If you watch the news, especially with the Boise Mayoral election coming up, you hear about our homeless problem all the time.  So I decided to do some research on it, especially since Brenda and I have personally dealt with the homeless and not on a hand them cash on the street corner basis.

Fresh statistics show Idaho has about 2,000 homeless people a year.  Less than 10% of the people panhandling who say they are Vets really are, so 9 out of 10 are flat out lying to get your sympathy and cash. Now out of the 2,000 people who are homeless at some time during the year in Idaho, 14% are chronically homeless, that's approximately 280 people.  Chronically homeless are people who stay homeless.

Nationally we have just under 600,000 people a year who are homeless. Out of that number just over 30% or 150,000 are chronically homeless. So here in Idaho we are way under the national average for both people who are homeless and especially those who choose to be homeless. Yes, I said "choose to be homeless."  Looks like I just opened the homeless box.

Link to the 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress

It's time for discussion. There are many reasons the 14% are always homeless, Drugs and alcohol are the main problems. If you are using either one, you can't stay at the shelter. Then there's responsibility. Many of the chronically homeless don't want to have any responsibility.

The 14% have meals on a regular basis, tax free cash that just gets handed to them at street corners, showers daily at the shelters, freedom to roam, gather, take, whatever they can (I've seen that one first hand). Basically, they have their own little society that they are comfortable with and we empower them on a daily basis by handing out money.

I see people go out and be homeless for a week and say they know everything about it. Not hardly, you still have a place to go to after that week. For these people, especially the 14%, this is their lives.  If you ask the 14% if they want to be homeless, they will tell you to a person, they don't want to be. But if you ask them if they will change their lifestyle, give up drugs, alcohol, keep a steady job, pay taxes, and they won't be able to go where they want when they want, the answer will be different.

If we want to solve the homeless problem, the answer isn't making it easier for them to get housing, it's just the opposite. We need to make it very uncomfortable for the chronically homeless.  They need treatment in a residential setting. First off to get them off drugs, alcohol or both.  We need to make panhandling illegal and make camping anywhere, anytime also illegal.  By allowing the camping, panhandling, drugs, alcohol and such, all we do is empower the chronically homeless to live the lives they do.

I know my solution isn't going to be the politically correct or popular answer, but it's the real answer to the so called problem. We've had to give people the choice of being on drugs and living with little or no morals or having a roof over their head. They eventually choose food and safety, but it has to be their choice.

Insanity is described as doing the same thing over and over, while expecting the answer to be different. That's what we've been doing with homeless people. It's time to do something different to solve homelessness.

Your thoughts are welcome, just be polite.

Kevin Mee