Bussed Out: How America Moves its Homeless

An 18-month investigation by The Guardian reveals that for many cities struggling with homelessness, the preferred solution involves a one-way ticket out of town, part of what the authors refer to as “America’s homeless relocation program.”

The investigation finds that while schemes like San Francisco’s “Homeward Bound” program are helping some, they also “serve the interests of cities, which view free bus tickets as a cheap and effective way of cutting their homeless populations.”

According to the piece, “[p]eople are routinely sent thousands of miles away after only a cursory check by authorities to establish they have a suitable place to stay once they get there. Some said they feel pressured into taking tickets, and others described ending up on the streets within weeks of their arrival.”

In case you don’t know, a similar program exists here in Chico, going by the name of H.E.L.P. (Homeless Evaluation Liason Program). One Florida homeless advocate sees programs like these as nothing more than a “smoke-and-mirrors ruse tantamount to shifting around the deck chairs on the Titanic rather than reducing homelessness. Once they get you out of their city, they really don’t care what happens to you.”

You can read the entire article here, and watch Democracy Now!’s coverage of the piece here.

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