I work as the director of a faith-based homeless shelter. Housing First is the public policy idea that we should first build apartments where people can live, then worry about things like addictions and finding jobs. Case management is optional.
These homes will be centers of drug use, prostitution, and worse. The problems plaguing someone camping four blocks from where he grew up won’t be solved by Housing First because what makes people homeless isn’t the lack of a home. Homelessness is a symptom, not the disease, even in Los Angeles. My fair city of Boise, ID is the fastest-growing city in America. Guess where everyone’s from? People who are enough on the ball can do something about LA housing prices — and they’re doing it.
People can and do go from homelessness to fruitful lives when they have faith, family, and finances. Governments are not good at restoring — or creating — those things. Los Angelenos would be better off supporting private sector, faith-based non-profits. When the Housing First apartments become uninsurable in a few years, a donor can help the Union Rescue Mission buy them for 10 cents on the dollar, take the walls down to the studs, and rebuild something with a chance at succeeding.