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Thread: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

  1. #1
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    Default Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    For continuing to explore ways to address the homeless and affordable housing issues --



    Salt Lake City is building a tiny home village with shops and Airbnbs to address the homelessness crisis- see inside

    https://www.businessinsider.com/tiny...-airbnb-2021-5

    David G
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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    That is a lovely bucolic setting SLC has sketched up, kudos to them for doing something.

    But...

    That isn't going to help very many people, I wonder who and how they'll screen the lucky few who get in there. Also, I've seen what supportive housing looks like after a few months of tenancy and it isn't pretty. People end up subsisting on the street for an infinite number of reasons, compound those by the actual degradation of trying to survive out there and you end up with a population that is in serious need of medical and psychological treatment. Where does that fit in?

    My empathy is tempered by the reality of having dealt with far too many angry drug/alcohol infused street people at 0330. Trust me, your local media outlet is whitewashing the real conditions these folks are living under.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    salt lake city as i recall, has been working towards a solution to homelessness for a very long time

    since 2013 they have eliminated chronic homelessness among veterans in their community, like 100%
    one way they have done so is to actually deed the veterans themselves homes, and not in clumps in isolated rundown parts of town but scattered throughout the city
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    That is a lovely bucolic setting SLC has sketched up, kudos to them for doing something.

    But...

    That isn't going to help very many people, I wonder who and how they'll screen the lucky few who get in there. Also, I've seen what supportive housing looks like after a few months of tenancy and it isn't pretty. People end up subsisting on the street for an infinite number of reasons, compound those by the actual degradation of trying to survive out there and you end up with a population that is in serious need of medical and psychological treatment. Where does that fit in?

    My empathy is tempered by the reality of having dealt with far too many angry drug/alcohol infused street people at 0330. Trust me, your local media outlet is whitewashing the real conditions these folks are living under.
    I share your trepidation. And I don't think they, or anyone, has nailed any perfect solutions. I'd be quite interested to hear what thought they've given to keeping such a development from turning into an instant slum/hellhole.

    At the same time, SLC has been a leader in serious thought and action on the topic. I'm speculating... but I do know that SLC has already put in place 'mixed-use' housing for homeless that includes an apartment building which also houses social service/mental health resource centers. And that, iirc, a condition of tenancy is the use of same. So I can imagine that they might put their more challenging cases into THAT venue, while reserving the 'village' for less dire cases.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Why are so many effed up 'muricans vets ?
    one of four homeless ?

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    If you go on YouTube there are several little communities like this in cities around the US and Canada. I think it's a great idea.

    Albaquergue: https://youtu.be/EUxR8RRVqRc

    Los Angeles: https://youtu.be/pHccdInYCgM

    Eugene(?): https://youtu.be/yLgW-i_ZYCs

    North Hollywood: https://youtu.be/z3cEGV5mok0

    Austin: https://youtu.be/Ife7WbktJYM
    Last edited by CWSmith; 05-08-2021 at 04:04 PM.
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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Why are so many effed up 'muricans vets ?
    one of four homeless ?
    Because FREEDOM!! And Personal Responsibility!!!!!

    Because 'don't you be raising MY taxes'. Because, as a result, resources are slim, and what there are... are poorly managed and targeted.

    Because... "When there is anaccumulation of money and power into fewer and fewer hands, peoplewith the mentality of gangsters come to the fore..."

    Because too many people don't, iIOW, care. They are too distracted by the wedge issue bloviation of the R's. They are, in some cases, too busy trying to avoid getting displaced into the lowest quintile, and maybe even becoming homeless themselves. Or more vulnerable. Or they are too busy coming to terms with (and reveling in) new wealth and increased security for themselves and their families. As the middle class continues to get squoze by laissez-faire policies.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Saw a doc about Katrina Evacuation families in SLC. In a group of about 500 adults less than 50 chose to return to NOLA.
    The Algorithm Is Watching

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    That is a lovely bucolic setting SLC has sketched up, kudos to them for doing something.

    But...

    That isn't going to help very many people, I wonder who and how they'll screen the lucky few who get in there. Also, I've seen what supportive housing looks like after a few months of tenancy and it isn't pretty. People end up subsisting on the street for an infinite number of reasons, compound those by the actual degradation of trying to survive out there and you end up with a population that is in serious need of medical and psychological treatment. Where does that fit in?

    My empathy is tempered by the reality of having dealt with far too many angry drug/alcohol infused street people at 0330. Trust me, your local media outlet is whitewashing the real conditions these folks are living under.
    On the other hand, cities that have introduced a "housing first" type of program, in which housing is provided basically "no strings," have reported excellent results, both for participants, and for reduction in costs. It really does seem to be quite surprisingly successful to BEGIN with safe secure housing as a first step toward rejoining society. Once you have housing, all the rest--jobs, health, addiction recovery, etc.--are much easier to make progress in.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    That is a lovely bucolic setting SLC has sketched up, kudos to them for doing something.

    But...

    That isn't going to help very many people, I wonder who and how they'll screen the lucky few who get in there. Also, I've seen what supportive housing looks like after a few months of tenancy and it isn't pretty. People end up subsisting on the street for an infinite number of reasons, compound those by the actual degradation of trying to survive out there and you end up with a population that is in serious need of medical and psychological treatment. Where does that fit in?

    My empathy is tempered by the reality of having dealt with far too many angry drug/alcohol infused street people at 0330. Trust me, your local media outlet is whitewashing the real conditions these folks are living under.
    I'm semi-local to you and agree that housing alone is not the answer. But part of it. That doesn't mean you should not address the other things, simultaneously.

    The model in Seattle, in order is:
    - group shelter (like barracks), then
    - transitional housing (SROs, Single Room Occupancy, a private room with shared bathrooms and kitchen) for a limited time period, then
    - permanent housing

    If you seem to be a person with no drug or psych problems, the above can go fast.

    The problem with the above is that to just get into the group shelter at some places requires a drug test and no major psych problems. So the most in need of help are not getting it.

    And part of the reason for that is penalty; If you want psych help, you have to register in the state mental health database, and then you're on a list forever. Same for substance abuse.

    "If you want someone to do something, don't penalize them for doing it." - Me

    My feeling is that psych and substance abuse help should be available free, confidential, and anonymous.

    Even still, there are many in tents or just under a blanket or tarp on the street each night, that will not want to move from the street due to psych issues due to trauma, socialization, organic, or substance abuse causes. Those are the most difficult cases, and trying to force those folks into anything would just make matters work and not last. They need to want to be helped. But we're not even helping all of those who want help. When we do, seeing that might persuade the others to come in from the cold as well.

    Also, to get into many shelters and even some sanctioned homeless camps, you need to pass a criminal background check. I don't know if this is just looking for outstanding warrants or whether you can also be excluded for some past crimes for which penalties have been paid. But if the latter, if after someone leaves incarceration, they cannot get housing, they're going to be homeless, and that increases the likelihood of them not being able to find employment, the mental health spiraling downward, and them doing something criminal. I think things like the sex offender database being public is a mistake; I understand the risks, but it means someone can never get past things they did earlier in life. If they have been released from prison and finished probation, that's it, they're out. Restore all civil rights, including privacy. Just my opinion. But no politician or judge ever got elected by advocating for the rights of convicts. Our criminal justice system is broken, along with our social system, and has been forever. Other countries like in Scandinavia do things better.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    If not for my wife, I'd prolly be livin under a bridge.

    Come to think of it, If Biden gets some new infrastructure money ,builds a buncha big new bridges, could be a twofer !

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    On the other hand, cities that have introduced a "housing first" type of program, in which housing is provided basically "no strings," have reported excellent results, both for participants, and for reduction in costs. It really does seem to be quite surprisingly successful to BEGIN with safe secure housing as a first step toward rejoining society. Once you have housing, all the rest--jobs, health, addiction recovery, etc.--are much easier to make progress in.

    Tom
    Part of my job is going into those "housing first" residences. They tend towards (to put it politely) smelly and grim, my hat is off to the social workers who work with the inhabitants. The combination of extended substance abuse and deprivations of living on the streets changes people, and not for the better. It's a long hard road back.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    Part of my job is going into those "housing first" residences. They tend towards (to put it politely) smelly and grim, my hat is off to the social workers who work with the inhabitants. The combination of extended substance abuse and deprivations of living on the streets changes people, and not for the better. It's a long hard road back.
    Indeed. I worked a couple of years in a residential treatment program for adolescents with trauma, mental health, and substance abuse issues. Sometimes, when residents aged out, they were transferred directly to a homeless shelter in a big city. I also briefly opened half of my duplex to a couple of former students, one of whom was schizophrenic. An odd mixture of compassion and, let's face it, unpleasantness--being around people dealing with serious problems is not often enjoyable. And yet, there but for random chance turning in my favor, go I. Odds of success are not great for people facing so many challenges, and there are no perfect solutions.

    What there are, though, are solutions that are better than other solutions--even if none of the solutions are great.

    I'm curious--is it your impression that alternatives to "housing first" are more effective? Or do you think "housing first" isn't very good, but it still might be better than all the alternatives?

    I claim absolutely no expertise or even direct experience with homelessness solutions--I really would be interested in hearing more from you and others with direct experience.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    I think the "housing first" solution works for some and could work better for others. We have come a very long way towards de-stigmatizing mental illness, which is good. But, at least here in Washington, I think we work too fast moving people into "mainstream" society. Even the patients are frustrated, they know they need to be inside an institution for their own safety but ther earen't beds to put them in so they wind up in the ER for a night of observation to be released the next morning and the cycle starts over again. The chronic substance abuser living on the street is in the same situation, we give them an ambulance ride to the hospital where they sober up and get kicked out after getting cleaned up and fed. There are those who know the system well enough to jump out of the ambulance when it pulls up at the hospital, a free ride downtown was all they really wanted.

    IMO we need to lower the bar for deciding when someone is a risk to themselves and society so we can put them in protective custody and deal with their addictions and/or mental illness. (The two are often paired as people self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.)

    There is a group of homeless people that really are just out on the streets from economic problems, they fall into a very different category. They might just have needed a bit of financial assistance initially but once they out a couple months rent plus security deposit and the specter of an eviction it becomes a bigger problem to get them re-housed.

    We're really talking about rebuilding the social safety net/contract we have with each other then trying to address the root problems so we don't have to use the net.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    I think the "housing first" solution works for some and could work better for others. We have come a very long way towards de-stigmatizing mental illness, which is good. But, at least here in Washington, I think we work too fast moving people into "mainstream" society. Even the patients are frustrated, they know they need to be inside an institution for their own safety but ther earen't beds to put them in so they wind up in the ER for a night of observation to be released the next morning and the cycle starts over again. The chronic substance abuser living on the street is in the same situation, we give them an ambulance ride to the hospital where they sober up and get kicked out after getting cleaned up and fed. There are those who know the system well enough to jump out of the ambulance when it pulls up at the hospital, a free ride downtown was all they really wanted.

    IMO we need to lower the bar for deciding when someone is a risk to themselves and society so we can put them in protective custody and deal with their addictions and/or mental illness. (The two are often paired as people self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.)

    There is a group of homeless people that really are just out on the streets from economic problems, they fall into a very different category. They might just have needed a bit of financial assistance initially but once they out a couple months rent plus security deposit and the specter of an eviction it becomes a bigger problem to get them re-housed.

    We're really talking about rebuilding the social safety net/contract we have with each other then trying to address the root problems so we don't have to use the net.
    (bolds)
    Protective custody: Dicey. Tons of abuse in the past, heck, currently, juvenile offenders for minor crimes and those with mental problems locked in Riker's Island and forgotten about for years. Needs a lot of outside monitoring, actual help and not just warehousing people, and be prepared to defend in court to justify taking away civil rights.

    Yes, homeless are not all the same (as you have said). People with the least emotional damage, prioritize getting in housing and employment. Not because they are more deserving, but they are low-hanging fruit; The quicker you can reduce the homeless population, the better it is to address the more problematic cases remaining.

    Social safety net/root causes: +1. Now you're talking my language.
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob (oh, THAT Bob) View Post
    (bolds)
    Protective custody: Dicey. Tons of abuse in the past, heck, currently, juvenile offenders for minor crimes and those with mental problems locked in Riker's Island and forgotten about for years. Needs a lot of outside monitoring, actual help and not just warehousing people, and be prepared to defend in court to justify taking away civil rights.

    Yes, homeless are not all the same (as you have said). People with the least emotional damage, prioritize getting in housing and employment. Not because they are more deserving, but they are low-hanging fruit; The quicker you can reduce the homeless population, the better it is to address the more problematic cases remaining.

    Social safety net/root causes: +1. Now you're talking my language.
    I think you're right on target.
    David G
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob (oh, THAT Bob) View Post
    (bolds)
    Protective custody: Dicey. Tons of abuse in the past, heck, currently, juvenile offenders for minor crimes and those with mental problems locked in Riker's Island and forgotten about for years. Needs a lot of outside monitoring, actual help and not just warehousing people, and be prepared to defend in court to justify taking away civil rights.

    .
    I agree that we have to avoid the abuses of the past, what we are doing right now though just isn't working.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    don't get me started on the idiocy of the VA. My father is a Disabled Combat Vet. He needs a new heart valve, a new hip (number 9) and he has cataracts in one eye. They keep trying to make him go to Wilmington for most of the serious things. By their rules, if you are less than 60 miles away, you have to get it done at their hospital. Wilmington is 65 miles away in a straight line. Getting there is anything but a straight line. you either have to go way out of your way south and then west to get there across the Delaware memorial bridge, or go to Philly and then go south down 95. It winds up a an hour and a half trip at around 90 miles.. without traffic. Because he lives 65 miles away, they want him to go to Wilmington.
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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    I agree that we have to avoid the abuses of the past, what we are doing right now though just isn't working.
    Is there anything that will work at scale? I hope so, but solutions will not be easy to find, I think.

    The mental illness piece is HUGE. The former student (and diagnosed schizophrenic) that I tried to help? Almost impossible to accomplish any lasting good. He was unemployed (and likely unemployable), and his pregnant girlfriend worked maybe 10 hours a week at a Goodwill store a few miles out of town. They had no car. The social security benefits that the diagnosed schizophrenic was eligible for were being held by the payee because he had no address (funny how being homeless does that), and frankly, had probably been judged incompetent to receive them directly.

    The girlfriend's family, whom she had been living with, got evicted from their rental duplex. They left it a HUGE mess, all trash and broken stuff and a pile of discards the size of a dump truck on the front lawn (I never saw the inside). And there was some domestic violence there, so apparently living on the street in below-zero temps in mid-winter was the better deal, and she moved in (can you "move in" when you're homeless?) with her boyfriend instead.

    Even the simplest tasks--finding a ride to work, finding a ride to an appointment with a social worker, following up on phone calls and dealing with red tape and bureaucracy--were well beyond their capabilities. That's not a criticism of them--they would have been well beyond my capabilities as well, if I had been in their situation. Until I ran into them at the public library and gave them a crap unfurnished apartment to live in, they were on the street in mid-January, in Wisconsin, during a year in which we had several weeks of below 0 F temps. They stayed a few weeks and disappeared, leaving behind another pile of stuff.

    They were/are facing some looooooong odds. And there are many people in similar situations.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 05-09-2021 at 09:57 AM.
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    Default Re: Homeless: kudos to Salt Lake City

    There are many thousands of other people in the same situation as your student, roaming our towns and cities, cycling from one crisis point to the next, in and out of emergency rooms and if they are really unlucky, dying of exposure under a bush or on a park bench in a snowstorm. This couple needs a place to live with 24 hour on-site supervision, counseling and medication delivery.

    There used to be homeless guy who would come by the station for a ride to the ER when the voices in his head were getting too loud to be ignored. Off he would go, to an over capacity hospital where they would top off his meds, get him stable and ship him back out. Everybody in the system knew what he needed was a stable place to be and get treatment but that place just doesn't exist, at least not in enough quantity to help all those in need.

    I've got a streak of libertarian in me, I don't want to make it too easy to deprive someone of their civil rights but what we are doing now seems crueler to me. Of course, I live in a place where senile old ladies fall out of bed all the time because putting guard rails on their beds is considered illegal confinement.
    Steve

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    H.A. Calahan

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