Do any cities formalize preferential homeless services to “locals”?

The Politicus
May 09, 2022 09:18 PM 0 Answers
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Homelessness is a pervasive problem in many places but seems especially concentrated in some bigger cities.

Given that many cities struggle with providing support when the problem becomes acute, do some cities formally prioritize "residents", i.e. people who had been living there previously? The notion of "resident" is, I realize, somewhat problematic when people precisely do not have a fixed address.

For example, homelessness is both severe and a big political minefield for Vancouver, Canada. But it is often anecdotally claimed that the homeless come from all over Canada, possibly due to a less dangerous climate for sleeping out, possibly due to services being available. New York City or San Francisco will similarly see homeless as a recurring political football at a municipal level.

Since a lot of the impact and costs of homelessness are local by nature, have policies to prioritize long-term residents been either proposed or implemented by municipalities?

For example, giving priority to people who can show either a formal address or utility bills in the last 5 years?

This isn't really asking whether or not the homeless are from outside (which is always a good excuse not to help). That may very well not be true at all, but facts don't always stop bad policies from being proposed.

Several years ago, L.A.H.S.A. added a question to its homeless survey that captured how long a person had been in Los Angeles and where they became homeless. The resulting data dispelled the idea that the homeless population was largely made up of people from out of state.

I am also not looking for answers solely about the ethics of such an approach either, which do not actually give any examples of even failed political campaigns to effect such a policy. I suspect that is a huge minefield and can quickly degenerate into political sniping.

Just has this been done or proposed? Or ruled unconstitutional by some jurisdictions.

p.s. I know there have occasionally been the try at the reverse, for example paying bus tickets for out of province homeless to go back to their province of origin. Which... became a big political kerfuffle.

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  • May 9, 2022