On Monday, Ben Carson guested on Fox Business to talk with host David Webb about homeless.
As the Housing and Urban Development secretary sees it, letting those without a place to sleep do as they wish isn’t true compassion; they need help, and help sometimes means taking a leadership role in the lives of those receiving assistance.
Here’s how Ben put it:
“Some people say it’s compassionate just to let them do anything they want to do. That’s not compassionate at all. What’s compassionate is helping people who cannot take care of themselves manage. And If we can get them into the right setting so they’re getting proper medications and counseling, many of them become quite functional at that point.”
Host David Webb asked about in-crisis California:
“Let’s talk about resources here; you talk about state and local governments and the resources being applied. Governor Newsom of California has applied over a billion dollars to this issue. Money doesn’t solve the problem. So how do we reconcile money and resources?”
He ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie — money suuuure doesn’t solve it.
Gavin largely sees things differently: It’s Donald Trump’s fault.
Gav offered up this — dare I say — goofiness two Fridays ago:
“[I] imagine if you’re President of the United States — any leader like myself feels a deep sense of responsibility to address some of the most vexing issues in the country. In that respect, you would imagine some accountability and some responsibility to be supportive and to reach out.”
The Daily Wire wrote at the time:
[Gavin] isn’t quick to give details on precisely why Trump is to blame for the California homelessness crisis — and that’s probably by design. The “very important material” California is waiting on from the federal government is nothing more than an official Housing and Urban Development count of precisely how many homeless people live in the state of California. Newsom claims that, without those numbers, he can’t release more than $500 million earmarked to abate the systemic problem.
When asked by a reporter how he could address mental health, Newsom did a bit of the ol’ Respond-As-If-You-Were-Asked-A-Totally-Different-Question routine:
“People with behavior health problems? That’s an interesting issue, because the Republican Party, for decades, has been cutting behavior health funding, cutting brain health funding, consistently not supporting the efforts of the local, national, and state levels to do justice on that issue. So you’re absolutely right –– the President could do a hell of a lot more…”
See a whole lot more of the governor’s take on homelessness here.
Back to Ben, the brain surgeon pointed out that, if California is excluded form the stats, homelessness in America is actually dropping.
And speaking of neurology, Carson called on science:
“In science, we like to look at the facts; we like to look at the evidence. That’s what I would strongly recommend in this case. Look at other states: We have 50 laboratories, 50 states that do things in various ways. Let’s look at the ones that are highly successful.”
Facts? What the heck?
This is politics, man.
“Look at Texas and how much their homelessness has gone down over the last year and over the last five to seven years. Significant decreases because the policies don’t encourage people to sleep on the streets. They encourage people to go to the places where they can get the kind of help that will get them into the right situation. And then I have to look at the way people treat people who are mentally ill. Some people say it’s compassionate just to let them do anything they want to do. That’s not compassionate at all. What’s compassionate is helping people who cannot take care of themselves manage. And If we can get them into the right setting so they’re getting proper medications and counseling, many of them become quite functional at that point.”
Ben also noted that, despite what some might claim, the warm weather of Cali doesn’t explain the epidemic there. It’s about governmental methods, not the come-hitherness of the thermometer:
“Some of the states with the lowest amount of homelessness are quite warm states like Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia. So that is not the case. What happens is a lot of times the policies are problematic.”
He believes providing those on the street with housing is a good and well-intentioned start, but it’s gotta be followed by a plan to change lives:
“Now people don’t mean to do bad things, don’t get me wrong. You know, housing first, for instance — it’s meant to be a good thing: Just get people off the street, don’t have any requirements of them, and you’ve done your job. But I think it should be housing first, second, and third. Housing second: You figure why they’re on the street in the first place. And housing third: You fix it. That’s where the real compassion in. The places that are just applying housing first are the ones who’ve resulted, over the last five years, in a decrement and transitional housing beds of 77,078. At the same time, the unsheltered homeless number has gone up by 35,000. Do the math.”
The secretary also recognizes it’s not just an error made by those across the aisle:
“This is not just necessarily a Democrat problem; there are Republicans also who have been, let’s just say, taken in by the “Housing First” strategy and not really analyzed the complete program and what the outcome is. And you have to really be able to look at all those facts; look at at the data. Then make your decisions on that; not on ideology; that is the key to fixing this problem.”
Fixing the problem — versus treating the problem — would be a good idea.
For now, in California — thanks to an alternative approach — we have this: