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"There Isn't a 'War On 'Homelessness' in the United States Because There Isn't Any Money In It." -George Carlin

By       Message James Armstrong II     Permalink

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What I am about to drop on all of you are real statistics concerning the homeless American Citizens of the United States of America. Since I have been writing about the Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association (DBA) and how their statistics are made up, fraudulent, and downright dishonest.  I have never once seen any source material for any of their claims, other than their word they are not lying to us all, and I do not buy that, because lying is what they do to make money.

My source is the "Western Regional Advocacy Project Without Housing Decades of Federal Housing Cutbacks Massive Homelessness and Policy Failures."

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The source of this information is two-years-old and is still ten times more informative than anything the Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association (DBA) has trotted out there to the contrary.  This information I am presenting to all of you are real numbers and charts demonstrating the the seriousness of this problem.  It also shows the intent and motivation of those who are lying to all of you about these numbers.  Those entities attempting to scare everyone into believing the homeless and mentally handicapped (That they are directly responsible for, because they have allowed the problem to persist, and want to blame a dead former president rather than take control of the situation and fix it.) are the reason for crime in the downtown Berkeley area, when violent crime had dropped 17% the previous year.

My statistics only go through 2010, but what I am about to put up here will give you a good idea of how money is not being allocated correctly to this national epidemic known as "homelessness."

Year by year, we will see a systematic dismissal of American Citizens based solely on their economic and employment status.

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1929: "Stock market crashes and global economic downturn leads to the Great Depression."

1933: "Over 1 million homeless people in United States."

1933: "President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) launches the New Deal to fund job programs, Social Security, and affordable housing production, demonstrating a systematic response  to poverty and homelessness."

1933: "Congress enacts National Industrial Recovery Act to allocate funding for low-rent housing.

1934: "FDR launches  Federal Housing Administration to stabilize national housing market."

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1937: "The US Housing Act of 1937 establishes the first public housing program."

1944: "The G.I. Bill provides mortgage assistance programs and college or vocational education for veterans, broadening the middle class.

1949: "The Housing Act of 1949 passes with the objective to provide 'a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family.'"

1949: "US Department of Agriculture (USDA) launches Section 515 program to build low-income rural housing."

1949: "Federal government initiates urban renewal to provide low-income housing for families not served by the private market.  Program is marred by racial and class discrimination."

1965: "Department of Urban Development and Housing (HUD) is created to develop urban housing as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society."

1965: "HUD creates Section 23 Leased Housing Program as part of the Housing Act of 1965, allowing local housing authorities to lease privately owned units and sublease them at reduced rents to eligible applicants."

1968: "The Fair Housing Act of 1968 is created, banning discrimination in public housing."

1970s: "Mental health consumers begin to be deinstitutionalized -- many people with mental illnesses end up homeless or in jail."

1973: "President Nixon places a moratorium on all subsidized affordable housing production.  Congress ends moratorium 18 months later."

1974: "HUD Section 8 program replaces Section 23, marking a federal move toward demand-side rental subsidies."

1976: "HUD Budget Authority: $57.7 billion; tax expenditures for home ownership: $33.2 billion (in 2004 constant dollars).  Homelessness is not a systemic problem."

1976: "HUD subsidizes the construction of 203,046 new housing units."

1978: "HUD Low/Moderate-Income Housing Budget Authority: $77.3 billion (in 2004 constant dollars)."

1979: "USDA Section 515 program creates 38,650 rural affordable housing units."

Late 1970s - early 1980s: "Urban Renewal largely becomes domain of local governments and is associated with 'commercial revitalization,' gentrification and demolition of cheap housing stock."

1981: "President Ronald Reagan takes office and dismantles New Deal and Great Society social programs designed to assist the poor, most significantly the federal funding of affordable housing production."

1983: "HUD Low/Moderate-Income Housing Budget Authority: $17.6 billion (in 2004 constant dollars); 77 percent less than 1978 budget authority.  Contemporary mass homelessness emerges nationwide."

Mid-1980s: "Local governments and police begin enforcing vagrancy laws and passing ordinances that target people experiencing homelessness."

1986: "The Tax Reform Act of 1986 creates the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, encouraging private developers and investors to build affordable housing by offering tax credits through the IRS."

1987: "Congress passes the Steward B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, the first major federal legislation devoted solely to addressing homelessness."

1987: "Supportive Housing emerges as a strategy for permanently housing disabled people experiencing homelessness."

1988: "Rural homelessness is a growing crisis largely ignored."

1990: "Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act re-affirms commitment made in 1949 to adequately house all Americans; funding does not match aspiration."

1992: "Congress funds Urban Revitalization Demonstration (URD) in response to a National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing report.  URD becomes HOPE VI in 1999, leading to the loss of large amounts of guaranteed affordable housing.

1994: "HUD develops the Continuum of Care model in which homeless people are provided with a "continuum" of programs to prepare them to move into permanent housing."

1995: "USDA Section 515 program creates only 2,853 rural affordable housing units. The program created 30,175 units in 1976."

1996: "HUD Lo1996 Funding for construction of new public housing units halted. Over 150,000 public housing units are lost over the next 1years.w/Moderate-Income Housing Budget Authority: $19.2 billion (in 2004 constant dollars); 75 percent less than 1978 budget."

1996: "President Clinton signs Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) into law. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families replaces Aid to Families with Dependent Children, ending welfare as an entitlement program. PRWORA establishes a lifetime assistance limit of 5 years and a workfare component, forcing people into low-wage jobs without health benefits or childcare."

1998: "Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act passes, mandating that poor people provide community service in exchange for rental subsidies, unlike homeowners for mortgage deductions. Provisions of the act make it nearly impossible for public housing authorities to construct new units."

2000: "National Alliance to End Homelessness launches Ten-Year Plans to End Homelessness."

Early 2000s: "Housing First becomes centerpiece of Chronic Homeless Initiative and Ten-Year Plans to End Homelessness. Funding comes from limited HUD homeless assistance dollars rather than HUD housing dollars, resulting in the program only meeting a small fraction of the need."

2002: "The George W. Bush administration reestablishes the US Interagency Council on Homelessness -- an agency created under the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act to "coordinate the Federal response to homelessness" that was disbanded under President Bill Clinton."

2005: "USDA Section 515 program creates 783 rural affordable housing units."

2006: "37 million people live in poverty in the United States."

2007: "Federal tax expenditures on home ownership: $102.8 billion; HUD Low/Moderate-Income Housing Assistance Budget Authority: $30.9 billion (in 2004 constant dollars)."

2008: "Recession sweeps across United States and world: homelessness spikes dramatically, especially amongst families, and tent cities reemerge across the country."

2008: "The 39.8 million people live in poverty in the United States."

2008: "The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 establishes the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The goal of NHTF is to build or preserve 1.5 million units of affordable housing over 10 years."

2008: "There are 355 Ten Year Plans to End Homelessness that cover 860 cities across the country, yet homelessness is rising."

2009: "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 passes. The "stimulus package" contains $1.5 billion for Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program and $2.25 billion in HUD funding for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program."

2009: "The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH) passes. HEARTH continues to require local communities to implement Housing First with a small pool of homeless assistance dollars."

2009: "The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 passes. Title VII of the bill ensures tenants of foreclosed rental properties are given 90 days to find alternative housing."

2009: "Roughly 3.4 million families experience foreclosure -- 60 percent of foreclosures are caused by unemployment."

2010: "Foreclosure filings made on 367,056 properties in March alone."

2010: "Federal budget for discretionary military spending increases to $663.8 billion."

2010: "HUD unveils Transforming Rental Assistance, a plan to leverage private sector investment by mortgaging off 280,000 public housing units."

2010: "As many as 3.5 million people are homeless in the United States."

Sources: California Exhibition Resources Alliance, Hobos to Street People: Artists' Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present, available at: http://www.wraphome.org/index.php/historical-timeline

Department of Housing and Urban Development, various sources, available at: http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD

National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, There Is No Place Like Home: Revisiting Our Commitment to Housing the Poor, available at: http://www.nesri.org/fact_sheets_pubs/index.html

Western Regional Advocacy Project, Without Housing: Decades of Federal Housing Cutbacks, Massive Homelessness and Policy Failures and 2010 Update, available at wraphome.org

Now that's one hot political potato!  Or, if you're like former Republican Vice President Dan Quayle, you may like, "Potato e"!

Oh, and they list their sources, too.  Unlike a certain propaganda machine I know known as the Downtown [Berkeley] Business Association (DBA), who likes to do "polls" and tries to frighten everyone into believing the Boogeyman is just around the corner, in the shape of a homeless kid, man, or woman.

And what I have posted was just the tip of the statistical mountain that is the most disgraceful part of our society.  You can go to the site I presented and read even more about how our government and "elected" officials have turned their collective backs on the people who need it the most: the mentally ill.

"Have you ever noticed that the only metaphor we have in our public discourse for solving problems is to declare war on it? We have the war on crime, the war on cancer, the war on drugs. But did you ever notice that we have no war on homelessness? You know why? Because there's no money in that problem. No money to be made off of the homeless. If you can find a solution to homelessness where the corporations and politicians can make a few million dollars each, you will see the streets of America begin to clear up pretty damn quick!"

-George Carlin

-James Richard Armstrong II


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I'm a homeless student, writer, and activist... currently panhandling my way through school (and life.).

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