Housing First does away with chronic emergency services for the homeless and simply puts them in homes instead. No questions asked. Numerous programs around the country show a net gain to local government budgets. The strain on emergency services improperly suited to managing chronic homelessness disappears. Studies in New York and Utah showed an estimated $8,000-$10,000 savings per person after the move to Housing First.
The rental population is composed of the poorest and most marginalized. LGBTQ+ people, convicted felons, and minorities face significant discrimination from landlords based on their status on a regular basis. Those who are lucky enough to avoid these kinds of discrimination face unduly steep application requirements, overly invasive background checks, condescension, and mistrust. Once in an apartment, renters have little power and turn over their basic existence to a landlord who doesn’t share their interest, all while managing a tenuous, exploitative relationship that could end in retaliation at any moment.
Our entire housing system today is based on banking that always creates more and more debt. This is great for the banks, but terrible for everyone else. Instead a local bank owned by the public can lend to its members at almost zero interest.
No one should be left on the streets, for any reason. But many who don’t need safety net housing still can’t afford a quality home. Public housing is a great alternative and many places around the world have proven it. It’s time for Americans to catch up.
The public has been sold on the lie that rising property values are good for everyone because they create wealth. The truth? Most people never make money from their home. In fact, it’s really only good for those making the loans and investments. Instead, as property values skyrocket, future generations get locked out of home ownership forever, and millions are put on a direct path to poverty.
Once America became a car-culture and so many moved in the the suburbs, we lost the unique character of neighborhoods and the sense of community well-being that goes along with it. Shared commitment and responsibility through housing can literally rebuild local community spirit and help each of us take care of neighbors while taking care of ourselves.