# Should Homeless Addicts Be Removed From Cities?

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26 minutes ago, npts2020 said:

I was only pointing out there ARE other options for going about things

Okay, I concede that. One charitable option has been put forward. Others, including religious ones, are already operating emergency and temporary shelters. Perhaps you can recommend a comprehensive plan to co-ordinate the efforts of all these agencies, public and private, for a permanent solution.

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I really hate disagreeing with Swansont because ( he's usually right ) I only have Southern ontario to draw my conclusions from.

The 'cost' of building a house is not just the 'cost of building' that house.
While the cost of lumber has doubled in the last two years, other costs, for trades, excavating, foundation, plumbing, electrical, etc, have not risen that much in the Niagara Region.
On the other hand, lot prices have skyrocketed in this area, during the last 5 years.
A building lot that used to cost $50000, now sells for$250000.

Unless this is park land or protected land owned by the municipality or the Province, you can forget about the 'low cost' part of your housing plan.
The only way it becomes attractively priced again, is if the land to be used is in an area that no one else wants.
In other words, we are back to relocating people away from city centers.
The economics make this unavoidable.

Edited by MigL
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Well, if I was dictator of the universe and in charge of solving the homeless problem, the first thing I would do is "slap some people up side the head" and tell them to have some regard for their fellow human beings. After that, I would see that those committing crimes like assault, bullying and theft are jailed (would need due process but since I am dictator off the universe, it is not necessary) and all others have a safe, clean place to get food, sleep and interact with staff running the facilities. That staff, at least some of it, should be qualified to determine the kind of help needed (psychological, medical, education, day care, change of venue, job, etc) by individuals and encourage them to seek out that help. Food service would be cafeteria style and housing would be simple (converted shipping containers, micro houses, or something else relatively cheap). Once somebody's problems have been addressed and progress toward their resolution has been made, they may move on to integrating into an actual neighborhood, hopefully, becoming a productive member of society. Of course, there are some few who will never get beyond the "soup kitchen" stage and even a few who will refuse any help but I would think it less expensive and better for all to just house those people rather than pay to incarcerate them for stealing food, peeing on the sidewalk or doing any of the myriad of other things homeless people do that we might try to criminalize.

I realize the above is very simplistic but also believe it is the gist of what ought to be done.

58 minutes ago, MigL said:

I really hate disagreeing with Swansont because ( he's usually right ) I only have Southern ontario to draw my conclusions from.

The 'cost' of building a house is not just the 'cost of building' that house.
While the cost of lumber has doubled in the last two years, other costs, for trades, excavating, foundation, plumbing, electrical, etc, have not risen that much in the Niagara Region.
On the other hand, lot prices have skyrocketed in this area, during the last 5 years.
A building lot that used to cost $50000, now sells for$250000.

Unless this is park land or protected land owned by the municipality or the Province, you can forget about the 'low cost' part of your housing plan.
The only way it becomes attractively priced again, is if the land to be used is in an area that no one else wants.
In other words, we are back to relocating people away from city centers.
The economics make this unavoidable.

In the US of A we have something called "eminent domain". If it was considered vital enough, the government could confiscate any land/property it wants and give the owner "fair market value" (spoiler alert, I don't see that happening in the US anytime soon). Fair market value happens to be whatever the gov says it is so it wouldn't necessarily be that expensive.

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16 hours ago, iNow said:

Well, one might learn that expressions of kindness in our culture are not just infrequently rewarded, but are for various reasons often shunned by those in positions of authority.

And just to ensure it doesn't again get missed: Where's the due process in all of this?

(last question not to you, Peterkin)

+1

I was quite disturbed by the response from the police officer. But rather than judging her I wanted to try and understand why her approach, possibly frustration, was such that acts of kindness are deemed a nuisance. I'm not in the position of dealing with these situations on a daily basis. I imagine that its very frustrating for the police, maybe they feel the system is letting things down and they see where resources might be used to alleviate homelessness rather than tackle it on the front line.

16 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Nothing. One incident in which each character, speech, act and circumstance might be judged on insufficient evidence, and I won't judge them, because they shed no light whatever on all the other incidents taking place in all the places with all the other participants.

I think maybe, certainly in my area where homelessness is very rife, incidents of petty crime are frequent and  the vast majority is due to desperate drug addicts. Where I work we have a retail outlet that is frequently burgled by homeless people, they tend to just take a few items to sell for a fix I guess. We had a liaisons police officer working with us on what initiatives we could employ to deter them from attempting break-ins. The things we implemented have worked, break-ins are very rare the last few years.

However, I still feel quite sad that though we have deterred them from breaking into our shop, what does this actually achieve? They will just move on to the next victim, maybe that victim is a person mugged in the street. In which case you end up with 2 victims, one of crime and the other quite possibly failed by the system.

Although I'm a firm believer in self help, some situations just get so far out of hand that people need support from others. After all we are all people, we are all somebody's child.

Based on the comment from the police officer in the situation I experienced it appears to me that the system is failing both the people who are suffering and the people who are on the front line dealing with it. The question is though, who am I to judge the system, what do I really know? what can I do for my community to help, and can I?

5 hours ago, swansont said:

All I claimed was that you aren’t going to be selling a dwelling for less that the construction cost, whatever it happens to be, unless there is some kind of subsidy. If someone has a net cost of $100,000 to build a house, they aren’t going to sell it for less. Not if they want to stay in the business of building houses Not only that, no matter how you present it, charity or otherwise. There will always someone looking to cash in on it. Its the old adage, nothing is free in this life. Edited by Intoscience spelling ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites 9 hours ago, swansont said: All I claimed was that you aren’t going to be selling a dwelling for less that the construction cost, whatever it happens to be, unless there is some kind of subsidy. If someone has a net cost of$100,000 to build a house, they aren’t going to sell it for less. Not if they want to stay in the business of building houses.

I don’t think this math is different in Europe.

Well you would be wrong.

We have already discussed the €1 houses in Italy.

But Mrs Thatcher did exactly that with "The right to buy scheme" , which was only fairly recently ended in the UK.

I don't know enough about other European countries to comment further in detail on them.

And you still haven't confirmed whether you are including land costs and planning costs in your costings.

10 hours ago, iNow said:

Dufuq?

14 hours ago, iNow said:

Then the weapons of the state can be yielded against the poor wretches stinking up the sewers.

It's the attitude and high anti-objectivity of the smart assed quips I am objecting to.

11 hours ago, Peterkin said:

What? I was neither cherry-picking nor contradicting; I was responding. This isn't a brand new argument: we've all heard before all the reasons homeless people, poor people, people with all kinds of chronic societal problems, have nobody to blame but themselves.

Well I most certainly call this distortion of what I actually said cherry picking with the implication very clearly being that I want to claim it is " Their fault".

14 hours ago, Peterkin said:
16 hours ago, studiot said:

Again UK experience is that a significant % will actually prefer to remain homeless and 'free', because the cost to them of conforming in any type of available accomodation is too high.

Yes, that's a phenomenon - not the biggest problem, but one that's easy to cite by people who want to prove it's 'their choice; their fault'.

Here's an article on the subject:

I think it is such a shame that this thread has become simply a vehicle for those who want to hurl all embracing mud at anyone who want to objectively, and dare I say it - scientifically - unpick what is a very complex and in some ways sad situation.

What is a homeless person ?

I came across someone recently whos is technically homeless, (Of no fixed abode) but actually lives in a quarter of a million £ boat and runs a fleet of vehicles.

I know that is an extreme case and plenty of truly homeless folk would jump at the chance to have a consistent roof over their heads.

But I don't see how solutions can sensibly be proposed or enacted without starting with a proper analysis of who the homeless are, where they come from and why they are homeless.
I know they are not one group to be lumped together  but a hugely disparate lot.

Nor am I holding UK experience out as any sort of paragons. I have already cited the grossly outdated and unfair vagrancy acts. But there are also many good goings on here and they should also be put forward.

For example the Big Issue scheme has been said by many users to provide that sense of personal dignity and worth that allows or has allowed sellers to climb out of their difficulty by their own efforts.
We had a seller in the South West who was well known and respected for a decade, who raised tens of thousands of £ for charity, yet chose to live in hostels for the homeless, moving round the SW. I know he finally quit and bought a modest property of his own.

I repeat the situation is vary very complicated.

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2 hours ago, studiot said:

I repeat the situation is vary very complicated.

I think, trying to solve the problem is only complicated because we think it has to be solved within the current economic system; which seems determined to crash into the mountain, rather than land before we get there.

The human race can afford to house and feed everyone...

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2 hours ago, studiot said:

Well you would be wrong.

We have already discussed the €1 houses in Italy.

These are new dwellings? I got the impression that they are not.

2 hours ago, studiot said:

But Mrs Thatcher did exactly that with "The right to buy scheme" , which was only fairly recently ended in the UK.

This did not involve subsidies?

2 hours ago, studiot said:

I don't know enough about other European countries to comment further in detail on them.

And you still haven't confirmed whether you are including land costs and planning costs in your costings.

Net cost covers everything.

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1 hour ago, swansont said:

Net cost covers everything.

You specified construction costs.

1 hour ago, swansont said:

This did not involve subsidies?

No it did not.

It is even debatable whether central government ever had the right to cause them to be sold, since they did not pay for them in the first place.

1 hour ago, swansont said:

These are new dwellings? I got the impression that they are not.

Where did I say any of these were new ?

All houses need to be constructed at some point in their history.

As a matter of interest some blocks of flats were sold in the north of England at £1 (I think the first was in Liverpool) for a whole blockbecause the local authority which had built them and actually owned them could not afford to upkeep them any more.

I do think, however that your comment about the cost/worth of things is extremely poignant however.

It just doesn't cover all bases.

Also it is worth pointing out that the value of a property - as reflected in its current sale price - is hoped by the owners to be greater than their original purchase price, whether they just bought it or actually built it, but may end up being less.
And that is called a free market.

1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

I think, trying to solve the problem is only complicated because we think it has to be solved within the current economic system; which seems determined to crash into the mountain, rather than land before we get there.

The human race can afford to house and feed everyone...

Yes I totally agree we have the means, but I would add not the will.  +1

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7 hours ago, Intoscience said:

Based on the comment from the police officer in the situation I experienced it appears to me that the system is failing both the people who are suffering and the people who are on the front line dealing with it. The question is though, who am I to judge the system, what do I really know? what can I do for my community to help, and can I?

There is something to learned from that incident, if we put it next to many other comments. There is a general aversion in NA public discourse - and policy? - to what is called 'enabling'. The attitude, I think, is based on the pioneer mentality, the mythos of rugged individualism and personal responsibility, standing on your own two bootstraps, etc.. This is a quintessentially settler-American attitude and it runs counter to community effort, social responsibility, brother's keeper, which is also embedded in the culture through its Christian heritage.

So, the economic organization has a lot of casualties, who are seen as weak, defective, substandard in some way. But they ought to be helped. And the social organization tends to offer heavy-handed, authoritarian, blame-splashing help, which does very little for the morale of the victims.

This problem will just keep growing, unless there is a change in attitude that's translated to votes for better policy and political action.

3 hours ago, studiot said:

distortion of what I actually said cherry picking with the implication very clearly being that I want to claim it is " Their fault".

Sorry you read it that way. (ED: I mean sincerely regretful of the ambiguity.)

I agreed with you that some people refuse the help that is offered, cited an article in support of that observation, then went on to elaborate how this fact is used by the advocated of punitive police action. The agreement and citation was a response to your post; the indictment was general, and not directed at you. (I should have separated them better.)

Edited by Peterkin
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17 minutes ago, studiot said:

I do think, however that your comment about the cost/worth of things is extremely poignant however.

It just doesn't cover all bases.

Which reminds me of the Keynesian multiplier:

Quote

Let’s suppose that I hire unemployed resources to build a $1000 woodshed. My carpenters and lumber producers will get an extra$1000 of income... If they all have a marginal propensity to consume of 2/3, they will now spend $666.67 on new consumption goods. The producers of these goods will now have extra incomes... they in turn will spend$444.44 ... Thus an endless chain of secondary consumption respending  is set in motion by my primary  investment of 1000. Acceptance of large scale homelessness is a political choice. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites I've seen the Tiny House movement also intersect with the homeless problem, in some locations in the US. Had a friend who was involved with this in its proto phase back in the 80s (he got to meet Jimmy Carter), with the construction of 200 SF cottages (very simple, with plumbing amenities shared in a central bathhouse and commons) - the homeless helped build them and then got to live in them. There were hurdles with building codes (they were simple plywood cabins) and the permitting had to call them potting sheds or similar so they wouldn't run afoul of the UBC (uniform building code). More sophisticated versions of the tiny house cluster are emerging now in a few places, and seem to have the positive effect of "house proud" for the dwellers, with them taking care of their cabins, sprucing them up, planting flowers and gardens, etc. Self-sufficiency, regardless of your country's traditions, seems to be a healing thing for most people. In any case, this movement is a reminder that we don't really need to have 1200-plus SF in order to have a home, and the economics (and carbon footprint) of the tiny houses is quite favorable. Not as favorable as tiny efficiency apartments perhaps, but they do offer people who prefer more autonomy a chance to have their own four walls and look after them. Tha autonomy and freedom is, of course, limited in that most of these communities require newcomers to get clean and not use drugs. Here's an article focusing mainly on a community in Madison, WI - the article acknowledging some of the trade-offs - as when the land is distant from amenities. Those familiar with Wisconsin winters will understand the urgent need to get people housed, one way or another. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites That got me thinking back on trailer parks. Used to be where you went when you couldn't afford a house or apartment, but still had a job. Some of those communities became completely immobile self-contained villages, with additions and gardens and fences. They still exist, but they're endangered. Will that happen to the tiny villages? One possibility: When/if Canadian and US cities get smart enough to imitate the Europeans and ban cars from their downtown, replacing them with clean, efficient, cheap public transit, there will be a lot of vacant municipal parking lots. City services readily available, just arrange the prefabs (recycled plastic; lightweight and weatherproof) in a pleasing configuration, add some deep bins of earth for vegetable gardening and move in the people. The multi-level ones can be turned into apartments; the underground ones into hydroponic gardens and mushroom cellars. Nothing will improve as long the jillionnaires abscond offshore without paying taxes. Edited by Peterkin ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites 4 hours ago, studiot said: You specified construction costs. I don’t understand the relevance. What’s your point. 4 hours ago, studiot said: Where did I say any of these were new ? New housing was implied by the post I responded to (I don’t know how you increase housing otherwise), and my comments about doing a lot of construction should have made it clear that it’s what I was talking about. If you aren’t talking about new housing then you are discussing something different, and your comments likely not germane. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites 3 hours ago, swansont said: (I don’t know how you increase housing otherwise Easy, we are doing it all the time in the UK where much of the building stock is old. It is called renovation and/or repurposing. 3 hours ago, swansont said: I don’t understand the relevance. What’s your point. Relevance to what? You made a statement I challenged it with examples from elsewhere where property was being sold at below construction costs for a variety of reasons. I also clearly admitted that this may not happen in the US, although some here seem to want to limit the discussion to the US, such requirement was not contained in the OP as far as I can see. But if, as you say, you wish to limit your discussion to brand newbuild properties only then the suggestion is that this build would be well away from existing cities and presumably on cheaper land, which is much more plentiful in the US than in Europe. I have also indicated that what we call 'planning gain' in the UK significantly adds to the total cost of newbuild. Again I don't know its fraction in other countries. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites 14 hours ago, studiot said: It's the attitude and high anti-objectivity of the smart assed quips I am objecting to. Would you prefer I submit my posts to you first for review and approval, your highness? How’s that for smartass? Your objection is overruled. 😂 2 hours ago, studiot said: It is called renovation and/or repurposing. Unless you’re suggesting that there are currently enough vacant existing homes to house the entire homeless population, then I think it’s safe to say this is tangential to the primary discussion. Sure, existing refurbed and flipped dwellings could potentially play a role in helping to house the homeless, but more new construction will also be needed. Regardless of the details, regardless of the costs, the government is capable of funding it if we make it a priority. Surely on this point we all agree and align, and if we start from THERE (instead of spiraling down tangent after tangent of “well here where I live they give 12 pounds per stone, and 17 if you have 3 books by Reagan and Thatcher in your den” silliness) we might actually make a bit of progress… strengthen an obvious allyship we share on this important issue. We can probably even save money given the economies of scale involved. There’s no one silver bullet, but the problems are anything but insurmountable. Politics are blocking this. Not economics. 2 hours ago, studiot said: this build would be well away from existing cities and presumably on cheaper land And thus farther away from the jobs and centers of commerce, thus perpetuating the root causes of the problem. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Best performers seem to be Midrises in terms of density, but not sure how we'll ever overcome the numerous barriers to have enough of them. I know personally I love having my own place now free from the issues that come alongside everyone sharing a single roof. There's only so much renovation possible for existing dwellings and typically both the dwelling and surrounding infrastructure aren't really set up to handle the added demands. WFH should reduce the load in some areas, but it'll also increase the load in others. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites On the flip-side, some people own more residences than they can occupy. Quote Rich Collecting 2nd Homes / Owning 2, 3, even 4 houses becoming commonplace.... Financial consultant Susan Bradley of Palm Beach, Fla., author of the new book "Sudden Wealth," said one reason people buy so many homes is to try out new identities. While depriving the unrich of even one identity.... and also: Quote More than 16 million homes are sitting vacant across the U.S., according to new research from LendingTree, which ranked the nation’s 50 states by their shares of unoccupied homes.https://www.nar.realtor/magazine/real-estate-news/16-million-homes-vacant-in-us Seems, like the Italian villages, they're just in the wrong place. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites And the house-flipping craze, turbocharged by various media series, has created yet another get-rich-quick scheme that depends on an ongoing shortage in the housing supply. Which means a lot of houses sitting empty, waiting for investors to renovate and then sit on until they get their target price. Longterm, I suppose we get to be more like other developed countries where more people live in apartments or condominiums, where square footage is less per-person, and where public parks and greens replace the personal yard/garden as the main place to touch dirt. We might also have to move away from wood to cheaper, fast-growing fibers like bamboo, for construction. As the tropics expand, and temperate forests dwindle, this will be inevitable. 15 hours ago, Endy0816 said: I know personally I love having my own place now free from the issues that come alongside everyone sharing a single roof. That preference is not going to go away, for sure. I hate apartment living from the very depths of my soul -- been there, done that. Why do some renters have to be selfish and juvenile barbarians? Were they feral children? Probably a separate thread there. Can't engage my rage monster on that right now. I am glad that some people seem pretty happy with apartment living - often people who don't have hobbies that call for yard space, or a woodworking shop in the cellar, or high decibels. And lack free time to keep up a house. And who have landlords with long sharp fangs, and willing to enforce noise ordinances and other rules. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites On 2/27/2023 at 11:46 PM, npts2020 said: Fair market value happens to be whatever the gov says it is so it wouldn't necessarily be that expensive. Fair market value, or more accurately, just compensation, is decided by the courts, not the Government. Not that it would make much differene in the US, as the final arbitrer, the Supreme Court, is in the 'pocket' of the party that appointed them. ##### Link to comment ##### Share on other sites Posted (edited) 2 hours ago, TheVat said: I am glad that some people seem pretty happy with apartment living - often people who don't have hobbies that call for yard space, or a woodworking shop in the cellar, or high decibels. They may be happy with apartment in theory, but who can afford an apartment anymore? Even if they can find one anywhere close to their job, people near the low end of the pay-scale spend half or more of their earnings on basic shelter, which leaves barely enough for necessities and no possibility of saving. One down-sizing, serious injury or family crisis from eviction. All the time. Quote The data shows that Canadian renters are dishing out an average of2,024 every month to keep a roof over their heads. The figure covers all types of housing from bachelor apartments to detached homes.

Quote

The [US] national index for one- and two-bedroom rentals remained flat month-over-month (MoM); one-bedroom rentals remained unchanged (0.0%) from January 2023 at $1,492 per month, while two-bedroom rentals increased just 0.1% to$1,824, respectively.

Quote

Between 2008 and 2022, the average weekly rent for private renters in England increased from 153 British pounds to 209 British pounds.

And so did the price of everything else.

Edited by Peterkin
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8 hours ago, MigL said:

Fair market value, or more accurately, just compensation, is decided by the courts, not the Government.

Not that it would make much differene in the US, as the final arbitrer, the Supreme Court, is in the 'pocket' of the party that appointed them.

Damn!! And I always thought the courts were a branch of the government. How did I ever pass civics class?

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5 hours ago, npts2020 said:

I always thought the courts were a branch of the government.

13 hours ago, MigL said:

the Supreme Court, is in the 'pocket' of the party that appointed them.

That's pretty close to the same thing.
Here in the UK, at least in principle, "just compensation" is decided by a jury of your peers.

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On 3/2/2023 at 4:45 AM, John Cuthber said:

That's pretty close to the same thing.
Here in the UK, at least in principle, "just compensation" is decided by a jury of your peers.

In the US, that is only true in the lowest courts, any appeals (if heard. Generally they aren't but when "property rights" are involved, you never know) are decided by a panel of judges, all the way up to the Supremist Court. It is usually at least 2 appeals before it reaches the Supreme Court

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On 2/28/2023 at 10:50 PM, TheVat said:

I've seen the Tiny House movement also intersect with the homeless problem, in some locations in the US.  Had a friend who was involved with this in its proto phase back in the 80s (he got to meet Jimmy Carter), with the construction of 200 SF cottages (very simple, with plumbing amenities shared in a central bathhouse and commons) - the homeless helped build them and then got to live in them.  There were hurdles with building codes (they were simple plywood cabins) and the permitting had to call them potting sheds or similar so they wouldn't run afoul of the UBC (uniform building code).

More sophisticated versions of the tiny house cluster are emerging now in a few places, and seem to have the positive effect of "house proud" for the dwellers, with them taking care of their cabins, sprucing them up, planting flowers and gardens, etc.  Self-sufficiency, regardless of your country's traditions, seems to be a healing thing for most people.

In any case, this movement is a reminder that we don't really need to have 1200-plus SF in order to have a home, and the economics (and carbon footprint) of the tiny houses is quite favorable.  Not as favorable as tiny efficiency apartments perhaps, but they do offer people who prefer more autonomy a chance to have their own four walls and look after them.

Tha autonomy and freedom is, of course, limited in that most of these communities require newcomers to get clean and not use drugs.

Here's an article focusing mainly on a community in Madison, WI - the article acknowledging some of the trade-offs - as when the land is distant from amenities.

Those familiar with Wisconsin winters will understand the urgent need to get people housed, one way or another.

The Tiny House solution works great for those who aren't severely mentally ill or addicted to drugs.  For the homeless in these two categories, simply giving them a tiny house isn't going to work.

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9 hours ago, Alex_Krycek said:

The Tiny House solution works great for those who aren't severely mentally ill or addicted to drugs.  For the homeless in these two categories, simply giving them a tiny house isn't going to work.

That 'maybe' true for the severely mentally ill, but for the addicted, how can it be true?

An addict is trying to make their life more comfortable and a tiny house is way more comfortable than the street, to have a drink.

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