I work full time as a rideshare guy in Austin, TX. My job includes bringing people from the airport to downtown. As soon as we get close to “downtown,” either on Holly or 7th street, its apparent homeless live outside in plain view. Every major city has homeless, and everyone has opinions about them. As their source, folks use snippets on the news and generally voiced opinions as to the basis for their attitudes of homeless people. As we explore the issues, I think a level of disgust will arise in the handling of these issues.
Who are the homeless?
Should it be an easy question? Wrong! My friend Tim Pinson, from Mission Possible, tells me the homeless population falls into at least three categories: “temporary homeless,” “chronically homeless,” and “street people.” Each has different needs and operate in different cultures. The “temporary homeless” and “chronically homeless” often need help with housing and an adequate support system to stabilize and sustain them. Yet, finding a support system that meets their individual needs their greatest challenge. The “street people” have more complex issues. Examples, such as mental and addiction-related complexities, have driven them to a place where they are satisfied — to survive on the street as their home. Because this group deals with a combination of psychological issues and drug addiction issues, it complicates the services needed to bring about real change. They live outside the mainstream culture. In the past, folks could be committed to physiological help if their problems were severe enough, but that ended in the mid-’60s. Now the family unit is so broken. Most of the street people we see living in public places today are forced to fend for themselves in a society that is ill-equipped actually to offer real help. Our hand-outs give a means for them to become more dependent on our compassionate acts rather than seek the help they truly need.
Nathan Freeland, on the board of directors for the Fresno Rescue Mission, concurs with Pinson on the categories:
Chronic homelessness (paraphrased) — We see these most often on the streets. Drug use is prevalent with these folks. Mental illness is also common with these folks. Not until they seek help can there progress with them. The most common sight seen on the street are the pan-handlers. Most often, these people are either drugged up on meth or some other illicit drug. They have mental illness challenges…both of which prevent them from seeking real help. In my experience, nothing happens until they choose to seek help. Trust me, and all know where the local rescue mission or other homeless organization is. And they need more food.
Situational homelessness (paraphrased) — This is where I recommend you and churches get involved. These are people who find themselves in a bad situation that temporarily puts them on the street, sleeping in their car, or bouncing from one couch to another. This is where the church can help people because often they found themselves in a bad place, they might have slow work or at least be employable, or they’re waiting for government aid to arrive in the mail.”
Freeland continues with the following advice: “As with most churches, you can’t be all things to all people. Focus on the situational homeless and make a difference there and don’t feel guilty about not being able also to help the chronic homeless.”
Whose problem are they?
Let’s face it, as individuals, and the majority would rather not deal with the homeless. We roll up our windows and generally avoid areas where they are most prevalent. When our reaction is fear, the logical result is that we don’t feel free to experience the nightlife the host city has to offer. From the homeless perspective, jail is an upgrade from their current situation. Given this, what they for survival what matters to them. With the apathy prevalent in our society, it falls on local governments to do something about the problem.
City Governments do a good job, don’t they?
No. Certainly, public safety falls under the purview of local government. San Francisco is the worst-case scenario for bad homeless policies. Look at the result of San Francisco’s policies:
The city has a public health crisis,Two million hypodermic needles litter the street each year,San Fransisco’s street rate dirtier than “poor countries”,San Fransisco has lost $40 million in convention-related business.
Also, they live in areas that are supposed to be big commerce, high tourist, etc. sectors. Even though the homeless count makes them small, what they do in concentrations makes them everybody’s a big problem. “Progressive” city governments allow the homeless to live on the streets rather than lure big businesses with tax breaks. The result is no surprise. It doesn’t seem to bother city councils that areas become empty of rich folks replaced with street people (San Francisco again):
Now one sees open-air drug dealing,Hear the sounds of the psychiatric disabled,The smell of urine is everywhere,Property crime is high,Businesses are leaving the area for obvious reasons.
Downtown should be the signature piece of any city. City governments fail to be consistent in promoting commerce in these areas.
Do cities put their homeless on buses to other cities?
Yes, for 30 years and counting. The relocations occur from one city to the next. The Guardian started analyzing the migration of the homeless around this country. Local newspapers have investigated accusations of city X sending to another city Z. Someone tracked this crazy movement of the homeless around the country. New York is a significant player in homeless relocation. They pay for tickets to other countries . The article further cites evidence that the homeless are offered a year’s rent to leave NYC.
The Guardian performed an 18-month study tracking 20,000 homeless people from 16 cities that now use this practice. They followed 24 specific journeys tracking who supplied a one-way ticket, and who received them at their destination. 
It’s a scam in that the homeless are not welcome to return
1. “The Backwards Economics Of San Francisco’s Homeless Policies;” The Hoover Institute, https://www.hoover.org/research/backwards-economics-san-franciscos-homeless-policies; July 2, 2019.
2. “Don’t Blame Big Tech for San Francisco’s Homelessness Crisis;” National Reviewl https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/06/san-francisco-homeless-crisis-blame-city-government/; June 15, 2019.
3. “Revealed: Why American Taxpayers Are Spending Millions to Bus Homeless People Around the Country;” Showbiz Cheatsheet; https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/revealed-why-american-taxpayers-are-spending-millions-to-bus-homeless-people-around-the-country.html/; January 18, 2018
6. “Bussed out: How America moves its homeless;” The Guardian; https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/10/chronicling-homelessness-bussed-out-behind-the-scenes; December 20, 2017.