8 Comments
Apr 19, 2023Liked by Chloe Cockburn

Curious to see a self-proclaimed Reagan rehabilitator like Noah Smith weighing in on this. The great criminologist Elliott Currie points out that low-income housing programs were "slashed more deeply than any other federal activity" from 1981-1989, by 75%.

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Thank you for bringing Currie to my attention. So many thinkers and researchers over the decades have described the absurd flaws in how America constructs its response to crime, yet we have to continually remake these arguments. My hope is that the politics are catching up and we can make more transformative shifts in this generation.

Also thank you for pointing out this context on Noah Smith and indicating that celebrating Regan while calling for more housing is deeply contradictory. I wonder if you think is analysis in the recent post is faulty on its own terms?

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Yes, Currie is an excellent writer - an author you linked wrote this interesting summary of his accomplishments and illuminating perspective. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-9133.2010.00606.x

Thinking about it, I don’t have any refutation of the facts the article lists, but I kind of see this analysis as missing the mark. When I see this sort of excessive hype about building housing, and I see it a lot…it strikes me as electing to place a pillow at the bottom of a manhole, rather than covering up the manhole. So, okay, they’ve investigated the end state of homelessness and found a solution for that particular problem. What about the beginning? What about their jobs and factors in their lives? Are any economic factors relevant to the discussion? What in particular is going on in society that might make black people overrepresented in homeless statistics? They simply need more housing, that’s it? In some ways, the hyper-fixation on housing as a solution to the end state of homelessness seems to block out discussion of competing factors. I could be too cynical, but it strikes me as too safe and afraid to discuss things like a gig economy, the dual economy, layoffs, racism, etc.

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Apr 19, 2023Liked by Chloe Cockburn

Great analysis! Any leads on folks on the narrative side of things holding this analysis to move public opinion effectively?

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Thanks for reading! To make a strong argument here, we'd need more data (which I'm working to get). It would be helpful to be able to say something like, "1 in 4 new cases of homelessness are triggered by an arrest / court case."

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Apr 19, 2023Liked by Chloe Cockburn

I’d love to stay up to date as you find more data. Very interested in narrative strategy to shift the dialogue locally (Albuquerque, NM) and nationally. Thanks for the reply and your writing! You have a few avid readers here in NM.

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Thank you for reading! It may take some time but I will certainly update. Albuquerque is doing some really interesting stuff right now! You may be interested to read about how your city is discussed in this newsletter: https://safercitiesresearch.com/the-latest/52cjhpnl7ra46xnzmcb2ycf2msb4yw

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Apr 19, 2023Liked by Chloe Cockburn

This part..."states like California that are investing heavily in reducing homelessness could get a lot more bang for the buck by reducing the number of people being pushed into homelessness by excessive arrests and jailing. "

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