PHOENIX – Homelessness is on the rise in Phoenix and across the country, but nowhere are the increases as dramatic as they are in Democrat-strongholds where misplaced compassion, bad policy choices, and the liberal superiority complex have created a toxic web of broken programs that serve neither the needs of the public at large, or our homeless populations.
Far from moving people efficiently from street to home (or, at least, as close to efficiently as is possible given the target population), the systems Democrats have created only serve to entrap the homeless in an endless series of government programs that no amount of funding will ever fix.
How did we get here? Courtesy of the same misplaced liberal compassion that brought us safe spaces and trophies for losers. If their programs and ideas worked, Phoenix wouldn’t have experienced a 149 percent increase in chronic street homelessness in just a few years.
After all, we’re spending more money on services and programs for the homeless than ever before. And Phoenix has been lucky. In cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle – places where Democrats have had a completely free hand to institute their programs – the problem is far, far worse. If you want to eradicate homelessness, don’t take advice from people who reward losing.
At the behest of liberals, governments today focus on “homeless support services”. But it isn’t support: it’s enabling. Enabling is the absolute worst thing we can do for our homeless population. They need our support, and – yes – our love. But it needs to be tough love.
If you have a family member with a drug addiction, do experts tell you to keep a roof over their head, keep putting money in their pocket, and blindly hope that they will change? No. The best drug addiction specialists will all tell you the same thing: cut them off, let them hit rock bottom. Offer absolutely zero support for their addiction, but complete support for their recovery. We need to approach homelessness the same way.
We need to start out with the premise that we, as a society, do not accept chronic street homelessness as a way of life. It is not a choice. It is not a product of uncontrollable circumstance. Homelessness must be viewed not as the result of forces beyond the control of the individuals suffering from it, but as the result of bad decisions that they themselves made.
In short, we have to stop accepting the narrative of victimhood produced by the Liberal Superiority Complex that defines anyone living on the street as incapable of making positive decisions for themselves. Do that and we can make real headway on addressing chronic homelessness to the benefit of both the individuals involved, and society at large.
First, yes, we have to have the resources in place to transition people from the street back into being productive members of society. That means the resources we make available will need to include a broad range of drug and mental health treatment, life skills development, transition housing, and jobs programs. Those things are costly, and we will have to pay the cost, whatever it may be (though there is a strong argument to be made that taking this approach up front will dramatically reduce the financial burden on cities over the long term).
Then comes the tough part. We have to give our homeless population a stark and simple choice: clean up or clear out. The only way to do that is by ruthlessly enforcing public nuisance, trespassing, vagrancy, and minor criminal laws to make staying in Phoenix, without committing to a treatment and life rehabilitation plan, basically impossible for homeless individuals.
The optics of this plan are a big part of the reason no city has yet attempted it – whoever is first out of the gate with such an approach will absolutely be called every hateful name in the book by Democrats. But who cares? Democrats already call anyone they disagree with all those same hateful names, and under their misguided guidance homelessness is exploding nationwide.
Cities across the country, including Phoenix, have to decide whether it is truly compassionate to allow these trends to continue, or if it is time to take a stand and start expecting our homeless population to take on the same responsibility for their own welfare that we demand of any other citizen.
We can either continue down the road traveled by so many liberal cities; a road that ends with miles upon miles of homeless encampments, crime, disease, and feces. Or we can follow the conservative path of personal responsibility, and finally see light at the end of this tunnel for the legions of people who find themselves trapped on the streets of a never-ending nightmare conjured up by liberal dreamers.