Again, the Economic Left parrots Leftist idiocy, without any consideration or cognitive effort. California Mayor Fights For A “Right To Housing” Ordinance To House Every Single Resident. The story that he references (but has broken links to) is here, This Northern California mayor wants to give everyone a right to housing.
This is a wonderful example of the difference between Rights and rights. A Right (big R) exists without the presence of government. A right (small R) requires government to enact it, usually by compelling a third party to provide the service the government is paying for. And it's rather magnanimous of him to "give everyone a right to housing," isn't it?
As someone who has worked with (and been) homeless, I have a little personal authority to speak on this subject. First of all, people lose their stable place to sleep for a thousand specific reasons. The general categories that they fall into are these:
- Economic no fault of their own (job loss, catastrophic injury, etc.)
- Economic by their own fault (substance abuse)
- Mental health issues (debilitated to the point they cannot take care of themselves and have no family support)
Living on the streets is very hard. You have to learn skills that will keep you alive that don't translate well in "normal" society. You have to constantly hustle to get what you need for the day, be it cash, in line at the soup kitchen, or to the shelter for a bed to sleep in.
I used to work for a wonderful woman who's job and personal mission was to house the homeless. She worked to get funding to build apartment complexes, ranging from a 10 studio apartment building to a 25 family unit complex. She worked with HUD to get the funding, local contractors to build them, HUD some more to get them set up as "Section 8" housing, where you paid 25% of your income as rent. She also got them furnished. She then worked with the local mental health agencies to screen clients to become residents. The complex office was also a therapists' office, where these people could get the emotional support and resources they needed.
And what did these people do with these apartments? Mostly, they kept off the streets. Some would relapse into substance abuse and would have to vacate, some stayed there a while before moving on to bigger and better things, Most would stay there until something forced a change. One guy I knew, it took over six months for him to sleep in the bed in his apartment. Those first few months, until the "you are safe now" light came in in his head, he slept on the floor, curled up in the corner of the room, with all of his possessions stuffed into the corner behind him, because that's how you slept on the street to protect yourself and to keep your stuff from getting stolen.
And what government giveth, government can taketh away. Programs like this are never more than one spending cut away from disappearing. You know, that "running out of other peoples' money" thing. So you depend on the largesse of government, being subtly (and not so subtly) reminded of, "you're here because we want you here, and you couldn't have gotten here or stay here without our help."
Government builds apartments to be sturdy and low maintenance. Esthetics are not a significant consideration during design. One of my best friends ended up in one of these complexes. It was dank, dark and crowded. His apartment was a 200 square-foot studio. The elevators were not functional a good portion of the time, and his apartment was not comfortable to live in due to a lack of air conditioning during the summer when it's 90+ outside. The heat was on full blast all the time during the colder months and no thermostat to even slow it down. His neighbors were barely functional drug users, and/or had serious mental issues. Roaches and bedbugs were also prevalent. Given a choice between living in an apartment like his or the street, that would be a really hard decision to make.
The last point, people by and large do not appreciate what is given to them, especially if they don't have to worry about maintenance or repairs. Invariably, the more you give, the more they want. It never ends well.