of the morning.

I guess during the day they are more on the move, but seeing it while people were laying there was very sad to see. 

Then I really felt bad thinking I was not happy at the Hyatt because my pillow was a little too firm..well it was much softer than concrete.

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Isn’t it also generally seen as more of a local/state issue than a national issue? DC local politics talk about it a decent amount. 

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4 minutes ago, dgreen said:

Isn’t it also generally seen as more of a local/state issue than a national issue? DC local politics talk about it a decent amount. 

It is, but in my opinion local control of this issue creates some bad incentives.  If a municipality fails to provide services and/or harasses homeless people enough, a lot of those people will move to a place that treats them better, which means that the most generous cities have to take on even greater burdens.  It would be better if the federal government took greater responsibility for caring for the most needy people.

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21 minutes ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

It is, but in my opinion local control of this issue creates some bad incentives.  If a municipality fails to provide services and/or harasses homeless people enough, a lot of those people will move to a place that treats them better, which means that the most generous cities have to take on even greater burdens.  It would be better if the federal government took greater responsibility for caring for the most needy people.

They literally ship them to other cities. I'd like to see a federal grant program done in partnership with local and state governments. Maybe even some federal tax incentives for builders as well.

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15 minutes ago, NCCommish said:

They literally ship them to other cities. I'd like to see a federal grant program done in partnership with local and state governments. Maybe even some federal tax incentives for builders as well.

There should be a program where cities work together to send them places that have jobs and housing, instead of sending them to warmer climate cities. 

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16 hours ago, Da Guru said:

I do understand that addiction is part of the problem, but to be honest I told my wife I would be drinking a fifth of vodka or whatever I could get my hands on if I were in the same living conditions just to escape.  Some sort of stable type of housing would be a big help.

This is one of the things I hate. People will say, "They're just alcoholic bums". 

The reality is lots of people have anxiety and depression.

People in my neighborhood with anxiety and depression go to the doctor and their insurance helps them buy Prozac or other medication.

People under the bridge with anxiety and depression go the convenience store and buy a 40oz. 

Similar issue for the people.

Different type of "medication". 

 

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2 hours ago, Mile High said:

There should be a program where cities work together to send them places that have jobs and housing, instead of sending them to warmer climate cities. 

There’s no shortage of jobs in LA and SF.  There’s severe housing shortages though and animosity specifically towards low income housing projects.

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2 minutes ago, jonessed said:

There’s no shortage of jobs in LA and SF.  There’s severe housing shortages though and animosity specifically towards low income housing projects.

Thanks. Can you elaborate on the bolded?

And for the jobs, are there lots of non skilled labor type jobs?

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8 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

Thanks. Can you elaborate on the bolded?

And for the jobs, are there lots of non skilled labor type jobs?

Definitely a lot of non-skilled labor jobs.  In SF they even come with health insurance.

I’ve discussed the animosity in CA towards housing in general, and low income housing in particular in other recent threads.  I’ll link them.

https://forums.footballguys.com/forum/topic/757419-california-will-soon-be-the-worlds-5th-largest-economy/page/7/

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31 minutes ago, Joe Bryant said:

Thanks. Can you elaborate on the bolded?

And for the jobs, are there lots of non skilled labor type jobs?

In SF people are actually paying 1200 a month for a shared living space where they get a one of the bunks in a bunk bed.

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6 hours ago, Joe Bryant said:
22 hours ago, Da Guru said:

I do understand that addiction is part of the problem, but to be honest I told my wife I would be drinking a fifth of vodka or whatever I could get my hands on if I were in the same living conditions just to escape.  Some sort of stable type of housing would be a big help.

This is one of the things I hate. People will say, "They're just alcoholic bums". 

The reality is lots of people have anxiety and depression.

People in my neighborhood with anxiety and depression go to the doctor and their insurance helps them buy Prozac or other medication.

People under the bridge with anxiety and depression go the convenience store and buy a 40oz. 

Similar issue for the people.

Different type of "medication". 

:goodposting:

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16 hours ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

It is, but in my opinion local control of this issue creates some bad incentives.  If a municipality fails to provide services and/or harasses homeless people enough, a lot of those people will move to a place that treats them better, which means that the most generous cities have to take on even greater burdens.  It would be better if the federal government took greater responsibility for caring for the most needy people.

This is exactly what a significant portion of the population tells you when you run for local office in a big metro area and start canvassing. 

"Don't do anything for them. I don't want them near my house" 

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6 hours ago, The Narrator said:

This is exactly what a significant portion of the population tells you when you run for local office in a big metro area and start canvassing. 

"Don't do anything for them. I don't want them near my house" 

Absolutely. Homeless housing and garbage dumps have about the same responses. Everyone thinks they're needed and a good idea. As long as they're not close to THEIR house. 

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20 hours ago, Joe Bryant said:

This is one of the things I hate. People will say, "They're just alcoholic bums". 

The reality is lots of people have anxiety and depression.

People in my neighborhood with anxiety and depression go to the doctor and their insurance helps them buy Prozac or other medication.

People under the bridge with anxiety and depression go the convenience store and buy a 40oz. 

Similar issue for the people.

Different type of "medication". 

 

Totally agree with that statement for some. Others not so much.   And I am not judging at all as  think I would do the same.

Having talked to many at the food kitchen in Detroit some just drink to pass time and escape.  I will never forget what one guy told me a few years ago.  "Do you realize how long the days are when you are on the street by yourself?  They are not watching Netflix, at the gym, or surfing the net where hours fly by.  They are just walking around or sitting around in the same areas where one day feels like a week.  That is why he said he drinks.

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On 7/5/2019 at 10:22 PM, NCCommish said:

So actually candidates have addressed this and Bernie in particular brings it up a lot. It's all part of his economic talks. But it doesn't matter who brings it up it's not as complex as all that. House them. Look at what Utah has done. Using public private partnerships they homed homeless people. Did you know that between 25 and 40% of homeless have jobs? Once you home them they can get stable and use the transitional housing as a stepping stone to permanent housing. For many others getting housed means getting treatment for mental illness, for addiction, etc. Once they are in one place getting them on a regular treatment schedule makes a vast improvement and many of them can also transition out. Some will never transition they just aren't capable usually due to physical or mental handicap. But at least they are off the streets and safe. And lastly I'll point out Utah does this for less than it was costing them to criminalize homelessness,  yeah they actually saved money building them some place to live over policing them. 

The model is available and we see states showing interest. If we could get some federal grant money flowing my guess is more would do it.

Thanks @NCCommish

Digging into what Utah did, some of the first returns I get are articles criticizing the data. I want to believe it works as I've seen it work on a small scale here in Knoxville.

But I'm naturally leery of statistics on emotional topics. 

Do you have thoughts?

From HuffPost:

Think Utah Solved Homelessness? Think Again

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I think they avoid, most of the time, just speaking of homeless and focusing more on jobs and economics as the source of that...or other causes like addiction or mental health.

I think they struggle also with pressure from constituents about the stereotypes of the homeless as lazy, unemployed, drunk or drug addicts.

So there is the balance of knowing the root cause of homelessness and fighting thru long held perception of the public.

Edited by sho nuff

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Nutshell answer,   Add up that most don`t vote nor have any support from a voting block, are comprised of many ethnic groups so can`t say white, black , Hispanic, gay or asian = politicians don`t care about them.

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I have a sibling that has been homeless for over 20 years. A genius, excelled at sports and the arts.  It was apparent as an adult meditation was needed but refused. Literally nothing I could do because help has to be voluntary.  I really wish something would be done on a federal level so other people wouldn't have to experience this pain. Trump’s conversation with Carlson where he called the homeless "filth" really hit close to home.  Angry would be an understatement.

These people, and they are people, need help.  Programs to beat addiction and mental health care would help the vast majority of them. 

 

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