Gimme Shelter

It’s not that people in California don’t care about homelessness or that the state, cities, and non-profits aren’t willing to spend the money to address the issue. In the past four years, California has spent a whopping $17.5 billion to combat the problem. It’s an oversimplification of a complex situation, but it’s worth considering that “with $17.5 billion, the state could, theoretically, have just paid the rent for every unhoused person in California for those four years, even at the state’s high home costs.” Of course, for that to work, the state would need a lot more available affordable housing. The big question is how can we spend so much on the homeless issue and, in places like California, still see an increase in the overall number of homeless? NPR offers up four reasons why there’s no end in sight. But it’s also worth considering how we got here. The pandemic held up a mirror to America’s flaws and the biggest one was laid bare: The wide and growing economic divide. It’s the root of so many of the country’s problems and it’s obviously related to this one.

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