Why can’t this abandoned building be used as a homeless or veterans shelter?

  1. Not every building is suitable for use as a homeless and veterans shelter.
  2. Some buildings require extensive rehabilitation that make such a project cost prohibitive, especially if it’s a non-profit that operates the facility. Tax credits and grants can defer the costs of construction, but that requires extensive knowledge of such programs and accounting that is out of reach for most small organizations.
  3. Operational budgets are out of reach for most organizations. It’s not cheap to run such a facility. Where would the funding come from? Who would operate it?
  4. Many of these shelters would not be able to adequately handle the population. Homelessness is caused by many issues: the high cost of living; mental illness; violence or incarceration; drug use; and self-choice. Many don’t live in the shelters that are in place already because they are banned; actively use drugs; are violent; or have a mental illness that can’t be effectively handled.
  5. For veterans, it’s often because of PTSD, which is inadequately handled here in the states. And good luck getting treatment at the VA Hospital – with endless waiting lists, you are often better going out of network if that’s even possible.
  6. It’s more politically popular just to build prisons and shove people in there when they could be receiving treatment for their illnesses.
  7. More broadly, homelessness is a huge issue in America and no political group has effectively tackled the problem. And the problem differs across the states and cities. For example, there are large swaths homeless in the San Francisco area not just because of illicit drug use, but because of the very high costs of renting or owning a home. For a family of four in San Francisco, you need to make $117,000 to even be lifted out of poverty.
I think to effectively tackle the issue, we need to work on the root causes. We phased out most state mental institutions over the past 40 years, sharply increasing the homeless population. We decimate our mental health funds and misappropriate it towards prisons. We hold stigmas over people who have mental imbalances, over the homeless, over the poor, that we need to change as a society.