In our opinion: Utah must get the homeless solution right

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  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    Dec. 13, 2018 11:19 a.m.

    Socialism, and Marxism/Communism hasn't work anywhere. Even the EU and Sweden are experiencing the negative results of Socialism. Brigham Young experimented with Socialism, it was called the united order.( In fact their is a town on highway 89 in southern Utah named "order vile), and it failed and was soon abandoned.

    It's amazing that these "Ism" are even being debated. If you want to live in a Socialist , Marxist/Communist society, then please feel free, to move to Cuba or Venezuela they are wonderful places to live.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 13, 2018 10:48 a.m.

    Tell us specifically how Marx fixes Homelessness. And show us somewhere Marx did that.

    Most chronically-homeless people in USA are not homeless because they used to work for GM. They are homeless because they have a drug problem, don't show up to work, or mental problems and can't keep a job, or they drop-out of school and have no work skills. Many homeless people choose/prefer the transient lifestyle. Marx doesn't fix that. And that's part of the problem for chronically homeless people on the streets of SLC. Marx can't fix that.


    Homeless shelters are not the solution. They are the safety-net, they just treat a symptom, but they don't solve the core-problem.

    If you live in a homeless shelter you can't stay there all the time. They kick you out during the day. So you are on the streets with nothing to do. If you don't have a job or anything to do all day every day you have all day to stress and get into mischief... it can make your problem worse (if you get depressed enough that you decide to self-medicate with drugs or booze).

    Maybe we need service-projects they can work on all day if they don't have a job? That could help keep them out of mischief.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 13, 2018 10:29 a.m.

    @SC Matt "Marx was let in to functioning societies, and it ruined them."

    You mean like Czarist Russia and a hopelessly exploited (by the British) China?

    I realize I am beating a dead horse in trying to convince you Marx has something important to contribute to so-called mainstream economics. Most do not know who Marx actually was (dictator of Russia, right?). And most know little economics (even mainstream) and know little about who's who in economics.

    Marx's theory of surplus value is critical in dealing with all manner of economic problems, including and especially those who are completely down and out, the homeless.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 13, 2018 10:18 a.m.

    RE: "All hired labor is vulnerable, and threatened with homelessness. Witness the GM factory workers"...
    Just because a job ends at one plant doesn't mean another job isn't created at another plant.

    What do you want GM to do, keep making cars that people won't buy in 2025? They need to shift operations, build new plants, and start getting ready to make more electric cars, and less internal combustion engine cars.

    When GM or Ford closes a plant, they open a newer/better one somewhere else. The jobs don't disappear, they move.

    If they just closed plants, and never open new ones... they would be out of business. But they are still making cars.

    Even when automation is introduced... new jobs in software, hardware, and operators of the automated equipment are created.

    Does Marxism mean workers never have to adapt, learn new skills, or move?

    Do the GMs and Fords in Marxist countries never close plants, or open new plants?


    RE: "Economics must let Marx in to help"...
    How would Marx fix this?

    They have more poverty in Cuba, Venezuela, and Brazil than we have in America. And they let Marx in to help.

    Didn't fix their problems... did it?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 13, 2018 9:46 a.m.

    RE: "Utah must get the homeless solution right"...
    I don't know that there's one "Right" solution to homelessness.

    Homelessness and the reasons and the solutions depend on the individual. So there's no singular solution for it that fits all people or situations.

    It's also not something we can completely solve. The solution is more treating the symptoms than curing the disease.

    When treating the symptoms there's also no singular solution that works best for all people. We need to have compassion and do the best we can. But there's no recipe or solution that works for all people.

    So if we are doing the best we can... we should be OK with that, even though it won't totally remove or fix the whole problem.

    The person/family in the homeless situation also needs to make changes to solve the problem. If nothing changes, whatever you do will only be a temporary-fix, and they will be back homeless again pretty quickly. We need to help them and encourage them in their efforts to make those changes.

    We need a safety net to catch them (shelters). But the "Solution" is more than shelters. That's just the net to catch them when they fall. The "Solution" is more complex.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 13, 2018 7:33 a.m.

    All hired labor is vulnerable, and threatened even with homelessness. Witness the GM factory workers who are being turned out in their 50's. They may not be able to afford a conventional retirement. What then? The entire labor relationship demands re-evaluation. But we don't have the collective intellectual ability to do it. Economics must let Marx in to help.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Dec. 13, 2018 6:47 a.m.

    Marijuana is an addicting drug. Perhaps not as addicting as heroin. It does no one any good. Especially dangerous for children and teens.
    I heard one person say Las Vegas gave the homeless a free bus ticket to SLC. Maybe curing the homeless situation will attract more homelesss?
    Capitalism is not the cause of poverty. In the past 20 years or so due to the use of capitalism(private ownership of business) the world poverty rate has declined from one in four to one in twenty. You may be sure under socialism all become poor.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Dec. 13, 2018 6:33 a.m.


    "Until it lets Marx in, it will spin its wheels"

    Marx was let in to functioning societies, and it ruined them.

    USSR: Dead. It was stuck in the 1920's until they modernized (and became Russia again) in the 80's and 90's.

    China: Loss of personal freedom so bad that they actually enforced the evil one-child policy. Clueless and destructive.

    Venezuela: Oil rich, but broke in all other ways. Can't even grow enough food to feed the population. Most countries consider that a core function.

    Cuba: Not quite stuck in the 1920's. More like the late 1960's. Sure, "everybody" has a job, but living conditions are worse than somebody here making minimum wage.


    Regardless of the society, capitalist or socialist, there needs to be a work requirement if you offer benefits sufficient to cover basic needs. Socialist countries don't work at all without it, and a lack of a work requirement leads to other disfunctions in capitalist countries, such as the huge wealth and income inequality that many liberals complain about.

  • bluesman503 Riverton, UT
    Dec. 13, 2018 1:00 a.m.

    No country that cannot feed its hungry, house its homeless, or provide medical care for its sick can lay claim to being a civilized society. The first and most fundamental step is providing free academic and trades based education of equal and high quality to everybody for his or her entire lives. The more people learn the better able to contribute to their society.

    Healthcare should be a civil right and not only a privilege of the wealthy. Does anybody really think our healthcare system will survive the second coming? How many more healthcare providers could we have if education was free regardless of age or financial ability?

    The homeless need housing first above everything else. In a well-educated society that provides high-quality healthcare, the homeless population will obviously be vastly reduced from present levels. Those that are still homeless are not well served by the present meager resources available to them. They need housing. We should build apartment buildings that include all the necessary ancillary services onsite to house them in.

    We are either all in this together or we are not. We are either our brother’s keeper or we are not.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 1:56 p.m.

    The "tough love" approach seems to be very effective. A tier system as suggested by DN subscriber makes sense. Separate out those who can be lifted out of poverty; cull the criminals ( this may require legal proceedings especially in government-run programs ); have separate facilities for recidivists, who cannot escape (non drug/crime )their condition; vi, mental illness, etc.. Can government use these methods and actually do and adhere to them; or are there regulations or laws that prevent it. @ Atheist - Some philanthropies fund Public media ( TV/radio ); they certainly could shift that money to helping the homeless. Religious charities are already stretched pretty thin; somebody would suffer if their assistance were shifted to others. Soup kitchens for one.

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 1:44 p.m.

    Diligent Dave - Logan, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:04 a.m.
    It would be helpful for the public to know what percentage of those who are homeless have chemical addictions (alcohol, opioids, meth, marijuana, etc).

    Dillgent Dave- Marijuana not addictive.

  • Flipphone Sandy, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 1:37 p.m.

    Until people stop making bad life decisions, homelessness will never go away. Also, their are some who have choose the homelessness life style as weird as that may sound.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 1:22 p.m.

    " Utah must get the homeless solution right,"

    Well it can't, because it is embedded in a capitalist system whose foundation is profit coming from the exploitation of labor, forcing people to the bottom. I fear for my grandchildren. What if they should become homeless? It could happen. Only a new socialist system has the prospect of protecting them. Of course that could fail too.

    The economics profession must step up and help. Until it lets Marx in, it will spin its wheels, being useless, as useless as this opinion piece.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Dec. 12, 2018 1:03 p.m.


    "So many commenters criticizing government... but nobody is stopping private, charitable organizations from solving this problem! So why haven't they? "

    They have. Oh, not completely of course, because human choice is involved.

    There's a wiki page that gives details on the Doe fund, which has been very successful. It's designed for prison parolees, and reduces re-arrest by about 50% for graduates.

    However, since it's a successful program, you will notice that they have rules. Some people here have called rules "tough love."

    Some of the rules for this program are random drug tests and abstinence from drugs and alcohol. They must also forgo any entitlement programs other than Medicaid.

    Oh, and there's a work requirement. The first job they do is clean sidewalks. With a broom, and a big rolling bucket. But they then transition to other things, like security, driving or pest control.

    But when people suggest similar rules for government programs, they meet a lot of resistance.

    It's almost as if people are more interested in feeling good about helping everybody through the night instead of helping them change their life.

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 12:22 p.m.

    Here's my 2 cents: close all the homeless shelters, close the free food lines, and make people who are actually in need, work for their welfare assistance. You built it and they came from 5 states in every direction, as we all knew they would. The only "solution" to the homeless problem is make them work for their handout. They will go back where they came from or to california where being homeless & living off the taxpayer is a common, accepted way of life.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 11:42 a.m.

    "What if government is NOT the answer here?

    What if charitable groups, like the owners of the D News, are the real answer to the homeless problem?"

    So many commenters criticizing government... but nobody is stopping private, charitable organizations from solving this problem! So why haven't they? What are the Churches and private philanthropies doing with all the billions of dollars they take in each year?!

  • golf tooele, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:55 a.m.

    Homeless = Drug addiction that is the problem that is where the answer lies. So why don't we just legalize drugs and everyone will be happy. We're all adults, drugs sex and homelessness what a wonder world.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:21 a.m.

    As long as we rely on counting how much is spent and how many beds are provided the problem will never be fixed.
    First- the economic homeless (a tiny minority) can be helped with existing programs and should never get anywhere near the "other homeless."
    Second- Sort out the addicts and criminals and treat them as law enforcement problems, requiring tough love, locking up, prosecution and rousting from their various spots blighting the community.
    Third- Sort out the mentally ill and get them into compassionate and safe surroundings. Yes, this is a problem due to court rulings saying you cannot do that. In that case, drop them off at the judges' neighborhood and let them cope with it.
    Fourth- Every handout must come with a work requirement- picking up trash, washing dishes, doing laundry, shoveling snow, cutting grass, etc. No work- no food or shelter-just like for taxpayers.

    The solution to "homelessness" is not providing "night care" for addicts and mentally ill and allowing them to do as they please during the day.

    Tough love is tough, and will undoubtedly attract the ire of the ACLU folks- who are welcome to adopt as many homeless as they want to.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 9:04 a.m.

    It would be helpful for the public to know what percentage of those who are homeless have chemical addictions (alcohol, opioids, meth, marijuana, etc). It would also help to find out how many nuclear families (that are currently homeless) are in the mix. Also, know what percentage have porn addictions would be helpful to know.

    Among those with these addictions, it would be helpful to know how long individuals & families have been continually homeless, and for how long.

    The cycle appears to be those who become chemically dependent, and then lose either homes or apartments or rooms they have with relatives & friends, are so chained to their addictions, that they will repeatedly succumb to 'feeding' those addictions in lieu of maintaining proper shelter, food, etc.

    We seem to be at a point (& have for some years now), where in order to disrupt the chemical dependency/crime cycle, perhaps permanent incarceration may be the only ongoing solution.

    Societally, we shudder at using very strong measures to deal with perhaps much stronger addictions. I contend we molly coddle far too many far too long. Many die & many lives are ruined. But truly tough 'love' escapes us as a civilization.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 8:44 a.m.

    What if government is NOT the answer here?

    What if charitable groups, like the owners of the D News, are the real answer to the homeless problem?

    Government creates a bureaucracy to manage the project...then proposes ANOTHER one to keep score, as they are doing here by suggesting more resources for an MIS to make auditing possible.

    Government cannot implement tough love.

    Clearly, the money spent is an outrageous amount, compared to the size of the problem. You could build a mental hospital for what we spend on the problem in just a couple of years.


  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 8:24 a.m.

    One can constantly look for a solution but one cannot find what doesn't exist. People make choices and this is where they want to be, not all for sure but many. Help those who ask for help but the rest, who knows?

  • emb Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 7:27 a.m.

    Glad to see efforts that show we care but state audit is right on target.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2018 6:04 a.m.

    There ought never to be any problems with drugs or alcohol in any shelter for the homeless. For a good program that actually works, we need look no further than the program offered at The Good Shepard shelter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which searches all entrants for contraband before allowing admission to its shelter. At the Good Shepard, they also have a "one strike and you're out" policy -- meaning that if you do manage to smuggle drugs or alcohol into the shelter, and get caught, you will be banned FOR LIFE from the shelter. That's a large price to pay, to be sure, but it results in very few offenders.