Upon taking office, the newly-elected mayor of Los Angeles declared a state of emergency to address the spiraling levels of homelessness. Tens of thousands of people sleep outside nightly on the city’s streets. Makeshift encampments have sprung up with filth, trash and drugs littering the sidewalks. Nearby residents feel unsafe as crime, unhealthy conditions and disorder are rife in these areas.
Experts estimate there are more than 40,000 homeless people in Los Angeles. Mayor Karen Bass declared the emergency “to fast-track things” and cut through the red tape that hinders action. For years, former mayors—Democrats all—seemed to encourage the situation by offering money, aid and services to the ever-growing homeless population without requiring much commitment to reform. Meanwhile, homeowners are saddled with high taxes and a hot real estate market, making survival ever more challenging.
Out of Sight and Out of Mind
People want action. The tent camps clash with the neighborhoods of those who work hard to live there. Visitors are shocked to see such squalor in a modern American city. The mayor also worries about the city’s image since Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympic Games.
For all these reasons, the new mayor will be issuing executive orders to provide temporary housing for the homeless by putting them in leased apartments and motel rooms. In this way, the homeless will at least be out of sight and out of mind.
However, such strategies fail to address to causes of homelessness. The simplistic logic of these state-of-emergency solutions is that liberal politicians think that solving the problem of people without homes is a matter of moving them into housing. It is as if these people were goods to be warehoused and not real people.
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Above all, these throw-money-at-the-problem solutions do not answer the question: Why are there so many homeless people in the first place?
The Tragic State of the Homeless
To answer this question, the first consideration must be a proper evaluation of who makes up the homeless population. For the most part, they are not people who happened to come upon hard times. A large portion has mental health issues and thus cannot work steadily. Over the decades, progressive governments have deinstitutionalized these poor people needing help. This move condemned them to the streets, where they harm themselves and others.
Other homeless people are drug addicts who are also unable to work steadily. Progressive governments have provided them with free needles and other aid that facilitates their drug habit. Many homeless have both mental and drug issues.
Other homeless people are children of misfortune, living without family, friends or roots. They have developed disordered habits over the years whereby they learned to live in a world without work, purpose or responsibilities. They live in the shadows of society with no path to a better future.
A Human Not a Housing Problem
Putting these people into decent housing will not resolve the problems. It will only make them worse. The mayor will be putting people with disordered habits into orderly housing in the hope that this will change their ways. Unless the homeless commit to reform, they will bring their disorder into the new housing and even damage it.
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This is a human, not a housing problem. As seen in places like New York City, the mentally ill will reject the housing and return to the street where they will be less restricted. Drug addicts also will bring their drug culture into these new spaces. Countless homeless programs have failed because the homeless tend to avoid or oppose them. For example, New York City’s mayor is now resorting to institutionalizing the most dangerous homeless, even against their will, because of the danger they pose to others.
Satisfying material needs is not enough. Homeless people are often flooded with material goods, food and money to the point where they throw away food and blankets because they have too much, as in Washington, D.C.
Any change must be in the human heart, with people seeking to change bad habits for good ones. There must be proper care for those with mental issues. Drugs and bad work habits cannot be rewarded. An effective program requires the effort and suffering of the homeless to change their ways.
However, addressing these problems of the heart still does not answer the question: Why are there so many homeless people in America today?
Homeless People Without Homes
The answer is simple. There are so many homeless people because they do not have homes.
Homes, not housing, are what is missing. A house is a physical structure that shelters someone from the elements. A home is a social unit formed by a family living together in a place. The home contains the relationships that tie one to another in times of happiness and misfortune. It is a giant safety net that prevents the proliferation of the homeless plight.
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And yet, the government is doing everything possible to destroy the family by actively promoting abortion, same-sex “marriage” and moral depravity. Destroy family structures, and society falls apart as it is now. Take God and His moral law out of human hearts, and all will decay.
Without homes, the homeless will proliferate yet more, and there will never be enough money or government programs to take care of these atomized individuals without fathers, mothers, children or God.
Indeed, Mayor Bass should declare a state of emergency for the family now in crisis. Homes keep people from becoming homeless. A healthy family is always the best place to turn in times of trial. This vital social unit is the only real solution to the scandalous legions of homeless found all over the nation.
The poet Robert Frost said it best: “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. Something you somehow don’t have to deserve.”
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