The politically incorrect perception that homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness are deeply intertwined is, in actuality, factually correct — and political leaders who insist otherwise are in a state of deep denial, preferring an ideological fiction to the harsh reality of life on the streets.
Unfortunately, the progressive political class in major West Coast cities is compounding the homelessness crisis with a set of permissive public policies.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, homelessness is not a national crisis. In fact, homelessness has declined 14.6% nationwide over the past decade, while at the same time increasing dramatically in major West Coast cities, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle.
In part, it’s because these cities have adopted permissive policies on public camping, drug consumption, and property crime, which has created an attractive environment for the homeless. …
Although reducing housing costs is a critical public policy goal, it will not significantly reduce the number of people on the streets. The compassionate response is not to maintain the fiction that homelessness can be solved with new housing developments, but to grapple with the complex human challenges of addiction and mental illness.