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SEATTLE – The solution is cheap and simple: As cities see their homeless populations grow, many are buying one-way bus tickets to send people to a more promising destination, where family or friends can help get them back on their feet.

© Amanda Lucier for The New York Times

Portland, Ore., began its program to bus homeless people out of the city in 2016. San Francisco’s “Homeward Bound” program, started more than a decade ago when Gov. Gavin Newsom of California was the city’s mayor, transports hundreds of people a year. Smaller cities around the country – Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Medford, Ore., among them – have recently committed funding to the idea.

And in Seattle this past week, a member of the King County Council proposed a major investment into the region’s busing efforts, fearing that the city was on the receiving end of homeless busing programs from too many other cities.

But do these transport programs actually help people find stable housing? For many of those offered a bus ticket, they do not.
In San Francisco, city officials checking on people in the month after busing them out of town found that while many had found a place to live, others were unreachable, missing, in jail or had already returned to homelessness. Within a year, the city found that one out of every eight bus ticket recipients had returned and sought services in San Francisco once again.

© Amanda Lucier for The New York Times. Scott Weber cooks dinner for himself and other people on his block experiencing homelessness in Portland.

In Portland, Ore., a city that has spent three years sending hundreds of its homeless residents around the country, the numbers were worse. Officials found that three months after the departures, nearly half of those transported who could be reached had lost their promised housing.

“That’s a pretty high failure rate,” said Nan Roman, who leads the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “If we were housing people, I don’t think saying 50 percent of them returned to homelessness after a housing intervention would be acceptable.”
Busing programs have been a staple response to homelessness for years, but in the past, Ms. Roman said, some cities seemed to use them as a way to export their troubles.

The newer programs, she said, are designed to provide homeless people a critical path to stability by linking them with familiar support systems. But she said cities may need to do a better job of screening what is realistically waiting at a new destination and to hand travelers off to services near their new homes.

Jeff Kositsky, the head of San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, said he considered that city’s program a success and would do so even if the city’s outcome numbers were worse. He said it was an effort that cost the city little in comparison to other housing services, it helped many people and it freed up resources to assist others.

© Jim Wilson/The New York Times.

San Francisco found that a small number of the thousands of people it has bused out – less than 5 percent – ended up back in the city receiving services. Portland began its program in 2016. Not wanting to send a troubled person into a place with no support, organizers put protocols in place: Providers must first call ahead to make sure there is a legitimate housing option. Some clients receive luggage to help retain their possessions. For those who might have difficulty on a long bus trip, a plane ticket is also an option.

The city sent away 383 people in the most recent fiscal year, with the top destinations since the start of the program being Las Vegas (29 people), Seattle (17) and Phoenix (12). Fifty-eight percent of those who could be reached after three months remained housed, but most were unreachable.

“It’s not a panacea,” conceded Denis Theriault, a spokesman for Multnomah County’s Joint Office of Homeless Services. But the city is sticking with the program, he said, noting that it is allowing some vulnerable people to go from homelessness to stability.
Seattle has taken a less formal approach to relocation, with no dedicated program for busing.

Seattle offers bus and other transportation help as part of a larger bucket of flexible, one-time financial assistance that can be used in a variety of ways, such as paying parking tickets so someone can regain access to a vehicle, or helping a person with unsightly scars get a wig during the pursuit of a job.

“Our approach is to find the best thing, and that clearly is not always a bus ticket,” said Meg Olberding, a spokeswoman with Seattle’s Human Services Department.

Citing programs in San Francisco and elsewhere, a member of the King County Council, Reagan Dunn, recently proposed a large expansion of the region’s bus-ticket programs, arguing that it has taken on too much of the burden.

“Seattle has become a dead-end street for the nation’s homeless population,” said Mr. Dunn, who has proposed $1 million for an effort to expand the county’s transportation option.

But surveys in King County, which includes Seattle, show the problem is largely homegrown. Sixteen percent of the city’s homeless population became homeless outside the county, and 5 percent reported being outside of Washington State when they lost their housing.

Some of those who might be potential clients in any expanded program said transport can be helpful – in some cases. Kyle Calitri, 36, who was lying on a red mat outside a shelter in downtown Seattle on Friday afternoon, said he has largely lived on the streets since he was a teenager. More than a decade ago, while living homeless in Tennessee, a church helped him get back to family in Florida with a bus ticket. That was a vital opportunity that gave him some temporary stability, he said, though he has continued to live a transient life in recent years.

With the possibility of new funding, he said, he was going to look into the option to help his wife.

Various nonprofits in the Seattle area have already provided some bus tickets. The Seattle-area United Way funded about 116 trips outside the region last year, said Lauren McGowan, senior director for Ending Homelessness and Poverty at United Way of King County.

But Ms. McGowan said the idea of committing more money to such programs might be counterproductive when there were so many other urgent needs. She said most people the nonprofit works with are from the Seattle area, where their personal and professional networks are centered, and she worries that spending money on bus tickets to advance a narrative of “reunification” may be an excuse to simply encourage homeless people to go away.

In some cases, she said, people have arrived in Seattle on bus passes from other regions without any housing support lined up.

“Just shipping someone out of town to experience homelessness somewhere else is furthering the trauma that person experiences,” she said, “and furthering this crisis that we have all over the country.”

Homeless Residents Got One-Way Tickets Out of Town. Many Returned to the Streets.
 

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I think if we did more for the mentality ill there would be a lot less of them. I bet if we took all that money we give illegal immigrants we would have the money.
 

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Nothing like shipping your problems to someone else!
 

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I say again. Remove illegal drugs from the equation and 85% of our nation's 'homeless problem' goes away.
 

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I say again. Remove illegal drugs from the equation and 85% of our nation's 'homeless problem' goes away.


So if drugs were legal they would have money for a place to live? or are you saying if the drugs were just gone they wouldn't have the problem?
 

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But these SANCTUARY CITIES welcome these despondent mentally ill folks with free needles, food, etc. WHAT? They don't want them now??? SHOCKED I tell ya, SHOCKED. What happened to the compassion of the snowflakes? Did they finally get tired of stepping in **** and piss on their bike paths and in front of Starbucks? Why aren't they donating 50% of their checks to help these people? They invited them there, maybe these assholes should open their homes and yards to them.....oh WAIT, NIMBY!

Hypocrites.
 

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As long as the cities culture a place where it s "safe" for them to use then that is where they will stay.
 

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So if drugs were legal they would have money for a place to live? or are you saying if the drugs were just gone they wouldn't have the problem?
I'm saying illegal drug usage is the root cause of 85% of homelessness. For the majority, homelessness is a choice.
 
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I think entitlements are 85% of the illegal drug use and that, in turn, leads to the drug gangs taking over 99% of the inner city ghetto neighborhoods
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Politicians. It was and has been politicians "virtue-signaling" with their declarations of "Sanctuary Cities" and in our case, that addle-pated Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown declaring the entire state "Sanctuary". Notice ...... no referendums were placed before voters to decide "what" their cities or counties or states "will be". This was all the DEMOCRAT politico's playing their nation-wide game of being "The Resistance" to Trump and to us, the voters and supporters of Trump.

There will either be repercussions over this "Resistance/Sanctuary" bullshit, or the citizens will meekly acquiesce and lower their Standard of Living to the sewers and let the anarchists, homeless druggies and alcoholics dictate the environment people will allow in their communities.
 

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I say again. Remove illegal drugs from the equation and 85% of our nation's 'homeless problem' goes away.
No it does NOT. Drugs are a symptom of the rot in our society on how we treat each other. Why do you think those people turned to drugs in the first place. To escape the living hell they find themselves in, to which is mostly--->>> Society making it a living hell for people who don't conform or are incapable of conforming to a "specific idea of ideology of normal".

I suffer the same causes of living hell, these folks face but the difference between Them and I is I chose not to resort to drugs or alcohol, or smoking , etc. Because I have far more respect for other people rights due to mine constantly being infringed on, and I hate having my rights infringed on So I do not wish it upon others. I have witnessed my first OD of another homeless person about 2 weeks ago. He has a story he was not always on drugs but turned to drugs to cope with the other crap society imposed on him where he could not handle the stress of that crap.

Take the drugs away they still will be homeless.

Your making the same argument that the left is using in justifying getting rid of guns. "makes mass killings and murder go away." get rid of drugs "makes homelessness go away"
 

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I am giving you first hand account on this. THERE IS NOTHING CHEAP AND SIMPLE ABOUT IT.

I been born and raised where I live. I know where all the various services are, like getting IDs, Assistance , taking care of banking issues, transportation , everything you do in your daily lives, and know of places you can go to be left alone. That can only come from lifetime of experience in the area. Which all this knowledge makes possible to survive on the edge of death. There is NO getting out of homelessness without outside help, because your whole day is spent trying to find food and shelter for that day or few.

When you uproot a person by shipping them against their will to another city / state, you are starting a very expensive vicious cycle and endangering many people's lives. Your taking that person away from everything they know and had learned on how to survive in the area, Like where the churches that offer free meals. which then turns to stealing food from store because you no longer know where the offered open hands are. They may been in rehab or on way to recovery where they where, but after they were forcibly shipped elsewhere , no longer have access to rehab services.

I could do an entire book on how its extremely costly and damaging to all parties involved when you severely uproot a person ability to survive from day to day Those people then turn to more drugs to escape the horror their lives are.

It does NOT help when people are being callous and shallow, in their views and actions towards those who were either born or fell on hard times. If anything it exponentially makes the situation worse for everyone.

A lot of the services that help you get back on your feet are only offered to long term residence etc. Where you have to be a residence for many months to a year. What do you think happens when you just shipped a person who was a week away from getting help where they were to another state or city delaying any help for the foreseeable future. What do you expect that person to do when everyone is treating them with disdain and animosity and basically telling the person to go kill themselves through your actions and how you treat them??.

There is absolutely nothing cheap or simple about forcibly uprooting people who are simply trying to survive day to day. Only shallow ignorant callous people would think it.

PS they are returning because you can not put a dollar value on life experience in survival. where one mistake is death.
 

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So they are all victims and its all society's fault eh?
No you just demonstrated the shallow ignorance.

Their doing drugs is their own fault for not having the fortitude to fight harder and giving up.

So how is 32 employers all telling me the position filled when NONE of them are, is my fault when I am forced to tell them I had heart surgery If I want to work in a labor job that uses equipment that has a potential to injure???

My disability did not disable me. Society allowed these employers to discriminate by using the phrase"position is filled". as an alternative to say we refuse to hire you because of your disabilities???
 

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So no homeless people were heroin, crack or alcohol addicts before they were homeless? None of them started using drugs and then lost their jobs and residence because of their abuse? Not sure what world you live in but that's the order it usually goes. I only questioned popeyes comment because i thought he was trying to say legalizing them would help the problem and i think it would make it worse. Without going into detail i have a little insight on drug addiction and have seen what it can do to people first hand.
 
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Gimp, I take exception to your analogy. After leaving the AF I spent a period of time living in my Van but I worked daily and eventually got secure enough to get into school which led to degree and a successful career. I did this because I wanted to make something of my life. To say I don't understand what is going on in these cities is demeaning to me. Each and every one of these places with homeless problems hung out a welcome sign that said come here and you can shoot up in peace and quite. The state and city governments are squarely to blame and I hope the voters show them the door in 2020 and if they don't they will have to live what what exist in they front yards. When you see parents OD'd in their cars with the kids in the back, I don't see hard times, I see idiots who really don't care.
 

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My disability did not disable me. Society allowed these employers to discriminate by using the phrase"position is filled". as an alternative to say we refuse to hire you because of your disabilities???
Did it ever occur to you that just Maybe the reason potential employers are turning you down may be due to how you present yourself to them rather than discrimination? If they see you as whiny and constantly blaming others for your problems such as how you have presented yourself here this is probably the reason they reject your applications.
 

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So no homeless people were heroin, crack or alcohol addicts before they were homeless? None of them started using drugs and then lost their jobs and residence because of their abuse? Not sure what world you live in but that's the order it usually goes. I only questioned popeyes comment because i thought he was trying to say legalizing them would help the problem and i think it would make it worse. Without going into detail i have a little insight on drug addiction and have seen what it can do to people first hand.
No square 2 a lot of them were not , but not all . I can't write all the various facets because I would be banned for posting walls of text pages long. I am trying to get you all realize that its not "all or nothing" no mater how you spin it . and trying to claim all or nothing as the catchall to solving complicated issues that needs many different variety of solutions to resolve, is having a deter-mental effect because that what we been doing all along and now have come to a crisis point.
 
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