I’m not a big fan of the Young Turks – them being not very devoted to Jesus – but I thought this clip was extremely funny and interesting when they point to the fact that giving free homes to homeless people… actually defeats homelessness:
The American state of Utah has been doing this for the last ten years – every homeless person gets a house and access to a social worker and a case worker who will help them getting a job, be intergrated in society and get mental health care if they need some. At first, the house is free, and if they get a job they’ll pay 30% of their income for the house. The result is that homelessness in Utah has decreased with 78% – and it turns out that they seem to have saved a lot of money: the annual cost for E.R. visits and jail stays for each homeless person is around $ 16,670, while the cost for a free house and a social worker for each homeless person was $11,000. Plus, they get a job quicker!
This model of housing first is being tried in more and more communities over the world. In my own town of Uppsala here in Sweden, the City Mission – a Christian charity working with homeless people – have actively proposed the model.
Some seem to be very surprised that giving homes to homeless people actually defeats homelessness and creates a better society. Now, don’t get shocked, but scientists suggest, that it may very well be so, that if we give food to hungry people, we will defeat hunger. There is even a slight possibility – I may be wrong – that if we give clothes to naked people, they will be clothed!
share your food with the hungry
and provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, clothe them,
and do not turn away from your own flesh and blood. (Is 58:7)