Are We $10 away from Solving Homelessness?

The question was Tweeted "vwould (sic) you support a regional levy (10$ per household) to help end homelessness?" to the Victoria people.
That's one of those great questions: "Would I pay $1 to win $1 million?" Duh! Of course I would pay $1 to get a million. Moreso, I would pay $10 if that was all that it took to end homelessness and the suffering of the homeless. But just as I'm not going to make a million-to-one return on my dollar, $10 isn't going to end homelessness and it's ridiculous to think so.
Homelessness is like the common cold. There are a hundred varieties so one solution isn't going to do it.
As I said before, there are the dilettantes-- children of well-to-do locals who are downtown because it's hip (everybody hates a tourist). There are dilettante homeless: those who summer here like its the soup kitchen version of the Hamptons. There are the mentally ill: budget cuts and the mainstreaming of mental illness has made institutionalizing them unlikely.
There are drug addicts who can't hold it together. In a recent TV News piece, they showed a woman smoking up
crack 5 times in a single day until the view of a video camera. At $5+/rock and a minimum of five smoke-ups in a day: she's spending $750 per month on crack, which is comparable to the going rent in town for a bachelor suite. So, she's not poor: she's a drug addict with a healthy amount of money.
There are people who are down on their luck. Usually, you think this is all of the homeless population, but it's actually just a portion. We need a proportional response to the faces of homelessness to address them with financial aid, drug treatment, forced relocation and in some cases they need to be charged with the crimes they commit.

What would $10 do to end homelessness? It would throw a million dollars a year at the problem. Scenario 1: Let's assume that there's no infrastructure in the way to siphon the cash and every dollar goes into the pockets of the poor. There are an estimated 750 homeless in Victoria. Evenly distributed, they would get $1330+ per year or about $111 per month in benefit from this levy. That's not even 1/6 of a crackhead's habit, so how could it help?
Scenario 2: Affordable Housing. Condos are going for about $250,000 in Victoria. Let's assume that we can make affordable housing for $100,000 per unit. Your million dollars a year will pay for ten of the homeless people to become homey. Cue the slow clap: at this rate we'll solve homelessness in just 75 years.
Scenario 3: Let's say 1/3 of the homeless are drug addicts and we're going to round them up, tie them down and treat them. First off, it's a massive violation of civil liberties. Second, people who don't want to clean up, will relapse. So, we dole this money on the 250 drug addicts who need this million dollar levy. At $4000 per head, let's hope the drug treatment takes the first time around, because drug beds and trained professionals are expensive. If you want to solve the problem, you don't hire discount caregivers to stretch the money.

A million dollars a year will not go very far. But this does beg the question: there are a 100,000(+/-) residences in the CRD. Where are the hundreds of millions of dollars in municipal taxes, parking, fees, fines and levies going now? Could the City of Victoria and the other municipalities help out the homeless with what amounts to less than 0.5% of the budget? Why are we getting hit up for yet another levy? If homelessness is important, maybe some of the other shopping spree items (sewage treatment, Blue Bridge, etc.) could be slowed down to make the funds available.
I think we'll be lucky if we get to the end of the Victoria Mayor's term without being poorer than the homeless at the rate he's spending our money. It all reminds me of the Burnside Gorge Community Center. He cut the ribbon with a lot of hooplah and showed off the big screen TVs. Two weeks later, the TVs were stolen. Two weeks after that, I visited the site for a birthday party: the doors were locked (no money for staffing?) and there were builders liens taped to the front window. Will I drive up to the City of Victoria border one day and see the same?


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