In the old days these people just died. Exposure or tuberculosis or sepsis or whatever. As a society we no longer let that aspect of nature take its course, and I am NOT saying we should, but these are not “unemployed” people. This is not a problem with the economy.
These are people with mental illness compounded by substance addictions. They cannot function in society, really, and even drug rehabilitation means a marginal and heavily supervised existence, with relapse very likely.
Perhaps they could be coerced to work in some fashion for their benefits, but not very productively, and really they need to be institutionalized, at enormous expense, with no one to foot the bill but the public.
That’s why nothing happens: no one wants to bite the bullet on that.
So between police action directed towards street "bums", and incapacitated alcoholics, drug addicts and other mental defectives housed in medical facilities aka mental hospitals, the streets were relatively clear of the encampments we see today.
I've been saying for some time that the solution - re-opening mental institutions - won't be be implemented until proglibs spearhead he movement. That's because they were the ones who advocated shuttering the facilities in the first place. But, as a ironic twist of cosmic fate, who bears the brunt of these misguided policies?
Proglibs. Progs are the ones suffering the most, and it will be they, and they alone who, after their collective 'come to Jesus' moment, who will initiate a return to normalcy. And thus the long redemption arc by which emotional libs are forced to confront their poorly thought out schemes of yesteryear will finally mature in this regard as they push for new instititions.
Couldn’t agree more.