This is an article written by our Executive Director, Donald Frazier, and published on July 28, 2016. Donald writes about mass homelessness and answers important questions about the issue.
Below is an excerpt from the Op-ed:
Where Does Mass Homelessness Come From?
Mass homelessness was not always our reality. Poverty has always existed but poor people scraped by with shared resources, in whatever living arrangements they could afford: today’s reality of mass numbers of people on our streets is the result of specific policy decisions. The deterioration began when affordable housing began to evaporate when the Reagan administration slashed funding: federal spending on housing assistance was reduced by 50% between 1976 and 2002. At the same time, gentrification sped up, with cities ditching cheap housing like single room occupancy units, replacing them with more expensive housing. The units being built were more often co-ops and condos for ownership instead of rental units. Federal incentives to build affordable housing all but dried up. Add to that the HIVAIDs crisis, the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, cutbacks to the social safety net, and the rise of mass incarceration with difficult barriers for reentry populations, and you have today’s crisis.
Read the rest of the Op-ed here: https://www.berkeleyside.org/2016/07/28/op-ed-confronting-the-causes-and-solutions-of-mass-homelessness