What does the “Housing First” approach to homelessness say to the world, and to the homeless?

When the governments who run cities with huge homeless populations adopt the “housing first” approach, their first actions are aimed at finding housing for those living in tents on the streets and in parks.  This method, besides being doomed to failure (since housing is very expensive in most cities, and takes a long time to build), sends an unfortunate message both the the homeless, and to the wider society.  What it says is: The world DOES owe you a living!  Society, to get you off the streets, will, at taxpayer expense, provide you with housing and services.

Is this the message that government wants to convey to the taxpayers, whose money goes toward all kinds of homeless services and social workers?  Most parents, to get their kids to do their chores, clean their rooms, and keep out of trouble, often tell them that the world doesn’t owe them a living, and they have to work for their benefits.  The above approach to the problem of vagrants living on the streets is sending exactly the wrong message to those who are paying the bills.  The cities should not be telling the tent inhabitants that, if they will only get off the streets, the government will provide them with housing, food, detox, and social services, with no contribution from them.  And in Seattle, those street vagrants do NOT have to accept the “help” they are being offered, which also sends the wrong message!

Although, maybe the city is sending the message they want to send-that those mentally-ill, drug-addicted, criminal drug dealers are welcome to remain on the streets.  The Homeless-Industrial Complex depends on them remaining on the streets.  And the long-suffering citizens are becoming very frustrated and angry with the ones they elect to run their city.  This is unsustainable.

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