C – Crazies. 40% of the homeless
A – Addicts. 30% of the homeless
T – Tramps. 20% of the homeless
O – Out of Luck. 10% of the homeless
The Crazies’ brains are broken. This is the lion’s share of homelessness. They cannot be cured. They cannot maintain housing, or income, or anything of value. All we can do for them is give them barbiturates and stick them in institutions. We can no more fix their broken brains than we can fix Mike Utley’s damaged neural tissue, much less diagnose and repair the consciousness interface.
I’m becoming convinced very few psycho-pathological conditions can be cured. People either age out of them or they don’t. (Or age into them, e.g., Caitlyn Jenner). I would love to be proved wrong.
The Addicts don’t require much elaboration. My family has had its problems with functional alcoholics but nothing like drug addicts. Addicts are socially toxic and families end up having to kick them out. I personally know only one “cured” addict. The rest just disappeared. Many Addicts graduate to Crazies.
The Tramps are the happy homeless. In the US, they were more commonly called “hobos” or pejoratively, “vagrants.” “Free spirits” is the euphemistic term. There are no public policy implications for the happy homeless, ceteris paribus. It would probably be a good idea to provide them with antiseptic facilities for their temporary encampments, away from net tax-producing areas. I don’t know if this is workable or not because as I conclude below, nobody is interested in actually solving the problem of homelessness, to the extent it can be solved.
The Out of Luck are what Rollo Tomassi calls the Zeroed Out: people, usually men, who’ve had a series of setbacks that consume their psychic or physical health and financial well-being. This fairly well-known academic is at risk for zeroing-out:
He posted this on a public forum but may have some regrets so I’ve blanked the name. He is (or perhaps was) a devout Protestant Christian. He and his ex-wife adopted four Guatemalan infants, so he was carrying around five eaters on a nominally upper middle class salary of around $100,000. God bless him and those in his charge, because he’s probably just about ready to walk out the door.
The Out of Luck are the only group with any potential for returning to a normative lifestyle.
Obviously, there is significant overlap and transition among these groups.
This all seems like common sense to me and I’d bet the statistics, if anybody measured them, would support CATO 4321. From there, we could proceed to some workable solutions, diagnosis being the first part of healing after all. But since we govern by ideology and not by reality, nobody compiles these metrics because it would upset the proposition that homelessness is caused by lack of affordable housing. “Affordable housing” is a related but different problem, exacerbated by immigration and the diseconomy of scale of large, democratic cities. Building more and more-dense housing won’t really solve homelessness, just like building more roads doesn’t really solve traffic congestion.
Immigration and urban locuses of power and wealth are part of the regnant American ideology, so nobody is going to touch the real issues of homelessness with a ten-foot pole, no more than we’ll examine the real issues of terrorism, or economic recessions, or numerous other things.