"What fucking stable housing? There is no stable housing! My housing isn't even stable." This was my friend Revel's response then I read her this line from today's New York Times, which reports a 30% decrease in chronic homelessness from 2005-2007.
Housing officials say the statistics, which are collected annually from more than 3,800 cities and counties, may reflect better data collection and some variation in the number of communities reporting. But officials also attribute much of the decline to a policy shift promoted by Congress and the administration that has focused federal and local resources on finding stable housing for homeless people suffering from drug addiction, mental illness or physical disabilities, long deemed the hardest to help in the homeless population.This great victory is based on numbers such as this, which report that Seattle decreased chronic homelessness by 20% over 2006-2007. There isn't a single advocate in Seattle who believes this to be remotely true. While housing first works, everyone knows there isn't nearly enough. Here in Seattle, we're missing Ten Year Plan targets for housing production by half, and we're doing better than most.
This is about narrowed definitions, municipal strategies that criminalize poverty, and an eagerness to lie in the service of the illusion that things are basically OK, and that the most vulnerable are being taken care of.
I don't really fucking think so.
I was going to write s whole book on this, but my friend Israel saved me the trouble. The ED of Street Roots in Portland has a blog too, and he said it just as well as I can. Read his post, Lies, Lies, and More Lies.