More money, more homeless

Here is a surprise: The number of homeless people in Anchorage has increased by more than 200 people since last year.

The city conducted a week-long count in the third week of August and found the number of homeless was 1,272 compared to last year’s 1,064 – and cleaning up their illegal camps apparently did little to steer them into shelters. Instead, most apparently just moved to new encampments.

The city has spent millions over the years in attempts to address the problem, even considering a legal, publicly managed encampment as an option. In addition to government, Providence Health and Services, Weidner Apartment Homes, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield, and the Rasmuson Foundation have pledged $40 million to address the problem. But homeless numbers seem to increase annually.

Maybe the old saw is actually true: When you tax something, you get less of it; when you subsidize it, you get more. Perhaps we should consider taxing the homeless.

Kidding aside, the city appears flummoxed by the problem, as are we all, but throwing more money at it appears to be having little-to-no effect on the numbers. In fact, it appears to be making them worse.

Time to rethink.

4 Responses to More money, more homeless

  1. James October 19, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Short answer is 3 part; lower minimum wage, reduce building permit regulations, and enforce the law. Yes, lower the min. wage thru legislative action (removal at the Fed level is best, though highly improbable). The hiring of those who want to work will have one less hurdle. Reduce the regulations on builders and consider new zoning to increase available housing (https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/zoning-land-use-planning-housing-affordability) and lower it’s rental cost (Not rental control)(https://www.brookings.edu/research/what-does-economic-evidence-tell-us-about-the-effects-of-rent-control/). Lastly, enforce the current Anchorage and Alaska laws on vagrancy and all its ills. Private charity in all its forms is best as it grows the social commitment of every citizen.

    It is unfortunate, but an eternal truth is that there will always be the poor among us. Love your neighbor as yourself.

    Reply
  2. Bill Hutchison October 19, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Definitely a guide point indicating we need to switch on the mental lights.

    Reply
  3. Ray October 19, 2019 at 9:06 am

    I admit to being slow of understanding. If you can explain this to me, I would appreciate it.

    Not counting the money from the city, but only the gracious donations of $40M, that comes out to about $31,000 for every homeless person counted in the survey.

    If ADN can be trusted as a news source, then the city spends about $48K/year to deal with each of the more difficult homeless case. https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2018/05/02/anchorages-hardest-to-house-homeless-cost-50000-a-year-on-the-street-could-that-money-be-better-spent/

    I would expect that this alone would all but eliminate this in our city. Yet it grows. Help me understand why.

    Reply
  4. M. James October 19, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Make Anchorage San Francisco……
    Who woulda thought? ( or lack there of)
    I don’t care if it takes every dime you got.
    I’m gonna fix this problem.
    Kinda like putting cat food on your porch to
    solve the stray cat problem.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For information, sizing, and rates of banner advertising space we have available, please e-mail Mark Hopkin at markh@porcaro.me, or call him at (907) 276-4262.