Housing the Homeless: Tents for Everyone, or Palaces for a Few?

When Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans to spend another $1.0 billion to “address homelessness,” politically connected developers and donors must have been thrilled. These corrupt special interests are part of an ecosystem of crony businesses, “nonprofits,” public bureaucrats, litigators, professional agitators and public relations wizards. Known as the Homeless Industrial Complex, for years they’ve been getting filthy rich, wasting billions, solving nothing.

It doesn’t take a math whiz or an economist to see the scandalous absurdity at work. When you spend a half-million, or more, for every unit of “permanent supportive housing,” you will never get everyone under a roof. This is particularly the case when you are not only offering the homeless an apartment that’s better than the working poor could ever hope to afford, but you’re not even demanding they stop smoking crack as a prerequisite for getting free housing.

Crackheads of America! Come to Los Angeles! And they come, wave after wave. Drugs are legal and petty crimes are decriminalized. And now they’ve occupied the city. Residents are told that to complain is racist, or classist, an unacceptable expression of “privilege.” They’re told that they are victims of “quality of life” infractions, a second order of concern, while the “right to housing” is a first order concern. And yet – at half a million a pop – the demand increases much faster than the supply.

California’s homeless explosion didn’t merely occur because the housing industry got so overregulated that developers could no […] Read More