Author: Edward

The City’s New Housing Program Could Save the City $2 Million

The City’s New Housing Program Could Save the City $2 Million

How San Diego achieved surprising success housing homeless people

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On August 2, the mayor of San Diego announced his plan for addressing a chronic problem: homelessness. He proposed a new program that would let the city rent out homeless people to private landlords who would then allow them to live in permanent housing. He says the program could save the city at least $2 million a year.

It was the kind of bold move that was supposed to be impossible in a city that had become famous for having a shortage of affordable housing for people at a time when many other cities had found ways to meet their housing goals. But it appears the challenge—and the success—can now be repeated in every major city.

There are different ways in which homelessness has become the most pressing issue facing cities and states. But the main problem seems to be a combination of poverty and an aging population. When people live on their own in a city with a rapidly growing population, those who are chronically unemployed or struggling with mental illness, and the elderly, are at the greatest risk of dying on the streets.

“It used to be people would say, ‘Well, there are homeless people. There’s no one to blame,’ and that’s true,” says John B. Thompson, a staff writer for Outside magazine. “But, now, the system is to blame.”

If the city cannot solve the problem of homelessness, and does not want to make it worse by housing it permanently, perhaps the best way to deal with it is to give people access to housing. Studies show that when people are in housing, they are less likely to commit crimes or to become mentally ill. They are also better able to get medical attention, have fewer health problems, and live longer and healthier lives.

But in many cities that have tried this approach, it has not worked. In San Francisco, for example, only 11 percent of single adults who had been

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