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Government is Just a Word for Doing Things Together… February 5, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.

Update: Looks like I screwed my very elementary division (per John Tyler’s helpful correction in the comments), and ended up accusing LA County of spending 10 times more per person than they really spent. Which says that they are actually pretty economical in their treatment of homeless people. Although it’s not clear that they included the budgets for the agencies that administer to those people – it looks like they just counted the actual services rendered. Regardless, you can safely discount the entire post below.



From Los Angeles:

Los Angeles County spends close to $1 billion a year caring for and managing homeless people, with a majority of the money going to their health needs, according to a new report.

Quite a bit of dough – how many people does that help?

The study, produced for the county chief executive office’s homeless initiative, examined costs for 150,000 single adults who experienced homelessness during a 12-month period in 2014-2015.

They didn’t bother to do the math, but that means it costs LA County $66,667 per year to deal with one homeless person. And at the end of that year, the number of homeless people hasn’t changed.

The poverty level for a single person is $11,770. The median income for a single person in 2012 was $27K. How can LA manage to dump that much money into the homeless situation and change nothing?

The answer, of course, lies in all the government mouths to feed along the way, and the inefficiency that always accompanies activities that aren’t driven by profit.


1. lauraw - February 5, 2016

A portion of the homeless frequently use hospitals and psych wards as free hotels.

2. Jimbro - February 6, 2016

Thanks for highlighting this example Geoff. Too often we hear about inefficiency with government run programs, roll our collective eyes and shrug before moving on because “everyone knows they’re wasteful”. By breaking the numbers down you really bring the absurdity of the whole enterprise into the light. They are dancing on the grave of common sense.

3. Retired Geezer - February 6, 2016

Here’s what Boise has in mind, the Eugene Oregon model.


4. geoff - February 6, 2016

Wow – the Boise guys are saying it’s $30-50K to deal with homeless there as well.

Maybe I don’t understand the economics of caring for the homeless, but my first guess is still: Once you create a Mafia (like social services), it expands uncontrollably.

5. Retired Geezer - February 6, 2016

Exactly. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the concept.
I’m sure there are success stories but I think the whole ‘pride of ownership’ or lack thereof will be the determining factor.

6. anycomments - February 6, 2016

There is an epidemic of child abuse and resulting emotional/mental problems happening among poor welfare people. Pregnant females drinking/taking drugs, juveniles getting pimped out by the mother’s boyfriend, + drugs at too young an age, with psychosis coming later on down the road, that sort of thing.

These damaged people get treated when they are ill. That’s taxpayer $$$.

If there is an expansion of social services workers, it is more of a symptom than the illness. Social services workers are not encouraging this behavior by their word, their existence, or by their interventions.

No, this is the result of poor overarching government policies, that encourage decadent and shitty individual choices.

7. geoff - February 6, 2016

If there is an expansion of social services workers…

I meant that more in the sense of “bureaucracy begets bureaucracy.” Any government agency wants to expand into a full hierarchical structure, where there’s top-heavy, over-compensated management and where there’s an unusually high percentage of deadweight among the worker bees. Academic institutions are now traveling the same road.

8. lauraw - February 7, 2016

This is so very true.

9. John Tyler - February 12, 2016

You did your math wrong.
One billion $$$ divided by 150,000 is about $6,667 per person.

10. geoff - February 12, 2016

Lessee: 10^9/1.5×10^5 = 2/3 x 10^4 = $6667

Uh oh – you are correct, sir. I think I divided by 1.5×10^4 previously.

I should never post early in the morning.

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