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Homeless in America: Why?

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Homeless in America

Homeless in America

Homelessness in America

Homelessness is a problem that vexes and perplexes Americans. Perhaps 600,000 souls are homeless. Thirty-three federal agencies exist to end the homeless plight.

Despite massive amounts spent by local, state, and federal governments and private charities, the dilemma deepens.

In New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and even Vancouver, Canada, city streets are strewn with homeless encampments, filled with feces, urine, rats, trash, and millions of used hypodermic needles. Residents complain about the homeless because of their open drug use, psychotic episodes, and criminal behavior. Meanwhile, medieval diseases have made a comeback in these cities. The homeless are ravaged by Typhus, shigellosis, trench fever, and Hepatitis A.

Homeless in New York

Homeless in New York

Homeless in New York

New York has the fastest-growing homeless burden in America. The Department of Homeless Services for New York City lavished two billion dollars on its clients in 2018: $33,539 per homeless person. There were 61,421 of them then; now, there might be 100,000—more than any other metropolis in the country. The city bureaucracy has thousands of employees, one for every 23 homeless individuals. That is a far better ratio than the one police officer who serves and protects 234 New Yorkers.

Homeless in Los Angeles

Homeless in Los Angeles

Homeless in Los Angeles

In the video below, we see a giant shantytown in once-pristine Orange County, California. There was another one near Oakland that covered 68 acres. And two others that are enormous, hundreds of miles apart. The only unifying factor is that they all share the same state government — a state that’s more than $400 billion in debt.

California may be a Leftist Haven and Democrat Utopia. Still, it leads the nation in homelessness, with almost one in four of every homeless person in our country living there — 130,000 in total—a massive statewide problem. Los Angeles County alone has 66,000 homeless. Consider also the wildfire that destroyed six homes in Bel-Air was started by cooking from a nearby homeless encampment. And consider that crime has nearly doubled in the last decade in central LA.

In 2016, Los Angeles voters approved Proposition HHH, authorizing $1.2 billion to build 10,000 units of “affordable housing.” Three years later, only 72 were finished, at the cost of $690,692 each. The number of people on the streets increased by 16%.

In 2018, the City of Los Angeles doubled its budget to combat homelessness to $450 million. Los Angeles County threw in an additional $374 million. A nonprofit announced it would shell out $65 million to build 153 studio apartments in Skid Row. Homelessness increased by 26%.

Almost 9 Minutes of Biking with Unfortunate View at Santa Ana River Trail

Homeless in San Francisco

The 'progressives' that have ruled San Francisco for fifty years have transformed the once "most beautiful city in America" into a literal toilet. To safely ambulate around the town, one must first consult a 'poop map.'

In 2018, San Francisco disbursed $280 million to take care of its 7,500 homeless people, nearly double what it had been allocating. It made no observable difference. So voters approved a new $250 million tax on companies based in the city to solve the problem. It got worse.

San Francisco features the most property crime of any city in America. Residents filed 60,000 complaints in one year about crimes committed by the homeless. Law enforcement ignored most in the name of 'tolerance.' Only 125 arrests were made. An additional 28,000 citizens complained about poop on the streets and sidewalks, which are befouled worse than in the poorest parts of Kenya, Brazil, or India.

Homeless in San Francisco

Homeless in San Francisco

Homeless in Seattle

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the Seattle Metropolitan Area spends more than $1 billion per year on homeless people. The Democrat Socialists in charge promised they could handle the crisis if they only spent more money. News anchor Eric Johnson of KOMO-TV exclaims, "The more money we throw at the problem, the worse it gets."

Expenditures on the homeless doubled in four years in Seattle. The homeless population nearly doubled as well during that same time, to 12,000, more per capita than in any other city in the country. The city bestows $100,000 on each homeless individual while crews clean up tens of thousands of dirty syringes from parks, streets, children’s playgrounds, and private gardens. Astoundingly, the more they spend, they buy more derelicts, addiction, and crime. There is no metric by which one can claim what they do is working.

According to the Seattle police, virtue signaling by politicians to order law enforcement not to enforce quality-of-life laws is the cause of the calamity. One police officer stated, "People come here because it’s Free-attle. They believe if they come here, they will get free food, free medical treatment, free mental health treatment, a free tent, free clothes, and will be free of prosecution for just about anything, and they are right." Even if the police arrest a homeless person, prosecutors dismiss the charges in 82% of the cases.

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Christopher Rufo, perhaps the leading expert on homelessness in America, and whose research I used in building this article, reports in City Journal: “Public complaints about homeless encampments from the first three months of this year are an array of horrors: theft, drugs, fighting, rape, murder, explosions, prostitution, assaults, needles, and feces. Yet prosecutors have dropped thousands of misdemeanor cases, and police officers are directed not to arrest people for ‘homelessness-related’ offenses, including theft, destruction of property, and drug crimes.”

Gil Costello, formerly homeless in Seattle himself, explains in First Things magazine: “The city of Seattle is overrun with homeless people, including runaways and drug addicts. The jails are full. Any theft involving less than $2,000—they let you go. Police ignore these smaller crimes because the city has to save money. Seattle needs jail cells for more advanced criminals. Everyone on the streets knows how the system works. Most of the people in the homeless population have come from other major American cities with government help. The miscreants are provided with one-way air or bus tickets to Seattle. Don’t assume these recipients are victims. They are masters at working the system, always first in line for benefits. The bureaucrats build careers off homelessness, and they have devised techniques to hide ugly and frightening realities. People arriving from other cities are processed to become ‘locals.’ Soon after landing, they are assigned a local zip code with an address (of a post office, church, or intake center). City officials actually pay people to wait at the Greyhound bus terminal to process fresh arrivals.“

Seattle is Dying

Homeless in Vancouver

Lest we forget our neighbors to the north, Vancouver, Canada, is no stranger to homelessness. Yes, Vancouver is a world-class city; prosperous, booming, and progressive with universal health care. It is also full of hom