Sunday, December 26, 2021

We don't have a problem with Homelessness. We have a problem with Mental Illness.


Any human with a brain can see that certain politicians are choosing to conflate two, slightly related problems: Generic "Homelessness" and Homelessness complicated by mental illness and/or substance abuse.

Generic homelessness is usually a temporary condition and responds well to standard ways of addressing the problem.

Homelessness complicated by mental illness and substance abuse is by far the more intractable problem. Treatment methods are ineffective. In many cases, the treatment is ineffective because the patient chooses to not comply with the therapy. Since many of the patients are paranoid or oppositional or untethered from reality (that IS their disease) noncompliance should come as no surprise.

The de facto system for addressing homelessness complicated by mental illness and substance abuse is for the victim to engage in antisocial behavior that breaks the law. The "victim" enters the criminal justice system and part of the judgement involves random drug tests, mandatory parole/therapy attendance, proving med compliance. Basically, they are forced into complying with their treatment plan.

If that level of treatment proves to be insufficient, then the "victim" is incarcerated. They have three-hots-and-a-cot. They will be counselled and medicated. It will not be optional. Then released back into the community.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

This treatment plan is rife with issues. It is expensive. It is not very effective although it is far more effective than doing nothing. It is also not very fair to the victim in the sense that they need far more structure and repetitions than bouncing from the slam, to the streets, to the tent by the river offers.

But the key point is that Police and the Criminal Justice system are the only thing that provides the guard-rails to the behaviors of the severely mentally ill and in many/most cases, the only thing that forces them to be compliant with their treatment plans. Without those guard-rails, there is nothing between the mentally ill person and the abyss.

To "Defund the Police" is to remove the only, robust pathway many of these "victims" have.

One path that is very unpalatable to Progressives was to offer the young whackadoodle a chance to enter the military rather than go to jail. Plenty of structure. Plenty of immediate feedback when when they screwed up. Plenty of 'community' to help the screwball straighten up and fly right (code for a soap party). Plenty of physical activity to channel and modulate fight-or-flight responses.

In many ways, this option was ideal.

The gritty truth is that "Homelessness" is not about the availability of housing. It is about bad science creating poor treatment plans for sick people*. If Homelessness were really about lack of housing, then AOC would be overjoyed if Conservatives rented the units on either side of AOC's housing unit and installed men just like those shown in the picture.

*Study"High-income countries are significantly more likely to have high number of mental health professionals, mental health policies and legislation, independent mental health authority and suicide prevention programs. These mental health system indicators demonstrated significant and positive association with suicide, suggesting that countries scoring high on these factors have higher odds of being categorized as high suicide risk countries." (Interpretation: Standard treatment protocols for mental illness MIGHT make the patient sicker or deader suggesting that standard treatments are gravely flawed.)

Study: Not only can homelessness be a consequence of mental illness, but a homeless life may cause and perpetuate emotional problems. To sort out these variables, it is necessary to distinguish among the various categories of psychiatric disorders. The major mental illnesses, principally schizophrenia and the affective disorders (bipolar and major depressive disorders), are unlikely to result from the trauma of homelessness. Rather, they cause a level of disability and impaired social functioning in some people that, in the absence of adequate treatment and support, may lead to homelessness, which will then exacerbate these conditions (Fischer and Breakey, 1986).

Personality disorders are not considered "major" mental illnesses because reality awareness is maintained; nevertheless, these disorders are manifested by a person's long-standing inability to deal with the routine demands of living (e.g., as a parent, worker, or independent citizen). Deeply ingrained maladaptive behavior patterns, which usually begin during childhood or adolescence, interfere with a person's capacity to relate to others, limit a person's potential, and often provoke counterreactions from the environment. Personality disorders should not be seen primarily as a consequence of homelessness. Rather, because they impair a person's ability to cope with the demands of life and the expectations of society, they may contribute to the factors that cause certain people to become homeless.


  1. I volunteer at a shelter one day a week for the past year and a half. You need to be sober to live there but we feed the street people lunch everyday. That is my job. Roughly 20-25% of this group are junkies. They have no interest in getting sober. My guess is 50-70% have severe emotional or mental issues. When the powers that be thought it was better to have them self medicate while living outside of state care they basically threw them to the wolves. They can not make adult decisions because emotionally they are not adults.
    The last group are usually just unlucky but will work at get there lives turned around.

  2. When I blew my back out and had to quit doing construction, I got a job that put me in contact with a lot of homeless people. Everyone that I encountered was mentally ill and/or addicted to a substance. A very small percentage were violent. None of them wanted to be part of normal society.

    1. "Normal society" comes with a lot of over-head. There are different rule-sets for when you are in church, at the bar, playing football, at hunting camp, when you are talking with your boss, talking with coworkers, talking to the guy who just pilfered something out of your locker.

      The elegance of the military is that there is a much simpler ruleset. Salute. Execute. Don't offer excuses.

  3. The military is not going to take someone who has diagnosed mental issues. Would you really want someone with a screw loose, having access to automatic weapons?

    Also, people haven't been able to take the service over jail time for several decades now. My late brother did it in the early 80's. After that, it was unheard of.

    They do have waivers for convicted felons and people with multiple misdemeanors to enlist, but they are almost impossible to get.

  4. There are many excellent options in the faith based world to choose from but the commies running the country have decided that religious institutions should not be promoted or supported . The cure is in front of their eyes but they choose to ignore it . Financing the courts and prisons is much more profitable. Judge got to have a Mercedes you know . Grand Vic if you buy the gas .Gawd I enjoyed that ! Snark of the week .

  5. Peculiar, innit, that "the homeless problem" seemed to really become a problem, only after the statewide system of mental hospitals was dismantled?

    And, appeared as The! Problem! Of! The! Month!, only during republican administrations?

    How many coincidences can I see here?

  6. The whole mess started in 1963 with the Community Mental Health Act

    More here:


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