Mine Recent Posts Has made a bunch of comments quoting a survey of homeless people on the homeless. I hope I was more careful about my terminology, because I wasn’t really trying to discuss the homeless population, but my focus was on people living on the streets.

America, there is an estimate 550,000 homeless people. In that group, About 85,000 Live on the streets or in homeless shelters. Even this statistic only slightly exceeds the number of people living on the streets. The focus of my post was on those who actually live on the streets.

It is important to understand that just as people move in and out of the homeless, so they move in and out of the street. A person can move to California and work for 2 years, lose their job and be homeless. Another could be a local and have an apartment and then lose the apartment after being unable to rent due to divorce. Many families who are homeless but do not live on the streets are local residents who receive government assistance. Each situation is difficult to describe with complex, simplified survey questions.

There is a reason why most economists are very skeptical about using survey questions to ensure motivation.

If you look at the total 550,000 homeless population, most of the critics in my post are right. I stand by my demand for subsets of homeless people living on the streets. I still believe there is a stronger (and more reasonable) choice to live on the streets of LA than in Mississippi or Minnesota. Money is hard to come by in Mississippi and very cold in Minnesota. It has nothing to do with “picking” people to live on the streets, but rather how people make the best of the worst situations.

A final point. Many of our homeless stereotypes are about people living on the streets. I doubt that YIMBY policies will be most effective in reducing the number of homeless people for more housing construction. No. Currently living on the streets.

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