« The Weeds

Homelessness and how to fix it

2019-10-04

Mary Cunningham, vice president of Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy at the Urban Institute, joins Matt for part two of homelessness week to discuss the causes and potential solutions of homelessness. They dive deep into the data surrounding the issue, and take a look at President Trump's claim that homelessness is on the rise.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Yeah. This is Marquez Brownie, Acre, Amphibia hd, and this is Andrew Manga Nellie. We will introduce you to our podcast way, form the new sedition to the Vocs media podcast network, so I've spent over ten years. Reviewing tech products and consumer electronics for millions of people on the empty to channel and now on the way forward. Ass Andrew, and I use that experience to dig even deeper into latest tech for smartphones too. I max to electric cars. So if you're gadget lover or attack head or if you just want to figure out whether the latest gadget is worth your harder in cash, give us a lesson say can find way: form the empty beefy podcast on your favorite Pakistan, every I see over their back before Donald Trump turned homelessness into a weird political happen. I had wanted to do an episode on this with him with a real expert, as though I got in touch with Mary Cunningham from Urban Institute, then trumpeted his thing Mary came down. We had a really great conversation, not so much focused on on the politics in the antics, but what we really know about homelessness and what we can do to help by
We love housing, as I do really great discussion of one of the most serious problems we face Hello welcome to another set of weeds. Only box media Pakistan work. I Matthew Ecclesiastes. My guest today is Mary Cunningham she's, a senior fellow and vice president, at the Metropolitan Housing Community Centre at the Urban Institute. That's that's a lot of words for four hours. who says Mary is really knowledgeable about homelessness and homelessness policy, a subject which went when I originally scheduled S. I had intended to be off the new the second thing that I that I just happen to think is important and interesting. President Trump has sort of brought it into the news that re whither report, but
get to enter the weeds because he he says things that don't make sense at the time. I need it that my broad impression as a Person whose interests into housing not dad knowledgeable at homelessness is that is a situation that had been getting getting better or for a while. I used to always hear from progressive people like positive things, about the Bush administration and homelessness and a good result. had continued under Obama, but now it's seems like people are. People are upset again is eight like. Is that right yeah? I think that is right. I just take a look at the numbers there about five hundred fifty thousand people who On top of this on any given night, here in Amerika number has banned going down about fifteen percent in the last decade. is largely because of real big shifts in practice in policy and that work started with the Bush. A minister Jen.
There was a lot of research that showed that not only do we have a solution and that is support of housing, but all Oh, that there was a small number of people who were taking up a lot of the resources and the homeless worlds in that is chronically homeless people. So people were Ben homeless for really long periods and repeatedly often have a disability They were using a lot of the homeless resources and Non using onto the homeless resources, but also moving in and out of jails, costing a lot of money with policing moving in and out of detox hospitals, and so some advocates took that evidence to the Bush administration and showed that not only. Is there this sort of really wild our group that made up about ten to fifteen percent. almost population, but there is also a solution and that solution was cost effective
I think that really resonated with the Bush administration. So, ok, so, let's break down some some this jargon because I heard I think it's it suggests a red so afraid he used right is people experience, homelessness right, which is in part. This is like, I think, progressives trying to use big, be conscious of of their language, but you also you draw adjusting. in that there are some people who are chronically homelessness, and then there are other people who, on any given day, maybe not in an end. These are sort of distant, obviously, there's a link, but but these are distinct sorts of phenomena that It happened to peep yeah, I mean I think we try to use people first, language really wanna describe homeless us as a condition or experience not as a group of people, because we now, for the most part that people move in and out of homeless. Now this is not the homeless, Ets
people moving in and out of that experience and some people may experience homelessness once due to an economic crisis. they can pay their rand. They missed the ramp l, they get a vague dead. Maybe they have some health conditions, maybe they lost their job or they're going through a divorce, and they experience homelessness. That's enough for the most part, most of the people who experience almost as are experiencing homelessness because of economic reasons. and so even though the number of people experiencing homelessness does not change that much from your eminence changes but similar, it's not the same p. That's right. I mean there is a small group of people, people who experience chronic, almost us or chronically homeless people who really are experiencing over the long term for more than a year or repeatedly they're moving back in and out of homelessness, their cycling in it jail, they usually have a disability seriously
illness. Often co occurring substance use disorders. They make it really difficult for them. Maintain housing, but we now from the research that asylum possible him. That's what I think the Bush administration really out in during the eighties, during the nineties, in New York City, for example, there was a lot of work to help get people off the street who exceed it's a long term homelessness in housing or really into shelter. But at that time there were a lot hoops that you had. The jump through were very high. Bear here is that you had to pass a you gotta be sober. You had to have it be engaging in services and agree to service requirements and am basically that didn't work so much so that thing wise. Ok, we are willing to provide shelter to people, but We want you to show that this is like a in this is like,
deserving undeserving poor distinction that comes up all the time. In the show so said, the idea was to say what we want give you a place to stay, but you need to show us that you have done all these. Thankfully they added, like you, know, get get off drugs, not be drinking a few. If you can't find a job, you have to do workfare type thing, and then we will say: ok, you are good enough to qualify for this and in theory that could have just like inspired everybody to get clean and sober, but impact No. I didn't write in practice the doom workin in about what sort of what's known, Housing readiness- and there was a clinical psychologist Samson Barras, who, in the nineties in New York City, decided hey. This is a war King with housing readiness isn't working, I'm trying to get people to come in the shower, I'm offering something they I dont want and so I want to try something totally different and started off
people an apartment with no conditions saying hey come. Housing you don't have to get sober. You don't have to read any preconditions around service requirements just come in and then we will help you stabilize and will provide you support of services. voluntarily- and that showed really amazing results in terms of really high rates of housings stability and also just housing, people that generally people thought were on how Isabel I think, that's that sort of revolutionise the way we think about how to approach homelessness, housing. First, and that's what the Bush administration really invested in said: Morgan and crime, homelessness. Working to invest in support of housing and housing first and then the numbers started going down way. Ensure would what I think impressed people, particularly our public administration, about this. Is that, as I understand it, it sounds.
A little perverse lag gadgets given the house, but it turns out that this is relatively inexpensive compared to sort of doing all the policing and an other things that were happening with with people chronically on the strict yeah I mean, I would say it still costs money Raffer shore, but compare to some of the it costs a lot to do nothing right. So if you don't you the thing people are still using costly public services. There. They have heavy policing ass. They are moving in and out of jail, hospitals, detox. These are costly emergencies researchers and so what some research done by colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania show that basically, this can be continuity, I think that's what really resonated with the Bush administration,
way, I mean you know I mean, I think it like a simple example. As you know, if you have people in in the northeast and had been wearing, it gets very cold in the wind and rain. If you're gonna have a place to stay a certain number, the time like they're gonna, be the stormy there can be in the emergency room he all year round its unhealthful way to be livings, you're, gonna beads. The more you me using more medical services and the prevented Impacts of giving people a place to sleep right can be a powerful, even though it it costs money to get them an apartment. It also costs money to do everything that's right and not only are people sick more because of exposure to living outside, but people are also using those systems as housing. I was just in Alaska and anger rage and there is a very large visible most population there and I was talking to service providers and they were saying you know people are pretty
shortfall in there in a thinking about how do I get into the hospital? How do I get into the jail because that's actually becomes the de facto housing for people who are honourable right, and so, if you mean, it easier for people to sort of say yes to assistance on the basics of pausing than they do. It and then you can try to meet them literally item where they operate with addiction, gingham services, what whatever as re, engage the momentarily and really provide them Sonny that they need and want, and so this helped start bringing down promises numbers, starting with I would say in the early two thousands and in basically that the actual data that we have really first available was two thousand seven, and then you see number so late. Thousands when you see the numbers going down slowly from the other big investment in this country,
and what the Obama administration was really a focus on that friends right. So I think it's very hard. to say we don't want to have a commitment veterans right. We went for a really follow three through their obligations, and there is a general rule. mission that we have a lot of homeless veterans, and so Obama, administration and Congress really double down and made huge investments in supply housing and homeless, as prevention and rapid we housing, and then you also see a very similar trajectory, which is as make housing based investments homeless, as among veterans, goes down in an homelessness among veterans cut almost in half during our decade are veterans actually unusually likely to be Tom or suggested deserve a population that has a sort of distinct service delivery mechanism, and maybe a you know, easier politics behind it. Yet
and I think that there is probably a little bit of both MA am, I think it's in other its tricky, because there is obviously a selection of who goes into the military, or so who may be rebel coming out. There is a little bit selection, biased there. I also think that there is, political support for veterans like who wants to be against veterans. I dont have recommended this, but before, but at that a scotch was bugger, protecting soldiers and mother is about the sort of political and social origins of the American Welfare state. Gino is very clear on this that its await. The veterans is always a population for whom mobilizing political support for social services will be easier than other That's right in there is a whole social service delivery system as well through the vizier through food medical benefits, homo services. I think that there is also
an opportunity here, which is to say that the work on veterans as the little bit of a proof plant, which is, if you invest in housing, then you can see the numbers of homelessness going down right. So now he is homelessness. In fact, the rise, or is this just something president tromp like picked up randomly cause? He cause he went California. One day yeah I mean, I think so. As I mentioned there about five hundred fifty thousand homeless people on any given nigh, the numbers were going down in the last couple years they started to take up and that uptake his ban in this on shelter populations. people who are highly visible so that I think, are really drives the point home for people as you see tense. As you see people living, sidewalks. It just becomes em it's a more public
the visible problem that it really has ban. I think, since the eighties meaner, even in Washington, you can see people under that case three bridge all around and it's just more visible problem, yet me. That's also my obey. You know this is the kind of thing you and you know this is not data, but I've lived here since two thousand and three I started coming here of a few years earlier than that and my impression is it. I see more tents, more I'm in a more people on the streets than I do ten years ago, but that it reminds me of what I saw when I visited more in college and that in the early two thousands but a coach, that's it when distinction, wide sheltered verses on sheltered, because you know people I think would probably rather have like a permanent place to live for the mass public thou. It's like what would you see matters a lot and so what
what is driving this. I mean that the folk wisdom, at least when I was being ways by by liberals and in New York in the eightys, was that we, seeing more people on the streets because of disinfect in mental health services, and indeed institutionalization. Is there something that's like happen now that has this driving back yeah- and I mean I certainly think that supports in the safety- not a mental health system are a real important in a part, an important part of the puzzle, but generally speaking homelessness, is fundamentally a housing problem and more specifically, lack of affordable housing and we have a housing market that doesn't produce enough housing units for on the poorest among us and probably never well, because it doesn't make economic sense for housing developers. It just doesn't pencil out when you look at the numbers, and so-
in order to make sure that we don't have homelessness, that we don't have a lot of housing in security, we really need government intervention and that is in the form of housing, assistance, housing, subsidies, housing bouchers way, but I mean but did, but that sort of wood pulp, That is because we have not fully and adequately funded housing vouchers like forever ride. So if you go back to twenty forty, and you can- I mean you know when pieces. I we wish to do more about this pausing production, it seems to me that hasn't fundamentally changed in the past couple of years. So like what? What what accounts for the for the delta here yeah, I think that's this is the long term crisis them using air quality higher rate, its ban in a long time disinvestment in our Saying are affordable housing am, I think, what you re seeing here. As there are some communities that are making progress and fully where the numbers are going down of, and then there are some places where the numbers are going up like
see, and we know a lot of big cities. You're really struggling in that. So there is sort of this balancing where it looks like the national members are really changing. Munch, there's places or it's going down, there's places where it's going up. Those are usually very high cost markets, and so that's what's happening by makes its ok. So, let's take a break, and then I want to start talking about some of its high costs market. We live with a lot of noise between the pink the dings. The emails labelled urgent. That aren't really that urgent, it's hard to cut through the static zero on the things that really matter just like. We can train our bodies to be better running faster, lifting her We can train our minds to stay focused to all the noise. We live with step one download head space its basis and have loaded with guiding meditations designed offer a daily dose mindfulness concessions for every situation like a three minute s away, meditation when you're overwhelmed by the day and even meditations. You can do what you kids, when you're all of run by the day had space has been like a really cool,
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one thousand plus integrations must have for anyone wanting to track, manage and tackle their work in one place. You're always back with clear up trade free today took up the dot com, slash weeds, so I was recently in Seattle where they have seen. I think I am urged in Greece and in unchartered not much nest and sending people say there and that people tell me every time I go to the West Coast is that the problem is that these cities have mild climates and sort of liberal, politics, and so they act as a sort of a magnet that you know if you were gone, to be forced to live on the streets you would run do that in LOS Angeles or I don't what you'd rather do in Seattle than in Chicago right. It is a sort of what what the theory comes down to is- is it Thank you for that very overtime. People say to me if I were home I would move to Florida or I would move to California? I don't think that
a really bear that Alan I mean I do think there is some mobile. We re normal mobility, that people do move around and people do six Mrs and there may be places where there are more that are more regions, services, where may be living on the street is a little bit more tolerable, but like take, for example, severed Cisco. Most of the people who are parents homeless, as actually grew up and, in the San Francisco area and The data shows that there they went the city does their annual point time data. They actually asked people. Where did you first experience homeless does, and majority of the folks are saying here. So I don't think the data really bear that right. So the other theory is that what's TAT
is that a lot of people are moving to Seattle and San Francisco and LOS Angeles, because there's a nice places to live, not not people experiencing homelessness, but people getting jobs in the thriving growing economy is and that this is making houses there more expensive and they subscribe That's right this! This is the correct thing to do so, but what this man, I guess it's generally, like good driver, If you go to Seattle, this latter stuff there were people Come there, it's wages. Are relatively high but housing costs are also high. And so, if you happen to not have gotten a highly paid job at Microsoft or Amazon. You now have a probable, that's right, I'm a knife think those cities that are you know have booming economies need to really thinking,
and fully about how to share that prosperity across all of the people who are living there, and you know part of that is having comprehensive of affordable housing plans and really being intentional and investing in housing, but looked the challenges that in places up and down the West Coast and really across the country we just have not invested and affordable nothing for a really long time. Their span, demand and supply has not kept up with the demand, and so you know to catch up is really difficult right, and this is where I think people find it like micro, paradoxical that you have these problems, intensify among prosperity, but it's actually quite directly Lange tried it's like when an economy does well, average wages go up, average prices of land go up, but some heat
fall below that average line, and unless you do things to like make sure that you are building stuff and giving money to the people who need it like. This is what can happen. Mary Ann and you know one of the things that you you see is often people look at. It seems to me that this, tendency in these these cities to look a lot at like percentages, so they say like while this is good like we got this project and it was twenty percent subsidized or something, but you also have to look at just like quantities, right, I did it doesnt if you have what one building and his twenty percent subsidized housing like that, doesn't help. People like you need you need a law that what's what's up the look, what what kind of magnitude! So we talk pretty big, actually so yeah California, to close the gap on affordability. It's one point: four million units so yeah, there is a long way to go, and you know not only does it take time to build
and produce affordable housing. I'm so you mean some housing subsidies where people can take their housing subsidy, they can move on the private market and they can ran from a landlord. You ve gotta, make sure those landlords are accepting. Housing vouchers talk more about some of the challenges there You also need to be producing units and preserving unit. So there is a recent report from Harvard they just was released about what naturally occurring mobile units, and so there is always a small share of you're sure of aging stock. That's affordable! You want to make sure that that is not going off line and that staying affordable. So you, have to be doing all they have to produce, saying, preserving and also protecting tenant rights. so it's all of above situation- and I think that challenge there we have really worked through and that we need a better playbook on is really nimby, because you know we can invest a ton of money and allay has certainly through sales, tax property tax.
Barnes raising money that you know, there's money pouring into these these cities and an often because citizens voted that they want to do something. they're, not willing to say: ok, we'll have us affordable. Housing development in my neighborhood or a shelter in my neighborhood. It often is met with a tremendous opposition weight. So you say, ok, we're going to fund, affordable housing, construction than say we're, gonna, fuckin shelters, but you have to it- has to go somewhere right in we ve seen in Washington, the mayor had an initiative to create. I think both more shelter beds, in total, but also have more facility is, and her idea of which you know from a technocratic perspective, makes HUN Sen was it you said, spread them evenly across the city rather than having some like den of Social dysfunction somewhere, but it has,
very challenging to get neighborhoods to agree that there should be these services in their city. I just nothing of getting neighborhoods to agree that, just like in general, there should be apartments belt. That's right, being the city. People who are in charge of that initiative would say that challenge is an understatement, But, yes, you have to say you have to both site, affordable housing places. Then there is a lot of opposition and you have to state shelters, put places and we need temporary, an affordable housing and, I think one of the things communities are struggling with as like how getting it right. Also, the balance I can want to spend all your time building, shelters because its temporary Lucian doesn't really solve the problem. They fell.
and then you need more, but you really have to invest in the development of affordable housing so that you can actually solve the problem. Why? Mrs important right, because I think a lot of people have a sort of mistaken impression that there is like a discreet population, rightly the homeless and that you may be need to like, like filter them someplace as a humanitarian gesture or as a toughness gesture right, but there we are is that its people exist on a sort of genuine of housing, instability, Wade So if you have growing affordability problems like systematic affordability problems, you will just have more people experience. homelessness and you need to address the sort of work odd housing need on some love or even as you you know. If there's people like experiencing acute problems like you want to help them, but like the the issue is that houses are expense, yeah and I think of serve the home.
system. As this serve emergency room right, people are in a crisis, they need help, they need a short term place to stay and the homeless system is there for them to work through that emergency and then the broader, affordable housing is related to the health care system and making sure people get what they need in terms of their health in terms of their housing needs and you know if you look closely at the elevator data, which I think is ground, zero for homelessness and California has, but sixty thousand homeless people about half of them are on sheltered. You can see that the city is starting to make some progress. They were right. Things are investing in housing, but they ve exited many people to housing more than they ever had before. But it's really a math problem. You need to exit more people than the who are coming into homelessness, to really reduce at and that prevention pieces. I think solved in the broader, affordable housing system, but also
there's some emergency prevention and that we could do more on and you don't Ellie, I mean here we're we're eventually gonna get get back to tramp, but I think you know I it is important because Ella has become, I think, a wheel. Cautionary tale for progressive minded people around housing issues. Precisely because allay has been willing to fun. Things so they they put on money into into homeless and services. They ve also put a lot of money. This is at all different topic, but its related into mass transit construction read so they ve built out, is incorrect. Bore investments in L, a metro read, so these are the kinds of things that I think professors would like to say, if this isn't what we want to do for America right like we want like build great things, but there the trend to write a ship is down and their homelessness is up and that's because you can build houses for people read. So if, if you could build apartment buildings near these metro lines, people would ride,
and people would be able to afford the mandate to, for example, the Anglo Saxon he's right like this, like low income, people would much rather retinue. You want a situation which, like you, can you can take a housing voucher. You can on the rental market. You can find an apartment to live in. You baby can ride the bus ride the train if he can afford a car. Like that's, that's the point of providing social services, but if you don't have like houses, then you get up yeah enemy, I think you're describing as serve no ideal urban policy which, as transit, oriented develop man developing saying not only affordable but all housing around Metro station Ray and so in. Instead, you see- and I mean we ve started- to have read it- problems that are clearly in public view right that lot of many people on the streets, sort of free
Men sat trash problems where problems, and it I mean it's bad as a humanitarian tragedy, but it also undermines, I think, the whole sort of Paradise yeah. I really worry actually about that. The player raising, which is that think a lot of the progressives up and down the West coast of actually voted to for money into this issue and I think, the leaders have focused on the right solutions, but the results are happening fast enough, and so I think people are walking down the street and they still see people who are living on the street owing to the bathroom living in a tent, their frustrated right. There is like both the compassion, but then there's also like why someone sleeping on the sidewalk. as you know, a practical concern, especially if you remember the ballot initiative, just that aren't you said- I voted. I now I'm paying more taxes
and I want this to be solved by demand for this to be so, and I worry a little bit about attacks revolt on that front, which is to say like if there isn't enough progress shown that some The generosity that preserves and compassionate people have shown that that's gonna decrease in that, another thing than I am- and I think this sort of criminalization police saying it's very easy. I think it could be a very easy shift from hey we're doing thing based solutions that are supported by the evidence to know we just want these p to be gone and we're gonna walk about yet, let's, let's take another break them and then we're gonna talk about this. if you like, basically anyone listening to this right now, I'm willing to bet that you are you're dealing with stress, maybe there's it of it like an overwhelming amount, or maybe it's more like a low but steady drumbeat background stress. Remember how you are experiencing stress, it's likely effect.
Mood you energy in so many other areas of your life. You feel, like stress, is starting to take over straining relationships and shorten your temper. It's probably tend to unload and better health is perfect, for that better help is customized online therapy that offers videophone and even live chat sessions which therapists she wrote see anyone on camera, if you don't want you it's much more affordable than in person therapy in stark communicating with a therapist none forty hours on the distress using its unbiased feedback. You be pretty surprise when you can gain for it see if it's for you, the weeds, sponsored by better help and listeners get ten percent off the first month, better help dot com such weeds, that's, B, e, T, T, R, H, e L, a p d come slash weeds. This episode is brought to you by Fender Foot ball is back and the best bet you can make is downloading the fan dual sports book up. It doesn't matter, if new to gambling or an old pro fan, dual has something for everyone and as an official,
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But when you had a story about it, I've I've written stories. I read them in the new Yorker, the Atlantic that they were the use these like happy stories that, like oh here's, these good programmes, so if you thought about it, it would be to say well, my city, should it it's too, if you a smart mayor who wanted to have a good reputation, you would look at the staff and say all we can do that too, and you could make the case at the ballot Box bar where we should fund this, because we have ideas that really work and people want to be humane, its energy, needs an interesting migs because it's a you know I'm sort of human welfare issue, but is also a public nuisance issue. So if there is a solution that is humane but also resolve the nuisance, like people want to attack it, but then you get the sort of signing down right, if people feel like what we spent a lot of money on this, but it's getting worse than
when you get into it seems to me we had this new White House report that was like well. Part of the problem is that the inner life might be too cushy and we gotta go yeah, I mean, I think the White House reports is of quite a few things at one of them is in a one of them, which I agree with. Is that homelessness is related to the housing market right? So that's an important that I think not everyone actually takes home. I think a lot people you know when I'm on airplanes and people ask me what I do for a living, and I tell them. I study homo, says and solutions to homeless as and when I get any are full of. You know what they think of the solutions. Housing his into usually one of yes, yes, and so I you know, I think there is this, like sort of disconnect around what are the fundamental drivers of homelessness. So I really do appreciate and await our report that there is this focus on the housing market in. But there is all
this idea that, while people the weather is good in california- and also you know, a shelter is a really nice than people are gonna become homeless. I don't think that's true the data really bear it out? And I think you know when you think about that housing market. We need real, broader solutions, and one of them is more housing subsidies, that is something that is completely under. The proof of the administration to propose more housing assistance and said earlier: there has been any and administration or Congress that is to actually really fully funded, wet and invested and housing, so that one of the things the president could do, which is provide more housing assistance and propose that Congress yeah enemy in you know it's spin, interesting but frustrating to me as somebody who's, whose written about about zoning and and land use issues for a long time to see the trouble administration both pick up these points about supply constraints and rigour sure, but also use it almost exclusively,
as a reason to not do affordability programmes. Rather than as a way to try to change the land use practices. Yeah I mean, I think, is an all of the above, so you know we obviously need to you know there is some room the regulatory reform I thank you know exclusionary. Zoning is not a good thing or affordable housing development. If you can, held an apartment. If it's not legal, then you can solve homeless s right. So that is part of that. I think the fear when there aren't any specifics, rom that Regulation is just rhetoric, and I think the fear is that It's gonna be gone while in the housing market deregulate the housing market no tenant action is no anti discrimination ordinances. All of those things that actually help decrease almost ass. I think,
The real fear with what I have to know more about, like what is deregulation, mean another a lot of. There are a lot of things that we could be doing around man, usin zoning, and I think, probably you and I would agree on those things, but I think the the other thing is this woman talking about really poor people were not only talking about land use and zoning and regulatory reform were also talking about housing. The stones way will and also the proximate zoning problem is directly related to the assistance where that its genome who have programmes to build affordable housing that We need more money and they need greater iii is actually locating the projects and if you have a market that is producing more housing because of land concerning reform, as you can stretcher subsidy dollars further right, so that makes the housing assistance more valuable, but you see, I mean we had. We had Jenny shuts on a show, and you know it.
there are more and less expensive markets in America, but there's no market in America, where low income people at the bottom and the labour market are able to afford houses without subsidy and assistance. At me, it's just like every nettles health care in college high school right. They didn't. We have to have services for four people who are in the low wage market? But what about did you? Criminalization began I think this is where a lot of people went when they pull out of the sort of like capping. one clan story. This is where people's headstart galling, that, like want to see this tend in this public space, this guy sleeping on this bench like can't the cops do so. yeah, so I mean let me first start by just defining sir, what I mean by criminals. They re so the criminalization of homeless. There usually thought of is behind,
here, is that you and I do at home right so sleeping sitting resting eating, go into the bathroom all those behaviors people experience homelessness have to do outside and they have to do and public space and that's really outlying those behaviors, I'm so people are doing. You know that engaging those activities sleeping on the street sheltering themselves intense because they have nowhere else to go off and why bans- and this is actually on the rise and communities across the country- is that one way to address it, which does not resolve the issue? But one way to address that as I am to have the police issues, I think chance arrest, people put them in jail. and really criminalize those activities and the courts. Recent we have ruled that it's actually illegal to do that. So there is the recent case: Martin Voice Verses, Boise. They found that is cruel and unusual punishment to say if you have people were our home.
Then you don't have any shelter or you don't have affordable housing that you can't arrest them for being poor or for being homeless and eight Vat is gonna, be interesting, a watch as a recent case. I think it's me being appeals. There is some hope that the Supreme Court will take it up, in fact L, County Board of Supervisors just signed on to it to actually urged the Supreme Court to, they get on because they want to move towards a little bit more criminalization, and I think there is actually really good examples of the criminal justice system working in collaboration. housing in hand homeless provider, so we were closed. In Denver with the Colorado coalition for the homeless and mental Health Centre of Denver, and they have program there, which focuses on people who are play homeless and who are cycling in
jelly and other living on the street they're. Getting in trouble. There's a lot a nuisance crimes their panhandling. They may be publicly drinking and the police are a kind of going the men in out of those emergency systems, and this programme actually says. Ok, when you get it dead, we're gonna, offer you support of housing Emma finding is that there is really high take up rate some. If you can find people and then there are really high rates of housing stability and that you know the correction system police actually like it, because they are like great there. Some thing short for us to offer in something to do, and you know just scaling those programmes are actually programme very similar and allay Colchester reach on the promises we don't have the scale, and that is a lot about developing those support housing units why it shows this is short of the. The idea of you
there's a difference between saying. Ok, like you can't be doing this, so here's will, but we want you to do and like just why you can't be doing this that I like it's, it's your too poor and that's it legal right. So I guess, if you have a city that does not have like systemic, like affordability, problem swayed. Then this seems like something you should be able to to do at him in Adam. I don't know that much, but the housing market Boise, but it seems pretty cheap right, and so then you, you should be able to say there. Ok, look. We have, by chronic cases, people with serious problems people who we are running through the jail system, which is costly, not really what police want to be doing with their time. So like white. What do they need to invest in their yeah? I mean, I think, fur. Those in a special popular which I just want to underline, that there are small share of the homeless population and that they should be doing what
is like dumber doing, which is investing in support of housing using housing. First, to help people come in off the streets and then engaging them and voluntary services? I may think that takes money. It takes investment it's a little bit of time and it takes political leadership to make the right choices and do we see no has, though the current administration like done anything useful, but with regard to these kinds of services and policies I've been a little confused by the like the sudden spike in an interest here from President tromp like like? What's what actually going on yeah, I don't think we know yet. I mean, I think that you know there is some anticipation There may be some recommendations from a tramp administration. I think there are a lot of concerns and worries that things that work like housing first in support of housing,
will be ignored and the evidence will be ignored and that things like policing and criminals. They in which we know from history, doesn't really work will be taken up Ray emulate sounds like the presidency's person is inclined to sort of. We like what what I remember from from when I was a kid sort of Giuliani era like if you just kind of get tough on people Like I don't know what exactly that thinking people we have more people in jail in prison right or you know- I mean I M someways realistic, and maybe you just even push them into some other neighbourhood. That's right there! You don't! Rebecca was my bridge or in a moving on down the road, and then eventually people make a MAC, or that becomes a problem. Some other hotspot area wide and you and you just kind of cycle around and you don't have any body I mean Some in this way is like you, you ideally
I have like all your different services should have at their their highest and best uses widely. problems that only the police can handle right. And you want them doing that war that's right, not hassling people who need a place to sleep right I think that's right. I think people I mean the police themselves to want to be spending their time doing that, and I think we want the police actually policing criminals and make, sure we are living in save communities. Ok, so if you were to deceive like like dream, out like federal federal policy made by black. But what would you do? Universal housing vouchers, universal housing vouchers to that site? This is like take second aid, given an entitlement. Program structure, yeah, that's right only about one. In five people who are eligible housing vouchers actually We now there's really long lines
having authorities across the country and eighty percent of people qualified dont get it so yet the universal has. program when you, the for the presidential candidates have proposed. That is right and there is simple both plans. I mean there is both a mix of adopt, being universal housing vouchers, as well as doing something similar through our friend. Credit, so that soap was always come, a Harris has a little structured at the end and bugger as it is a wonder. Tax credit and Castro has a little bit of both Gatt and dad did somebody else due to vouchers. I remember it's hard to keep to it, I will say is that time in my lifetime, where the presidential candidates are talking about housing and are sharing bold proposal that super exciting mine
I thought I would say I'm having trouble. Keeping track of all of these people is also that's just a good problem or have an exciting time to be alive. So anything else that you would you would like to see from from federal approach. I would like to see more investment in almost as prevention, so I mean universal housing vouchers actually would take care of it. I think that's a pole recall it that would be really exist. But you know absent out: we need investment in in a broader, affordable housing projects, programmes, national housing, trust fund, make sure enough production and I'm preservation, but also but we are testing out strategies for homelessness and eviction prevention, I'm so there isn't enough money. I think in enough knowledge. Actually in this area we know a little bit about, how to offer emergency assistance. We know never forgive people, cash, that they will not end up homeless sets great store,
the challenges is trying to figure out in the big pool of people who are at risk. I'm who actually is going to need help because there's a lot of vulnerable people out there who are paying too much for a ranch. You know they're paying forty fifty sixty, sometimes seminary percent of their incomes towards ranch that mean that leaves them really. About to homelessness. It also means there giving up. A very critical need saw health care food, and so in a really figuring out how to target on prevention resources. and also preventing eviction which This is a really big issues while yet, or is there anything on the sort of regulatory tenant protection front that that you think like really works, is like a like, like what are their? What what The really strong ideas on that front cause I mean. I know a lot of people read, Matthew, Desmond Buck and they buy get
we have allowed, but then it's like well like what're, you gonna do right. This is the rule can't be like, but nobody Is everyone be affected if they dont pay their brand? I think obviously So then questions I will: what kind of protection can you put on that like actually make sense and in particular sling? I think people are not always fully cognizant of, but you don't want to make it impossible for people who need a new place to live to get I'll leave spread that if you create a situation where the tenant projections are so strong that somebody with a spotty income history camp, can't get a place to live in the first place. That's on can really help yeah I mean, and it certainly makes it landlords think twice about writing to lower income people I mean, so it is a tricky once in thinking about some of the work. That's going on as a result of man, Desmond spoken, really focusing on evictions guy
untying legal assistance and legal counsel and eviction courts, providing some emergency assistance and those courts, and they may be but dad and negotiate the landlord and pay that back ran to or at least prevent the eviction filing. So in the then move on to the next department that they don't have that history, which my preclude them, because it's a little bit of a despot oh there and like if you have an eviction, history and you're gonna find per man most landlords, those thinking, I'm not gonna rent this person, economics. Business sense right and so you know there's a lot of mediation going on in. I think eviction, courts and housing courts in the question is this: how do we see? further upstream in really try to figure out how it actually even prevent people from falling hind how to help people who are really vulnerable, and I think, there's some interesting work going on around used data to I'm actually look at
Where are the places where eviction filings are coming from and using that kind of geography to target resources? Cash assistance does like. I said it's like this huge pool of people who are at risk I'm in figuring out who can inoculate the whole group and prevent it reaches the universal Housing voucher strategy. I am all for that or you try to use more precision instrument and like that data are not that robust, and so it's very difficult and not only that, but in emergency situations are often predictable right. You know you have leg, a health problem, your partner gives you or you know, there's a domestic violence situation. A lot of those things happen are an emergency basis and so trying to figure out how to target people using data- and I think that's around like. Where are the affections coming from, where people entering shelter from their some actually pretty good evidence that using geographic targeting I'm could
one. One way to do that, you have shown that way. Actually the lasting one ask is what do we know about? Obviously, is it's a big country every, is unique but like what are the main source of life, events that have and that that lead people into a situation where were they are experiencing homelessness like what's? It was a kind of typical you no problems scenario I mean, I think that there are a lot of reasons why people become homeless and particularly emergency situation, so lot the losing a job, a health problem or medical emergency, or even just really falling behind on medical bills, breaking up of family so often to income, households that is a much stronger from the perspective of being able to pay the rent. Then you know a one percent household, so all of those things certainly contribute domestic violence and
fleeing domestic violence and winning an untenable situation. That's a part of the story is really high to really understand like the immediate event than precipitated, because often where we collect our data in the shelter but people when they are experiencing housing stability. Shelter is actually the last place that they end up Y know they don't go first to the emergency shelter. They like go to their sisters house and they stay there on the couch for a while. They may you try to find a short term motel. So there's like lots of stops along the way in terms of housing. Instability before you get to that last resort of coming into an emergency why, so it would sort of it's difficult to track exactly what the original like destabilization is, because you won't you PETE Beauty, see people just like moving out of a two bit of empowerment like right into the shelter not usually, and I mean I think, it's really important to know that if
poor in America you face knows just so many challenges. Poorest, Stan challenges that may you know I may be able to handle, as you know, a higher income per se, but that could turn really spiral for people who who are persistently poor, and I think and I think, a lot of middle class people underestimate the amount of routine housing, instability in low income, families, writer even if there is no span of homelessness, and there is a typical situation is to be moving along now. Three why, in his absence- and so then the there's like a lot cracks that you might fall into yeah We have a lot of good data on that and when we know you know for the measures of housing and security that we look at me, look at ran costs burdens on people paying too much for the round. We look at overcrowding. We look at and quality. But like this doubling up.
the moving around in know. We don't have created an often Data actually is not for one persons. Are you not. following someone over time, you're just like taking different snapshots, are really understanding. Those patterns of residential and Stability are not entirely clear right. Ok, so thank you very much. for I let you go. I was like ask people what what what should I have asked you about? What would we miss here? That's important! Yes, so I just stay in others. Mummy get on my so back for just one minute, which is today. I think that people underestimate the power of housing in housing, stability, housing opportunities, It really is extremely linked your opportunities in life right. So you don't how state housing. It's really hard to go to school every day. Do your homework in do well in school, it's hard to keep a job, hard to move up, and so housing stability is really a prerequisite for economic mobility and
I really want to encourage people to think about housing as an investment in the longer term. Strategy, where you really want to help people access opportunity. I may Cunningham Urban Institute. Thank you so much everybody who is listening. We are doing a survey here at the Vocs media podcast network. If you go to vocs media dot, com, slash survey. We would love to hear what you have to say about us and offer many shows here ass, a thanks. Everyone for listening thanks again Mary and things as always for producer, Jeffrey gown and the weeds. Will return on Tuesday, accessible, affordable broadband hubs. Coming he's reached their american dream for students. Lectures on a Chavez means rising above the poverty line becoming valedictorian of international high school at Langley Park, and thanks to access from eighteen t can help these dreams turning turn into reality. That's my eighteen tease me
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Transcript generated on 2021-09-10.