The local news must have been really boring back in the middle of July because one of the articles I bookmarked to talk about came from the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
The headline surprised me, given what I’ve seen in other news from the islands. “Homeless problem improves, poll finds.” Wow, I thought, what did they do, take them all and drown them in the ocean? Tell them to go back to the mainland and toss them to the rocks at Makapu’u Point?
Brilliant twisted math prompted the headline. On reading the article, I learned the poll did not show the homeless problem improved, and in fact could not. The poll did not survey homeless people to ask them if their circumstances were improving.
No. It asked readers of the newspaper whether they thought “the homeless problem” (whatever they thought that was) was worsening or getting better or staying the same. The dramatic result that gave us the headline was that the number thinking it had got worse in 2015 had been 73 percent, but this year at the start of the summer it was down to “only” 47 percent.
Given a three-way choice between better, worse or about the same, almost half said worse.
Meanwhile the great news at the other end of the scale was that the number who said homelessness was getting better had jumped all the way from 4 percent in 2015 to 12 percent in 2016.
So the headline, to be accurate, should have said, “We can’t tell if homelessness is at all better because we didn’t ask anyone that could tell us, but for our readers it’s 50 percent less worser and 3 times mo’ better.” (Editors note: “Less worser?” You’re killing me, man.)
News like that is coming soon right here in temperate Seattle. We are going to have mo’ better and less worser homelessness here, thanks to consultants.
The consultants, who I think should go away and won’t name until I have to, are telling our Mayor Ed Murray and the Seattle City Council that all we have to do to get all the unsheltered homeless into shelters and or housing, is to replace already inadequate transitional housing with the rapid re-housing model, which is basically just transitional housing with an earlier end date, and to cut service providers out of the loop, because what do they know?
If the idea is to get all unsheltered homeless people into shelters or housing within a year, one at a time, the rapid re-housing model would be genius. Put them all in housing for eight months. Kick them out for a year. Put them back in for eight months. Stagger the homeless people so it looks like you’re doing something for everybody almost all the time. It’s called juggling. It’s a great talent. But nothing actually stays up in the air permanently as a result. Every homeless person will just be out of homelessness three times as often, if no one gets dropped. And three times as often in.
As for kicking service providers off the board of directors at All Home in favor of only funders, well, I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. All the service providers I’ve seen do at the old Committee to End Homelessness meetings was push programs that would channel money their way, rather than address the systemic problems.
But how are funders qua funders going to address systemic problems? What do funders as such have in the way of insight into the main cause of the problem, given that the main cause of the problem is that we are giving power to people just because they can get us money, because the system is all about money and making people rich and not about creating a just society?
And how the heck am I supposed to trust these consultants to select funders that can bring insights into the systemic problem rather than just their funding powers, when so far they’ve shown no evidence of even ever thinking about the matter?
Oh, I don’t have to trust just them to select our new lords; the consultants will also have input from the mayor, the collective minds and mouths of the City Council and the remaining board and director of All Home. Those guys got it going, bruh.
So no problems, we’re sure to get mo’ better. Three times as often.