The complex is part of the problem

An alert reader sends in a link to this op-ed piece, about how the red states are rejecting "housing first" policies and normalized street camping, and standing up to the homeless industrial complex. Portland and Oregon are held up as examples of what not to do.

The writer, the big-bucks right-winger Joe Lonsdale, is never one to mince words. In this column, he takes the gloves off and sums things up directly.

In Oregon, state legislators sought to grant the homeless a right to camp on public property and to sue for up to $1,000 if their tents are disturbed. This may strike some as an extreme example, but it’s unfortunately typical for homeless policy, which is largely controlled by a national activist movement. Made up of thousands of service providers, this movement has become unaccountable and has failed to make meaningful improvements in conditions for the homeless, all while docking taxpayers more and more money. In some cases, these groups have become urban political machines in their own right, with incentives to see more homeless on the streets because it means more public funding for them. States like Oregon are happy to play ball....

[S]tates should tie funding for NGO service providers to results. In many cases, homeless “charities” are politically involved activist organizations that bully leaders so they can mop up money via contracts. In extreme cases, they use money intended to help the homeless to fund protests against new legislative approaches like ours.

When my friend and former colleague Judge Glock, the director of research at the Manhattan Institute and still a fellow at Cicero, testified in Kansas, dozens of activists showed up to make a scene in the committee chamber. The activists have a direct financial stake in the current policy: if lawmakers adopt accountability models, they could be out of work.

The public expects transparency, accountability, and results from these groups; our legislation mandates that. Under SB 62, homeless-service providers funded by state or local money in Georgia will be subject to a performance audit to tie funding to results.

Portlanders who have watched in horror at what's happened on our streets would do well to heed this guy's words. As we used to say in the earliest days of the blogosphere, read the whole thing


  1. Nonprofit organizations are like mistletoe. Some like them. But, they’re actually a parasite.

  2. Portland has an entire network of "non-profit" organizations that make MILLIONS of dollars from government grants and programs, while providing little beneficial effect. If you question these hogs greedily feeding at the public trough, you will be denounced and slandered as a "right-wing Nazi fascist" and a "tool of greedy developers and landords" who "hates the unhoused."

  3. to the commenter yes, but in a way the developers love the unhoused.

    The perpetual undeclared and unquestioned 'housing crisis/emergency' means they can tell the the state to override local zoning restrictions on density, parking minimums, etc. all while soaking taxpayers for subsidized units with troughs of creative public financing.

    They love the questioned supremacy of 'housing first'.

    Multnomah county is losing people at a far faster rate than new units can be built, ironically.


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