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 Post subject: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Thu February 06, 2020 2:20 pm 
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Seattle has a huge problem. It seems like this is a problem throughout the US, particularly on the coasts where the price of housing has seen dramatic increases over the past decade.

There have always been homeless people but it seems more visible and prevalent now than ever before (in my lifetime, anyway).

Is this a problem where you’re from? What do you think can be done to help?

At the heart of the issue, I feel, there is a severe lack of supply. We have a major push here from lawmakers to overhaul the rental process (such as banning criminal records background checks) to help “those on the fringes” find housing. But I think they should focus on building more “affordable” housing to meet the overwhelming demand. That’s a very simplistic “answer” but that’s the direction I think society needs to go if we’re truly going to get people off the streets and into permanent housing.

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Thu February 06, 2020 3:13 pm 
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King County has a street count of around 6-7,000 homeless, on any given night. It has a population of 2 million people, meaning .003% of people in the county that night were homeless.

Omaha, Nebraska has a street count of 2,000 homeless, on a population of around 800,000. So, .0025%.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s newspaper offers this:
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According data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sioux Falls had 219 people who qualified as homeless for every 100,000 residents in the city

So .00219.

These are street counts, so homeless people who are off the streets via social programs are not included, but they demonstrate the overflow of homelessness beyond the reach or scope of those programs for each location. You’re right to present it as a national problem. But Omaha and South Dakota have nothing but open land around them, and a ton of cheap housing. A lack of housing doesn’t sufficiently explain such a nationally applied dilemma.

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Thu February 06, 2020 3:16 pm 
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Here in Wilmington we had an increase in homeless after Hurricanes Florence and Dorian, because many people didn't have any kind of insurance (renters or homeowners) in the poorer areas. And contrary to what national news reports, getting FEMA assistance after those is so difficult. My girlfriend worked for the United Way at the time, and when she would help people with FEMA applications, it was even too complicated for her and her coworkers to get through at times.

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Thu February 06, 2020 4:40 pm 
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So my proposed solution is to focus on building more affordable housing. Make it possible for developers to build housing at lower price points but still make money doing it so they have a reason to actually do it.

Again very simplistic description of what I think needs to be done.

What’s yours?

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Thu February 06, 2020 5:43 pm 
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Affordable housing is crucial for this and other reasons. However, around 1/4 of all homeless people in the US suffer from an untreated mental illness. More than half of all household bankruptcies stem from medical debt. Eliminating societal inequities in health care coverage and improving funding to what are often overwhelmed mental illness programs would do at least as much to help mitigate the pathways that lead to homelessness as investing in affordable housing (again, I’m saying do all three, not either or).

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Thu February 06, 2020 9:30 pm 
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Bammer wrote:
So my proposed solution is to focus on building more affordable housing. Make it possible for developers to build housing at lower price points but still make money doing it so they have a reason to actually do it.

Again very simplistic description of what I think needs to be done.

What’s yours?
Make it easier to build everything, affordable and market rate.

It's always going to be a challenge to get developers to build affordable on their own volition, given the very high capital costs of constructing a building. Partnerships and subsidies can help defray some of that in a few cases, but even if they're expanding the housing supply with market rate buildings they'll still improve the situation.

The worst thing is to make it tough to build anything via bad zoning laws, or the cold, hard law of supply and demand will cause prices to skyrocket. And that's the big problem in all of these boom towns in the West right now: people (rightly, in my opinion as a biased Westerner) want to move here, but government is making it very difficult to get anything built. I feel like Boise gets this more than other cities in the West, but we will see. They are planning to completely overhaul their zoning code, of which I'm eagerly anticipating.


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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Fri February 07, 2020 7:26 pm 
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Does anyone care about the economy?
Quote:
Home prices are rising faster than wages in roughly 80 percent of American metro regions. In 2018, housing affordability declined in every one of the 160-some urban areas analyzed by the National Association of Realtors, save for Decatur, Illinois. Rising prices and housing shortages are squeezing families in Reno, Minneapolis, and Phoenix.

The problem now even extends to rural areas, where income growth has lagged in the post-recession period. A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found “sizable” increases in the number of households spending half or more of their income on housing in rural counties across the country. The housing crisis is hitting Bertie County, North Carolina, and Irion County, Texas, too.*

One central effect of the housing-cost crisis has been to turn the United States into a country of renters. The homeownership rate has fallen from a peak of nearly 70 percent in the mid-aughts to under 65 percent today; the numbers are more acute for Millennials, whose homeownership rate is 8 percentage points lower than that of their parents at the same age. Unable to buy, roughly 3.5 million younger families have kept renting—delaying the Millennial and Gen X cohorts’ wealth accumulation, thus consigning them to worse net-worth trajectories for the rest of their lives. And renting, for many families, is not affordable, either: Nearly half of renters are facing uncomfortable monthly bills, and the cost of renting has risen faster than renters’ incomes for a full 20 years now.

The cost-of-living crisis extends beyond housing. Health-care costs are exorbitant, too: Americans pay roughly twice as much for insurance and medical services as do citizens of other wealthy countries, but they don’t have better outcomes. In the post-recession period, premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs in general just kept rising, eating away at families’ budgets, casting millions into debt, and consigning millions more to bankruptcy.

The “cost burden” of health coverage climbed through the 2010s; just from 2010 to 2016, family private-insurance premiums jumped 28 percent to $17,710, while median household incomes rose less than 20 percent. That meant less take-home pay for workers. Deductibles—what a family has to fork over before insurance kicks in—also soared. From 2010 to 2016, the share of employees in health plans with a deductible jumped from 78 percent to 85 percent. And the average annual deductible went from less than $2,000 to more than $3,000.

The country’s insurance premiums and out-of-pocket health-cost burdens are just very, very high—including for people with publicly subsidized or public coverage. The average person on Medicare spends $5,460 on health care beyond what they pay for insurance every year. The average person with Medicaid forks over nearly half that. No wonder two in three bankruptcies are related to medical issues, and nearly 140 million American adults report “medical financial hardship” each and every year.

Next up is student-loan debt, a trillion-dollar stone placed on young adults’ backs. Or, to be more accurate, the $1.4 trillion stone, up 6 percent year over year and 116 percent in a decade; student-loan debt is now a bigger burden for households than car loans or credit-card debt. Half of students now take on loans of one kind or another to try for a higher-ed degree, and outstanding debts typically total $20,000 to $25,000, requiring monthly payments of $200 to $300—though of course many students owe much more. Now nearly 50 million adults are stuck working off their educational debt loads, including one in three adults in their 20s, erasing the college wealth premium for younger Americans and eroding the college earnings premium.

Finally, child care. Spending on daycare, nannies, and other direct-care services for kids has increased by 2,000 percent in the past four decades, and families now commonly spend $15,000 to $26,000 a year to have someone watch their kid. Such care is grossly unaffordable for low-income parents in metro areas across the country, causing many people to drop out of the labor force. But one in four American mothers returns to work within two weeks of giving birth, so heavy are the other cost burdens of living in this country. The whole system is broken.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... ca/606046/

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Sat February 08, 2020 1:45 pm 
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Is it just me or is there no party trying to address the affordability crisis? It seems like it's either "let the market sort everything out" or "force billionaires to subsidize everything" but no one seems to want to control costs. My guess is that it's a tough to sell the public on a policy solution whose enemy is diffuse and self-directed (we kinda did this to ourselves) rather than a simple story like "it's all greedy billionaires" or "it's all regulation and immigrants."

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Sat February 08, 2020 7:13 pm 
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Dscans wrote:
Is it just me or is there no party trying to address the affordability crisis? It seems like it's either "let the market sort everything out" or "force billionaires to subsidize everything" but no one seems to want to control costs. My guess is that it's a tough to sell the public on a policy solution whose enemy is diffuse and self-directed (we kinda did this to ourselves) rather than a simple story like "it's all greedy billionaires" or "it's all regulation and immigrants."
You got it, this is one of those issues that cleaves across ideological and political boundaries in several ways that doesn't make for clean heroes and villains.


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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Sat February 08, 2020 8:19 pm 
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It doesn't help that every new housing development being built seems to be overpriced high-end condos, at least in my experience.


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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Sun February 09, 2020 1:09 am 
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Jammer XCI wrote:
It doesn't help that every new housing development being built seems to be overpriced high-end condos, at least in my experience.
Like I said, constructing buildings has a very high capital cost, so it's regularly going to be difficult for developers on their own to build much else.


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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Sun February 09, 2020 7:49 pm 
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Green Habit wrote:
Jammer XCI wrote:
It doesn't help that every new housing development being built seems to be overpriced high-end condos, at least in my experience.
Like I said, constructing buildings has a very high capital cost, so it's regularly going to be difficult for developers on their own to build much else.


It’s not that simple though... you need jobs and schools and transport near any dense residential development you do and most suitable locations are already pretty densely packed. Packing more people into smaller spaces (say 10k/sq mile) without everything they need to make for a content life is just “the projects” reborn.

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Mon February 10, 2020 1:19 am 
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Bi_3 wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
Jammer XCI wrote:
It doesn't help that every new housing development being built seems to be overpriced high-end condos, at least in my experience.
Like I said, constructing buildings has a very high capital cost, so it's regularly going to be difficult for developers on their own to build much else.
It’s not that simple though... you need jobs and schools and transport near any dense residential development you do and most suitable locations are already pretty densely packed. Packing more people into smaller spaces (say 10k/sq mile) without everything they need to make for a content life is just “the projects” reborn.
I agree, you need all of that, and we need to make it easier to build all of that.


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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Mon February 10, 2020 6:48 am 
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Green Habit wrote:
Bi_3 wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
Jammer XCI wrote:
It doesn't help that every new housing development being built seems to be overpriced high-end condos, at least in my experience.
Like I said, constructing buildings has a very high capital cost, so it's regularly going to be difficult for developers on their own to build much else.
It’s not that simple though... you need jobs and schools and transport near any dense residential development you do and most suitable locations are already pretty densely packed. Packing more people into smaller spaces (say 10k/sq mile) without everything they need to make for a content life is just “the projects” reborn.
I agree, you need all of that, and we need to make it easier to build all of that.

Exactly

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Mon February 10, 2020 5:43 pm 
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Bammer wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
Bi_3 wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
Jammer XCI wrote:
It doesn't help that every new housing development being built seems to be overpriced high-end condos, at least in my experience.
Like I said, constructing buildings has a very high capital cost, so it's regularly going to be difficult for developers on their own to build much else.
It’s not that simple though... you need jobs and schools and transport near any dense residential development you do and most suitable locations are already pretty densely packed. Packing more people into smaller spaces (say 10k/sq mile) without everything they need to make for a content life is just “the projects” reborn.
I agree, you need all of that, and we need to make it easier to build all of that.

Exactly


But... build it where? Most cities in desirable locations are already built out in a way that makes this all but impossible without razing large areas... i.e. gentrification... and even then you need people to move into the new developments and live there long enough to establish a viable community with an economy that isn't entirely based on consuming tax dollars.

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Mon February 10, 2020 6:44 pm 
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Bi_3 wrote:
But... build it where? Most cities in desirable locations are already built out in a way that makes this all but impossible without razing large areas... i.e. gentrification... and even then you need people to move into the new developments and live there long enough to establish a viable community with an economy that isn't entirely based on consuming tax dollars.
Here's a ranking of options:

1. Upzone in high income neighborhoods
2. Upzone only in low income neighborhoods (gentrification)
3. Don't upzone anywhere

1 is clearly superior to 2, but affluent NIMBYs are too easily using their influence and knowledge of the system to shut down those developments in their neighborhoods. But if you choose 3 instead of 2, while you're giving reprieve to existing residents of affordable housing, you're offering nothing to new residents (which is a related problem that rent control creates), and all housing prices will go up due to the constrained supply.


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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Wed April 29, 2020 5:20 pm 
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Turn the movie theaters into homeless shelters

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Wed April 29, 2020 5:50 pm 
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Bammer wrote:
Turn the movie theaters into homeless shelters


Students at Harvard were petitioning to turn dorms into shelters:

https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2020 ... -petition/

But, you know how the ultra-privileged are... they cut the city a check instead.

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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Wed April 29, 2020 7:20 pm 
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here in chicago they're housing a lot of homeless in the 10,000+ hotel rooms that are sitting vacant right now. yet it's not a permanent solution; it's done solely to quarantine them.


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 Post subject: Re: The Homelessness Crisis
PostPosted: Wed April 29, 2020 7:35 pm 
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I have a co-worker whose son is a cop. They put a bunch of homeless up in a Renton, WA hotel (suburb of Seattle). They are not staying in the rooms and are wreaking havoc in the neighborhood, per her son.

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