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Fix Homelessness How to rebuild human lives

Housing First Doesn’t Work

Originally published at Dallas Morning News

In a classic attempt to bury embarrassing data, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released its most recent annual homelessness Point-in-Time Count report on a Friday, shortly before the Christmas break, about 11 months after the counting was done.

Try as it might, HUD is unable to hide the problem anymore because the increases are so high. HUD data now show more than 653,000 people experiencing “street-level” homelessness. Street-level homelessness rose 12% between 2022 and 2023, reaching the highest level ever reported since the Point-in-Time Count began, according to HUD’s report to Congress. If this rate continues, street-level homelessness will double in five to six years and approach 1.4 million people. In about a decade, the number of people experiencing street-level homelessness will be about 2.8 million, equal to the third most populated city in the nation.

In 2013, the Obama administration promised all homelessness would end no later than 2023, a decade after the formal adoption of the “Housing First” philosophy. With Housing First as the new official federal policy to address homelessness, HUD specifically said homelessness among veterans would end by 2015, chronic homelessness would end by 2016, family homelessness would end by 2020, and all types of homelessness would be gone by 2023. Progressive members of Congress and other advocates echoed these claims.

But homelessness did not end in 2023.

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Robert Marbut

Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth & Poverty
Robert Marbut is a renowned expert on homelessness and a senior fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. Marbut has a PhD in Political Behavior and American Political Institutions and his career has been marked by bipartisanship having served as Chief of Staff for San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros in the 1980s, as a White House Fellow under George H. W. Bush, and most recently as the Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness from 2019 to 2021 under both the Trump and Biden administrations. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of the United States Olympic Committee from 1992 to 2004.