The Covid pandemic has skyrocketed housing costs and rising unemployment, leaving nearly 600,000 Americans homeless by 2020.
“What people don’t usually realize when walking around a vagrant person is that that person is costing the taxpayer a lot of money,” said Sam Tsemberis, director of Pathways Housing First Institute.
In 2019, New York City spent its highest $ 3 billion ever to support its vagrant population. California will also break its record by allocating $ 4.8 billion for the same show over the next two years.
Despite the budget increase, overall homelessness in the United States has only improved by 10% since 2007. It is even worse for some subgroups, such as the lonely homeless, where the period has only decreased by 1%.
“We are currently in the wrong direction,” said Anthony Love, acting executive director of the United States Interagency Homelessness Council. “The situation of the vagrant is very precarious and there are small increases in the world. “
For many years, the United States has taken a Housing First approach to the homeless, providing permanent housing for the vagrant without preconditions such as sobriety or employment.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without the coach guiding me through the shelter,” said Shannon McGhee, who moved into her support shelter in 2020 after four years of homelessness. “Since I can have my home first, I know I have control over my environment. What happens here now depends on what I create.
However, some critics of the Housing First approach argue that it did not produce enough real results to be considered a success.
“When the public realizes that some policies eliminate homelessness, they expect to see fewer vagrant people,” said Stephen Eide, senior researcher at the Manhattan Institute. “I don’t think we saw it on Housing First.”