Fix Homelessness How to rebuild human lives
Topic

mental illness

distorted image of street
Distorted image of a town street on a rainy day with rare ray of sun shining through crystal ball
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

A Different View of Homelessness

The relationship of homelessness and mental illness is complex. Some disorders precede time on the streets and some result from it, but Ullman is right to note that “individuals who spend long periods living unsheltered have a very high prevalence” of serious mental illness and debilitating substance-use. Read More ›
silhouettes line
People crowd shadows lined up against a red brick wall. They are in a queue for changes in life. Social distance, covid and immigration issue concept
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Varieties of Homelessness

After seven months of getting back into the flow of writing about poverty, my New Year’s resolution is to continue doing ground-level or historical columns, but to try as well to map out the overall debate and see what each side has to contribute. Read More ›
schizophrenic-man-holding-his-head-stockpack-adobe-stock
Schizophrenic man holding his head
Schizophrenic man holding his head

Hearing Voices

Julius Caesar began his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars with a sentence that Latin students once memorized: Translated literally into English, it reads, “Gaul is a whole divided into three parts.” When delving into homelessness causes, it’s useful to keep in mind that homelessness is both a whole and a hole into which people fall for three main reasons: mental illness, alcoholism/addiction, and housing costs. Many journalists emphasize housing costs, partly because many live in expensive coastal cities. Off the coast, with the exception of a few cities like Austin, it’s different. As I learned in Flint and Pontiac, Michigan — columns to come — apartment cost is not a big factor in many cities that have lost population in Read More ›

tiny homes collection
set of tiny wooden toy houses.
Photo licensed via Adobe Stock

Stephanie Creighton

“Tiny home” villages are going up around the United States. They’re touted as solutions for homeless men and women, but a Sept. 17 Los Angeles Times article had this headline about two California villages: “The report card is mixed.” Read More ›
Poor tired depressed hungry homeless man holding a cardboard h
Poor tired depressed hungry homeless man holding a cardboard house. with "help" handwritten text on cardboard. nostalgia and hope concept.

Discovery Institute Releases National Report on Homelessness

The problems linked to homelessness, including substance abuse, mental illness, and crime, are increasing in America despite untold sums of government money spent to address this complex problem. Read More ›
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 ›