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Homelessness in One City

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never miss viewpointsKerby Anderson

In previous commentaries, I have quoted Michael Shellenberger and his book, Apocalypse Never, which deals with environmental issues. But his latest book documents the problem of homelessness in one city. The title is: San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities. He documents various reasons why the homeless problem has become worse.

Limited housing has been one reason. Expensive housing and warmer climates explain why the homeless can be found in California, Florida, and Hawaii. Not only is the climate warmer, but the real estate costs are very high.

Drugs and substance abuse are other issues. In the past, Michael Shellenberger promoted decriminalization of drugs but has changed his mind. For example, drug overdoses are the number one cause of accidental death.

He also notes this irony. “No state in America has taken more aggressive action to reduce the public’s exposure to chemicals, and to second-hand smoke, than California.” But while cities and the state focus on “the remote dangers of cosmetics, pesticides, and second-hand smoke, they downplay the immediate dangers of hard drugs including fentanyl.”

Mental illness is another reason for homelessness. While about 52 million people suffer from a mental illness, about 13 million adults are seriously mentally ill. A significant percentage of them are now on the streets because of policies that forced their release from psychiatric hospitals. People with serious mental illness are more likely to be homeless, to interact with drug dealers, and to be victimized.

His book reminds us that to deal with the problem of homelessness, we need to look at root causes, not just symptoms. viewpoints new web version

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