A new poll shows that a full 86 percent of American adults rate the nation’s homelessness problem as being “serious” – and more than half think the situation is currently “very serious.” The sentiment is roughly the same across party lines, with 58 percent of Republican voters, 56 percent of Democratic voters and 52 percent of independents characterizing the problem as “very serious.”
However, respondents were split when it came to who should be in charge of fixing the nation’s homelessness problem. Nearly a third of respondents stated that the federal government should be tasked with addressing the problem, while 39 percent say it’s up to state governments and 15 percent believe it falls under the purview of local governments.
The poll was carried out by Rasmussen by phone during the first half of May.
In a similar poll that was carried out in Portland, Oregon, voters slammed the city’s homelessness problem, with three fourths saying it is an out-of-control “disaster.” The survey also revealed that two thirds of voters would like to see the streets cleared by sending drug addicts to rehab.
When the survey, which was carried out by the conservative advocacy group People for Portland, asked voters whether they agreed with mayor Ted Wheeler’s plan to ban daytime camping by homeless people and block tents from being placed near daycare centers and schools, 71 percent came out in support of the measures. However, the respondents largely blamed their elected officials, including Wheeler, for the city’s current state.
Portland residents are fed up by the sight of tents on grassy areas and sidewalks throughout the city. Although some encampments have been torn down by officials, they often reappear shortly afterward. Many people who live there report that the city has changed dramatically recently as a result of these problems, and 55 percent of respondents said that they no longer feel safe bringing their families downtown.
Multnomah County, where Portland is located, has seen its homeless numbers reach 5,228, which is 1,200 more than the number recorded in 2019. More than 3,000 of these individuals are unsheltered, while roughly 1,500 stay in shelters.
Federal government is taking some steps to address homelessness, but there is no easy solution
The federal government announced earlier this month that it would be providing help to the state of California as well as five major American cities to bring homeless people into permanent housing. The cities that will be receiving aid at the local level include Seattle, Phoenix, Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The move is part of a wider effort by the Biden administration to decrease the number of homeless people in the country by 25 percent by 2025. They say that they will be providing “tailored support” during the next two years, which includes placing a federal official in each area to oversee the effort. They will also be looking for areas where regulations can be relaxed to help speed up the process of securing housing.
There were more than 580,000 homeless Americans last year, and around 40 percent of them were unsheltered and sleeping in their cars, tents or on sidewalks. The National Alliance to End Homelessness’s 2023 State of Homelessness report found that 22 percent of America’s homeless population are individuals who are chronically homeless, while 6 percent are veterans and 5 percent are unaccompanied young people under the age of 25.
Sources for this article include: