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Homeless in Denver? Here’s $1,000 a Month

The Denver City Council approved a plan last week that will give up to $1,000 cash a month to homeless people for up to a year as part of a basic income program designed to help “lift individuals out of homelessness.” The only catch? White cisgender males need not apply; the program is designed for women, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, and families in shelters.

The $2 million required to finance this plan comes from federal COVID relief money allocated in the American Rescue Plan Act. More than 140 homeless people will benefit from the program, provided that they are using the shelter system.

Mayor Michael Hancock explains:

“Just as important as housing and shelter is a regular source of income for those experiencing homelessness. This direct cash assistance will help more than 140 women and families currently in shelters move into stable housing, and provide support, so they can stay housed while opening space in our shelters to serve more people.”

Here’s how it would work, according to Fox News:

“The program will be evaluated by University of Denver’s Center for Housing and Homelessness Research using a randomized control trial, which will measure housing outcomes, utilization of shelter and other homeless services, improvements in psychological health and substance use for those who opt in.”

The plan was announced as scenes like this one in Denver are taking place in cities around the country:

The homelessness problem gripping so many American cities has no simple solution. The Colorado Sun reports that when the homeless were moved into apartments, they did in fact commit less crime–but one troubling statistic remained:

“When people who had been homeless for years moved off the Denver streets and into apartments, they were far less likely to end up in hospital emergency rooms or get locked up in jail.”

But they still died at the same rate as those who lived outside…[Emphasis mine.]”

“The conclusion was that a few years in supportive housing was not enough to reverse the long-term health effects and stress of being homeless, which often include mental health problems and addiction.”

I don’t pretend to have an answer for the problem of the “unhoused” in America. Once you’ve let that particular cat out of the bag, it’s very hard to put it back. Liberal policies have largely led to this dilemma, but fixing it is proving to be exceedingly vexing. I don’t want to be overly cynical–I recognize that these individuals out on the streets are human beings–but I don’t believe handing out cash is going to solve the problem. As has been proven over and over, many people living out on the street are suffering from mental health issues or drug addiction, or both. It’s a stretch to believe that they’re in a position to handle a wad of currency without using it to fund self-medication.

I sincerely would love to believe that this time, the Left’s solution will work. But it won’t. The very definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result. The homeless aren’t the only people suffering from delusions.

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