C. S. Lewis once said, “It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.” The same goes for teaching about how to help the homeless and poor. Ever since 2013, federal policy has been “housing first”: Get homeless individuals under a roof with no pressure to get the mental health help many need, and no pressure to fight the drug addiction and alcoholism. We tend to equate compassion with giving-without-strings. That’s not the way influential poverty-fighters in the late 19th century thought. Maybe Read More ›
A lot of homelessness initiatives are 90 percent talk and only 10 percent walk. That’s why I’m impressed with the street-level experience of people involved in The True Charity Initiative, which champions “a national movement of voluntarily funded, effective charity at the most local level.” I asked local leaders involved with True Charity to rank the four views of fixing homelessness that I summarized in my column last week: 1) Housing first, 2) Improve mental health/stop substance abuse first, 3) Community first, and 4) Christ first. Bill Roberts of Love INC in Fishersville, Virginia, said ranking the four is challenging, but he’d give it a shot. He put housing first: Having a place to call home creates a sense of safety and security. Housing allows individuals Read More ›
Jonathan Choe and radio host Ari Hoffman join Fox Business to react to Seattle residents joining forces to clean up the city’s squalor before the MLB All Star game. Click here to watch the clip.
This column begins year two of my weekly writing specifically about homelessness: 52 down, 52 to go, and then it’s time to turn columns into a book. People new to the homelessness debate often find the recommendations of various groups confusing. So here’s a simplified, maybe over-simplified means of understanding the big four prescriptions: Let’s unpack this. Housing First advocates in government and at the National Alliance to End Homelessness say homeless individuals should receive permanent housing with no questions asked: They cannot be required to address their alcoholism or addictions, nor should they be pushed to meet with mental health professionals or take any medications. Further, Housing First emphasizes “client choice” regarding the housing that is offered: Those who Read More ›
Homelessness affects cities across the country, but it’s not just a local issue, though media cover it that way. Nor is homelessness mainly about housing; rather, it’s largely about untreated mental illness and drug addiction. Consistently misdiagnosed, homelessness is being wrongly addressed. And the policies that give rise to homelessness largely come from Washington, D.C., not localities. A bill called “Housing PLUS” has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., with 22 sponsors, to start to rectify these policies. A national mental illness crisis has been building since the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill began in the 1960s. Drug addictions also have increased and most surveys show that the “homeless” are often both mentally ill and addicted. Cases like the Read More ›
After Senior Fellow Jonathan Choe spoke with Dunn Lumber owner, Mike Dunn, about the impact of theft on his Seattle stores, Mike Dunn joined Fox News to share. Watch the clip on Fox News here. Watch Jonathan Choe’s exclusive coverage here.
May 17, 2023 Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY), a senior Member of the House Financial Services Committee, unveiled legislation to reform the failed Housing First policy at a press conference at the House Triangle. The Housing Promotes Livelihood and Ultimate Success (Housing PLUS) Act of 2023 is intended to end the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) exclusive reliance on the so-called “Housing First” methodology, which recent U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness data demonstrates is a failed experiment. Specifically, this bill would prohibit the HUD Secretary from prohibiting, limiting or otherwise restricting award of Continuum of Care (CoC) funds to providers because they require wraparound services (e.g., job training, addiction treatment) or because they are Read More ›
My answer to the headline question: I don’t know. But Memorial Day is only ten days away, so it seems an appropriate time to ask about those who may have been victors in their own war on homelessness — or maybe not. First, some backstory. One reason journalists get a reputation for caring more about publishing than people: We write lots of one-and-done articles. We search for human interest and specific detail. We start stories with a “face,” someone whose personal situation brings to ground-level observation what could otherwise be an abstract story. But then we forget about the person we asked readers to care about. I’ve been guilty of that, but sometimes I check back after a few years, Read More ›