Across the state of California, local governments have shifted from a more personalized approach to homelessness that respects the dignity of the individual to a one-size-fits-all program that is euphemistically called: “Housing First”. The Housing First program dehumanizes its beneficiaries through treating them as objectives of the system rather subjects, protagonists in their own story. Unfortunately, this program has resulted in a redirection of funds from organizations that have demonstrated success helping people leave homelessness and rise out of poverty towards initiatives that simply build housing.
To compound this issue, excessing zoning regulations throughout the state of California have resulted in sky-high housing costs. These two elements, combined together (housing without expectations and excessive regulations), are perpetuating the troubling state of the homeless in California.
The Independent Institute, through the Campaign for Housing and Human Dignity initiative, will aim to provide a realistic alternative to the destructive “Housing First” approach through:
The vast array of regulations California has imposed on housing development abrogates property rights, reducing individual freedom, while both feeding homelessness and preventing individuals from exiting it. Coupled with the destructive “Housing First” narrative, California has been placed in a dire circumstance. Independent Institute effectively highlights each of these policies and their failed outcomes, and widely promotes freedom-enhancing solutions through effective promotional campaigns and working collaboratively with the Urban Vision Alliance to support a “transformational” approach to ending homelessness. Through this program, individuals experiencing homelessness will be provided with alternative options—options that enable them to take control of their own life rather than becoming the objects of a bureaucratic system that overlooks their individuality.
Through this initiative, Independent Institute will highlight and disseminate successful, human centered solutions to homeless that can be employed both in San Francisco and more broadly.