Colorado Lawmaker Opposes Homes for Homeless, Says Bus Them Out

| by Michael Allen

Colorado Springs, Colorado, councilwoman Helen Collins recently voiced her objection to providing the city's homeless people with homes.

During a city council meeting about housing and homeless programs that would be funded by the federal government, Collins stated, "A lot of the homeless, the best way to get rid of the homeless is to give them a bus ticket back to their families."

"This isn't even taken into consideration," added Collins. "It's like the taxpayer has to fund the homeless for housing. I just don't think that's right for the taxpayer."

According to The Gazette, city councilwoman Jill Gaebler said in response: "Just to give them a home is the first step. It's called Housing First: helping them to figure out what's going on in their lives, addressing their mental illness, and assessing what they can do to begin their healthy lives."

Gaebler also mentioned that some homeless people were veterans and suffer from mental health problems.

Collins then fired back: "I'm a retired veteran; maybe I should get some affordable housing."

However, a recent study by the Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina Charlotte found that taxpayers saved $1.8 million in just one year by building an apartment complex for homeless people in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Most of the savings came from not having to spend money on health care and jailing homeless people, notes The Charlotte Observer.

As far as Collins' claim that homeless people simply don't work, the Urban Institute, a Washington D.C. think tank, reported in 1999 that "almost half (44 percent) of homeless clients did some paid work during the 30 days before being interviewed."

The Washington Post reported in 2005 that most of the homeless people in Prince William County, Virginia, were the working poor.

NBC News noted in 2012 that homelessness had devastated the working class:

The number of people in homeless families living in suburban and rural areas rose nearly 60 percent during the depths of the Great Recession, according to figures from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). More than one million school-aged children are now homeless, according to the Department of Education.

Sources: The Charlotte Observer, The Gazette, Urban Institute, The Washington Post, NBC News