BIG LIE that just won’t die: Utah has solved homelessness


By Max R. Weller

It’s been debunked time and again, but this morning I saw the same tired old talking points in a letter-to-the-editor of the Daily Camera by Isaac Furtney, who apparently lives here in Boulder, CO. He quotes someone in a group called the Homeless Task Force in Utah, and goes on to use the same phony math about cost savings — which ignores the HUGE upfront costs of building new housing or converting existing buildings for housing the “chronically homeless” (this is the deceptive tactic used by Housing First proponents in Boulder regarding 1175 Lee Hill, which cost $8M+).

You want to have a serious discussion? Use a better, more reliable source for info on homelessness than Comedy Central’s funny guy Jon Stewart. Here’s what the Homeless Philosopher wrote about this issue back in 2015:

For a long while now, we’ve been treated to propaganda about how Housing First is ending “chronic homelessness” in our neighboring state of Utah. Time and again, I’ve pointed out two relevant facts:

1) The chronically homeless are only a tiny percentage of overall homeless numbers; and

2) There are about as many homeless people in Utah now as ever.

See the data for yourself, in the 2014 Comprehensive Report on Homelessness; scroll down to page 9 and peruse “Figure 3.1 Utah Homeless Point-In-Time Count, 2005 — 2014” (I wish I could find data organized in this way for Colorado).

In 2005, there were 13,690 homeless persons counted in Utah, 5,565 of them in families and 1,932 chronically homeless. After some variation up and down in numbers over the years, 2014 showed 13,621 homeless persons counted, with 6,312 of them in families and 539 chronically homeless. Yes, indeed, chronically homeless numbers — relatively small to begin with — have declined. But, the number of homeless people in families has increased and the number of homeless overall has remained steady.

My guess is that many of the chronically homeless simply moved on from Utah during this time, some of them probably coming here to the Denver/Boulder metro area in Colorado.

To tout this as a success for Housing First is to twist logic into a pretzel. Look at the entire picture, people. Don’t ALL homeless people count, not just the “chronically homeless”?

Boulder’s problem is that the do-gooders in our nonprofits, and up until lately city staff, have been attempting to deal with a Transient Migration, giving shelter / services to literally anybody coming from anywhere. IT DOESN’T WORK! We are shortchanging Boulder County’s own homeless men, women, and children by forcing them to compete for limited resources with drifters who have no ties to our city and county.

Far better and more cost-efficient to give these Travelers bus tickets on RTD to Denver, along with sack lunches to-go:

(These poor dogs should go to the Humane Society for adoption by caring owners.)


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