Fix Homelessness How to rebuild human lives
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mental illness

old-mental-hospital-sign-stockpack-adobe-stock
Old Mental Hospital Sign
Old Mental Hospital Sign

Good Intentions, Horrible Results

Last week on Fix Homelessness and in my monthly OlaskyBooks newsletter, I gave highlights and lowlights from Andrew Scull’s Desperate Remedies: Psychiatry’s Turbulent Quest to Cure Mental Illness (Harvard University Press, 2022). He notes that many mentally ill people are now homeless and on the streets instead of in state-funded mental hospitals. (Those institutions, like Michigan’s Lapeer State Home and Training School, housed sufferers. Then the 1960s brought in new drugs and new Washington-paid health plans, Medicare and Medicaid.) I didn’t have room last week to dive into an important question: Which came first, medical panaceas (that turned out not to be so) or money incentives? Scull says money, in many instances: “In at least seventeen states, inpatient censuses had Read More ›

west-hollywood-homelessness-wild-tents-camp-stockpack-adobe-stock
West Hollywood Homelessness Wild Tents Camp
West Hollywood Homelessness Wild Tents Camp

Mental Illness on the Streets

From 1978 to 1983 I worked at Du Pont, which had a famous slogan: “Better things for better living through chemistry.” Andrew Scull’s Desperate Remedies: Psychiatry’s Turbulent Quest to Cure Mental Illness (Harvard University Press, 2022), shows how those years were the culmination of a “better drugs for better living” approach to mental illness that led to closing asylums across the United States”—and left many of the sickest among us homeless. Read More ›
two people circling in old building
Two psycho friends going around chair supporting each other in mental house
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Homeless Encampments and Mental illness

Fifty-one years ago I bicycled from Boston to Oregon. I was a Marxist then and looking for evidence of the American empire falling apart, but during the whole ten weeks on the road I didn’t see the one tourist attraction that would have delighted my propagandistic self: homeless encampments. Now every city seems to have them. Read More ›
bald homeless man
Young poor skinny anorexic bald homeless man sitting on the urban street in the city or town near old wall trying to hide his face, homelessness social documentary concept
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Republicans Could Lead on Mental Health Treatment

Tucked away in the gun law President Biden just signed is a provision increasing funding for preventive outpatient treatment for mental illness. This is an important step toward solving America’s mental-health crisis but only part of what’s needed. Read More ›
Robert Marbut in Seattle

Robert Marbut on Seattle Mayor’s Homeless Plan

Right after the Mayor of Seattle unveiled his plan I turned to former federal homelessness czar Dr. Robert Marbut Jr. for analysis. He’s worked for the Bush, Trump, and Biden administrations and says mental health and addiction support must be more of a priority. Read More ›
California street at sunrise
Downtown San Francisco with California Street at sunrise, San Francisco, California, USA
Downtown San Francisco with California Street at sunrise, San Francisco, California, USA

California’s Epic Homeless Nightmare

What’s the matter with California? “It’s suffering from San Fransickness,” which is “pathological altruism,” answers Michael Shellenberger, author of the book “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities.” Read More ›
Homeless man drug and alcohol addict sitting alone and depressed on the street in the shadow feeling anxious and lonely, social documentary concept
Homeless man drug and alcohol addict sitting alone and depressed on the street in the shadow feeling anxious and lonely, social documentary concept
Licensed via Adobe Stock

How Housing First Fails the Mentally Ill

The closing of mental institutions in the 20th century was meant to create better living conditions for the mentally ill. But it appears twenty-first century alternatives still regularly neglect the schizophrenic, bipolar, and other seriously ill members of the community. Read More ›
hearts carved from a piece of bread on a wooden table
hearts carved from a piece of bread on a wooden table
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Partner with Us for Real Solutions to the Homelessness Crisis

We work to educate the public about who the homeless are, the problems spawned by homelessness, why homelessness is occurring, and what can be done about it. Our goal is to instill hope in every reader — that despite the size of the problem, solutions exist. Read More ›
multiple clothing sizes
Hangers with clothes and sizes on rail
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Homelessness Will Not Be Solved With a One-Size-Fits-All Solution

Mark Horvath has interviewed a countless number of homeless people for his YouTube channel, Invisible People. Based on his own experience and these interviews, Horvath is a Housing First advocate, arguing that our efforts must be focused on housing in order to fix homelessness. Is Horvath right? Read More ›