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.