According to Nationswell in 2013, Utah has reduced its rate of homelessness by 74 percent over the past eight years, moving 2000 people off the street and putting the state on track to eradicate homelessness altogether by 2015.
How did they do it? They furnished apartments to the homeless, because they claim the costs are cheaper because it saves jail costs and E.R. costs.
“The state is giving away apartments, no strings attached. In 2005, Utah calculated the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for an average homeless person was $16,670, while the cost of providing an apartment and social worker would be $11,000. Each participant works with a caseworker to become self-sufficient, but if they fail, they still get to keep their apartment.”
Is the change in the Utah homeless rate just cyclical?
The Huffington Post states that in 2011, the Utah homeless rate was decreasing, even when the national poverty rate was increasing:
“Though a recent congressional report announced recession-driven rises in poverty rates in 46 states, Utah is coming close to achieving its 10-year goal of eliminating chronic homelessness. The solution of the state is simple: give homes to the homeless,” states The Huffington Post.
ThinkProgress wrote that homelessness fell at the beginning of 2014 compared to 2013 by 13,344 people, according to the latest data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In the annual point-in-time count of the country’s homeless population in January of 2014, there were still 578,424 homeless people.
According to the HUD website: “More than 1 million persons are served in HUD-supported emergency, transitional and permanent housing programs each year. The total number of persons who experience homelessness may be twice as high. There are four federally defined categories under which individuals and families may qualify as homeless: 1) literally homeless; 2) imminent risk of homelessness; 3) homeless under other Federal statues; and 4) fleeing/attempting to flee domestic violence.”
The “point-in-time” survey is how many are homeless at one specific point in time. For example, some people may be homeless for a couple of months. That is why the yearly figure is higher than the “point-in-time” figure.
AtlantaBlackstar.com: “Over a third of U.S. cities have begun to implement citywide bans on public camping, which is a 60 percent increase since 2011, according to a 2014 survey of 187 cities by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.”
Rep. Don Young of Alaska suggested this week that wolves might be a way to solve homelessness, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Young, a Republican, was speaking during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Thursday and objecting to members of Congress asking for the gray wolf to be a protected species, according to The Washington Post.
“…(W)e get 79 congressmen sending you a letter, they haven’t got a damn wolf in their whole district,” he said, supposedly aiming his comments at Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
“I’d like to introduce them in your district,” Young stated. “I’d introduce them to your district and you wouldn’t have a homeless problem anymore.”
Young also once said to a political opponent during a political campaign, “The last guy who touched me ended up on the ground dead.’” The website CQ Roll Call asked him about it, to which he responded, “There’s some truth to that.”
There was another incident where Congressman Young grabbed the hand of a congressional staffer at the Capitol who was in charge of watching the entrance. It wasn’t protocol for anyone to be let in the entrance. After squeezing his hand for several moments, Young let go and walked through the entrance.