Housing First = Neighbors Last
In short, Housing First states that everyone is ready for a home.
- Mentally ill are not required to take medication/or treatment compliance to be a resident
- Sobriety is not required to be a resident
- Residents will be accepted without regards to any previous criminal convictions or history
- Participation in on-site services, such as counseling, employment is at-will and is not required.
It is a dependency model that 'hopes' to see a change in behavior, but doesn't require it. Those that do not change will continue to be recipients of tax payer dollars in perpetuity. This model has been adopted at the state and federal level. In order to receive federal/state funds (HUD funds) a company must abide by the bullets above to be eligible to receive those funds. Housing First is said to decrease the cost to the city, however, millions of dollars keeps getting spent on this model yet the the problem continues to grow and each year the budget must allocate more and more money. In many cases the taxpayers are taxed to create an additional revenue. Below are a few noteworthy examples.
Utah- Poster child of housing first, yet 2018 audit findings highlight safety and substance abuse concerns
In 2015, despite some saying the data was flawed, the national media heralded Utah's achievement in "winning the war on chronic homelessness." In May 2018, Audit that Utah conducted, told a different story. Since the model was developed, Utah has increased spending on the homeless by 20 million dollars and Salt Lake City spent 85% percent of its $11.2 million in associated costs on policing. The audit also found drug use is widespread, and violence has increased. Palmer Court is a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) facility in Salt Lake City and The University of Utah did a study on employment for Palmer Court residents. Over the 24 months the study occurred, 112 residents were capable of employment. Out this 112, only 26 (23%) held a job for over 3 months.
One would expect that a city that claims to have 'ended homelessness', that the cost of operations would decrease. Yet year over year, the amount needed keeps increasing.
Housing first Fails in other california CITIES
Fresno implemented a Housing First model and found '“only a certain percentage of homeless individuals will avail themselves of offered services”.
The San Francisco Chronicle noted in its article “A Decade of Homelessness,” out of 9,000 people housed, only 5% utilized the offered services. "Today, San Francisco still has these individuals in housing. They are still panhandling and they still have their underlying issues. Yet this model is endorsed by the federal government and there are mandates for federal funds provided for homeless housing."
In July 2018, A Medical Conference pulled out of the city, siting that "their members were afraid to walk amid the open drug use, threatening behavior and mental illness that are common on the streets. Last year, one board member was assaulted near Moscone Center".This conference generates $40 million dollars for the city.
Seattle- 'Are we investing our resources wisely to achieve the best possible results?'
Seattle has allocated over 77 million dollars of the state budget to homeless spending. In November of last year, the city council created a task force to look for “progressive sources of revenue” to assist people in danger of becoming homeless. This lead to the highly talked about Employee Hours Tax—aka a 'head tax'. This tax "would have levied a $275 per employee tax on Seattle businesses making more than $20 million a year." Amazon's response was simple- Amazon announced that it was halting construction on a new downtown Seattle tower and implied it would leave if the tax was passed. "Seattle tried raising money last year(2017) by passing an income tax on its wealthiest residents. But that measure was struck down by the courts as illegal". Seattleites are demanding accountability from their government as to where the money was spent.