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Commentary By Judge Glock

There’s a Reason the Homeless Flock to San Francisco

Public Safety, Cities California, Homelessness

A welcoming environment for camping and drugs attracts many from out of town and then keeps them on the streets.

Many advocates claim that providing a welcoming environment for camping and drugs doesn’t attract the homeless, and that only more subsidized housing can solve homelessness. San Francisco shows the folly of those arguments (“Why San Francisco Is a Homeless Mecca,” Review & Outlook, Aug. 7). According to the city’s own statistics, almost 30% of the homeless moved there after they had already lost housing. Another 17% lived in the city for less than a year before becoming homeless. As Mayor London Breed admits, one reason people are coming is easy access to drugs.

The claim that enough subsidized housing will solve the homelessness problem is belied by San Francisco’s efforts. In the past 15 years, the city has created more than 7,000 permanent housing units, enough to house every homeless person at the beginning of the period, but the problem has grown worse. That 11% of the homeless population was already living in subsidized or government housing before becoming homeless—again, most likely—shows that more housing is insufficient to stop the crisis.

Continue reading the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal (paywall)


Judge Glock is the director of research and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at City Journal. 

Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images