Discovery Institute Releases National Report on Homelessness
Confronting the Reality of Failed Federal Policy on Homelessness and the Need for Reform
The problems linked to homelessness, including substance abuse, mental illness, and crime are increasing in America despite untold sums of government money spent to address this complex problem.
A new report from Discovery Institute, says Congress and Executive Branch need to focus more on untreated mental illness and substance abuse to reduce homelessness, drug overdoses, jail overcrowding, and misuse of emergency rooms. Dr. Robert Marbut, a Discovery Institute senior fellow and former Director of the Federal Interagency Task Force on Homelessness is presenting this report on Capitol Hill this week.
The Institute's report recommends that Congress:
· eliminate the Housing First policy and adopt the Housing PLUS Act;
· require that supportive services such as addiction treatment and job counseling services be combined with housing initiatives; and
· revise the "IMD Exclusion" policy of Medicaid that limits care for mental illness and is responsible for much suffering on urban streets.
"The housing first policy often results in a housing only policy in many cases," says Dr. Robert Marbut, a Discovery Institute senior fellow and former Director of the Federal Interagency Task Force on Homelessness. "A more diverse policy should include treatment for mental illness and drug addiction. Congress should be measuring how many lives are improved and how many people exit homelessness, rather than promoting how fast and how many taxpayer subsidized housing are given out," adds Marbut. According to HUD's five categories of homelessness, there are almost 1.2 million adults experiencing homelessness today. Additionally, the Department of Education reports another 1.5 million children experiencing homelessness.
The Discovery Institute report asserts that the policy preference for "Housing First" has made matters worse, contributing to rising numbers of families, children and adults experiencing homelessness.
"In essence," says Marbut, "we have created an enormous federal homeless assistance program that is functionally equivalent to HUD Section 8 housing - but with no rules. The success of federal programs should not be measured by amounts of inputs - such as numbers of housing vouchers delivered - but by the number of persons recovered from homelessness."
"Only a few Republicans and almost no Democrats in Congress so far have been willing to confront the reality of failed federal policy on homelessness and the need for reform," according to Bruce Chapman, Discovery Institute founder and Director of the White House Office of Planning and Evaluation under President Reagan. "We are hoping for change in the coming Session." [more...]
ABOUT THE EDITOR: Robert Marbut is a renowned expert on homelessness and a senior fellow of Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth & Poverty. Marbut has a PhD in Political Behavior and American Political Institutions, and his career has been marked by bipartisanship having served as Chief of Staff for San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros in the 1980s, as a White House Fellow under George H. W. Bush, and most recently as the Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness from 2019 to 2021 under both the Trump and Biden administrations.