After having given my two cents about alternative transportation, another two cents about affordable housing and homelessness.
I probably read about Housing First about a year ago or so in an article about how Utah was poised to end homelessness within the year: give people homes. I actually couldn’t believe the simplicity of the solution and that it wasn’t just being done everywhere all the time. It fit right in with my own idea that the solution to homelessness and panhandling was to provide people with a place to be and something to do. As many of the articles I link to here attest, it’s cheaper to provide housing and then tackle bigger issues (employment, addiction, mental health) than it is to just deal with the symptoms on a case-by-case, day-to-day basis. Seriously, if Medicine Hat can do it, everyone can.
Different places and people obviously have different ideas. While I certainly disagree with the anti-homeless spikes discussed in one article, I still don’t really think roofs on the benches are the answer. Maybe a start, maybe a short-term measure, maybe a recognition that a problem exists, but not the solution.
A lot of people complain about seeing homeless people and panhandlers and are afraid of being violently harassed by these people and yet still complain about their taxes being used to help these marginalized people. From what I read it seems like we can cut these costs by more than half if we just admit there’s a problem and start finding real solutions.