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Solving the Problem of Homelessness (Really)

Millions and millions of dollars are being spent in communities across the nation to try to end homelessness, or as people more progressive than I say.. the unhoused. The Term Unhoused somehow implies that it is the duty of society or government to provide housing for everyone. I disagree, but I digress.

Although it may seem counterintuitive.. just building more housing for the homeless, at least on a regional scale, only makes the problem worse. It just brings more homeless people to your community. IMHO You cannot solve the homeless problem by buiding housing for the homeless.

In reality the problem of homelessness caused by limited availablity of free and low-cost housing by itself is a very minor problem. There are two much larger problems that result in people being without housing: mental health and drugs. It is a complete waste of time and money trying to deal with homelessness as it is being done now without the major focus being mental health and drugs.

Far too little money and far to few resources are being directed toward treating mental health issues (both for the indigent and those with decent insurance). In Kitsap County, Washington where I live I can only find listings for two Medical Doctors who are practicing in the field of psychiatry. Kitsap Mental Health Services, which is heavily government funded has nine inpatient beds for care of people with severe and acute mental health issues. This is for a county of 270,000. This is way to few...Instead of spending scarce local government resources on housing we should provide educational benefits for prospective mental health care providers and funding for more treatment facilities.

Too many people with mental health issues are arrested for crimes and then sent to jail. Our county jails and are state prisons have little ability to treat mental health issues (nor should they). The single state residential mental health treatment facility in Western Washington has a long waiting list to accept incarcerated people who need treatment. More public monies need to be spent to help more people in need.

Too many people are without housing and committing crimes in order to feed their drug habits. As a society and dating back to Nancy Reagan as first lady, we have been totally unable to deal with the drug problem. Perhaps we should provide a fenced and locked drug camp where addicts can be voluntarily sent and where they will receive the drugs (clean medical-grade drugs) to which they are addicted... Minimum facilities, maximum drugs. Perhaps it could be called an addit warehouse. This would cost society far less than providing the housing that they destroy and allowing them to commit property and violent crimes to feed their habits. Sure, it is cruel... but lets accept reality. People take drugs voluntarily, knowing the dangers, because they feel the benefits outweigh the cost. Lets just reduce the cost to society for this behavior.

Let's stop trying to solve homelessness. Lets work on the real problems.