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416 pages, Hardcover
First published October 12, 2021
“The annual revenue of Jennifer Friedenbach’s Coalition on Homelessness, the most influential homelessness advocacy organization in San Francisco, was just $656,892, according to its most recently available tax filing. To put that number in context, consider that the annual revenues of the Nature Conservancy and the National Rifle Association were $1.2 billion and $353 million, respectively, in 2018.”
There are so many layers of organizations and people who profit from homelessness and addiction that there seems to be no clear way out from this profligate waste of misdirected money. Poverty is an industry.What does work? Contingency management, rewards for good behavior; (you remember operant conditioning from Psych 101) and holding people accountable. And while there is a long history of the self-help genre in CA, progressives "condemn similar self-help thinking in political life as 'blaming the victim'. Why is that?" (140). Ay, there's the rub.
"black criminal violence was the product of the southern-male honor culture that, among black men of lower socioeconomic status, manifested as a violent response to petty insults, sexual rivalries, etc. Since African Americans interacted socially with other persons of color much more than with whites, the victims of such honor-culture assaults were overwhelmingly black. This violence continued when African Americans migrated to the North. Indeed, it escalated in the northern cities, where there was greater freedom and less oppression."
"I am not unfamiliar with radical politics. As a socialist youth in the late 1980s I had read books by America’s most famous anarchist, Noam Chomsky, excoriating US imperialism in Latin America. From 1996 to 1999, I worked with eco-anarchists seeking to save old-growth forests in California and the Pacific Northwest. And in 1999, I protested alongside so-called black bloc anarchists against economic globalization in the streets of Seattle. While I knew anarchists wanted to abolish government, it never dawned on me that a major city government would actually participate in its own abolition. What was going on?"
"How and why do progressives ruin cities? So far we have explored six reasons. They divert funding from homeless shelters to permanent supportive housing, resulting in insufficient shelter space. They defend the right of people they characterize as Victims to camp on sidewalks, in parks, and along highways, as well as to break other laws, including against public drug use and defecation. They intimidate experts, policy makers, and journalists by attacking them as being motivated by a hatred of the poor, people of color, and the sick, and as causing violence against them. They reduce penalties for shoplifting, drug dealing, and public drug use. They prefer homelessness and incarceration to involuntary hospitalization for the mentally ill and addicted. And their ideology blinds them to the harms of harm reduction, Housing First, and camp anywhere policies, leading them to misattribute the addiction, untreated mental illness, and homeless crisis to poverty and to policies and politicians dating back to the 1980s..."
"...Others point to the fact that Governor Reagan in 1972 signed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, which aimed to significantly reduce involuntary hospitalization of the mentally ill.3 California’s mental hospitals closed and by 2019 there were 93 percent fewer patients in California’s mental institutions than their peak, sixty years earlier, when adjusted for population growth.4 The rest of the United States saw a similar decline.5 If the United States still hospitalized its mentally ill at the same rate it did in 1955, its mental health institutions would house almost 1.1 million people any given day. Instead, they house fewer than 50,000 patients.6However, Reagan was not to blame, he says:
Many of the mentally ill discharged from state hospitals went to live in neighborhoods like the Tenderloin, where they mixed with people with serious alcohol and drug problems.7 On a single day in late June 1972, Agnews State Hospital released over 3,800 patients into the San Jose area, creating a “mental health ghetto.” Local mental health service providers were forced to quickly convert vacant buildings into supportive housing.8 About one-fifth of the homeless on Skid Row in Chicago were mentally ill. The “new,” post-1980 homeless had 50 percent more chronic mental illness than the old homeless.
Based on a review of multiple homelessness studies from major US cities, one researcher estimates that one-quarter of the homeless had been patients in mental hospitals and one-third showed signs of psychosis or affective disorders.9"
"While it is true that, as California’s governor, Reagan oversaw the closure of mental hospitals, he didn’t start deinstitutionalization. It began nationally in the 1930s, mostly to save money.10 The closure of California’s mental hospitals began in earnest in the 1950s, more than a decade before Reagan became governor.11 The mptying of state mental hospitals continued at the same rate between 1959 and 1967 under a Democratic governor as it did under Reagan. By the time Reagan took office in 1967, nearly half of the patients in California’s state mental hospitals had already been released.12
As for the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, it was a creation of civil libertarians, mental health professionals, and antipsychiatry activists, sponsored by two Democrats, and passed in a 77–1 vote. It would have passed even had Reagan vetoed it.13 And while Reagan, as president, cut over 300,000 workers from Social Security Insurance and Social Security Disability Insurance, he reversed his cuts just a year and a half later, and by the end of his presidency, nearly 200,000 had won back their benefits.14
In reality, it was a Democrat who got the deinstitutionalization of psychiatric hospitals rolling..."