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Big Surprise: DC’s Socialist Approach to Homelessness Doesn’t Work

Big Surprise: DC’s Socialist Approach to Homelessness Doesn’t Work

In 2016, city officials in Washington, DC decided to offer rental subsidies of up to 175% of fair market rent.

The desperate move, intended to reduce homelessness, made it possible for a low-income individual to rent an apartment going for up to $2,648 per month. 

Roughly 70 people took advantage of the opportunity to move into apartments at Sedgwick Gardens – an iconic art deco building located in Cleveland Park in northwest Washington. Most of the new tenants were previously homeless adults who came directly from shelters or the streets; many struggled with severe behavioral problems and were not ready to live on their own. 

In 2018, police responded to 121 complaints at the apartment building (up from 34 in 2016) ranging from opioid abuse and pot smoke to threats of violence and feces in the lobby.

The apartment now has social workers on call at night.

The failed social experiment at Sedgwick Gardens is part of the district’s “housing first” policy to reduce homelessness. The controversial approach aims to provide longterm housing without checking for addiction or mental illness.

“Housing first and just the voucher works great for some people,” says David Buck, an associate dean at the University of Houston’s College of Medicine. “But for people who are chronically mentally ill or chronically homeless…those people don’t do as well just jumping in.”

Judging by statistics, the “housing first” initiative has not been a success. The number of homeless families dropped 19% from 2017 to 2018, but the number of homeless single adults jumped 5% in 2018. 

Statistics from last year suggest there are roughly 7,000 homeless people living in DC. Separate studies suggest the area has experienced the most intense gentrification of any city in the US. The average 1-bedroom apartment in DC costs over $2,000 per month, and the city would need to build 36,000 units by 2025 just to keep up with housing demand.

In spite of its obvious flaws, Democratic lawmakers are still promoting the “housing first” policy.

Last month, Democratic Council Member Brianne Nadeau introduced a bill that would force landlords to reserve at least 30% of their rooms for tenants who receive housing assistance.

This bill will exacerbate classiest tensions in the city and make it even harder for the average working resident to find a place to live.

Editor’s note: Its amazing how city level bureaucrats are constantly trying to “save the world” with socialist policies that have never worked, can’t work and would be bad if they did work.

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  1. Donald Crane

    It is a shame that America spends hundreds of billions annually to help so many other countries, yet we can not address our issues here on our shores. NO Vet should ever sleep on the streets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Wumingren

    We need to bring back insane asylums and get all the homeless psychos off the streets and out of normal people’s lives. The experiment failed when all these nuts were offered housing but were unwilling to leave the streets.

    When rental units are set aside for the indigent, the normal people bail, not because they resent the poor, but because their lives were threatened by the scum who see the opportunity to break into “rich” people’s homes, cars, and storage units.

    The people quickly grow tired of physical intimidation, vandalism, and trashed public areas. When landlords offer Sec. 8 Housing to these people (of any and all skin color), they try to keep it a secret from those paying full market price, because they know there will be a mass exodus from those who figure out who’s responsible for the increased property damage, domestic violence, unwanted sexual solicitations, and frequent visits by the local police. These landlords know they’ll never gain back any paying customers, and they deserve to go broke catering to the whims of politicians.

    Idiot Leftists continue to believe it’s not the fault of the indigent to find themselves out on the street, but it is somehow magical to house them alongside successful people, as if the magic will rub off on them. The only thing rubbing of is the $hit from these bums!

    If there were such magic, then why am I not moved from my modest suburban home into a mansion in a gated community? I’d love for their wealth to rub off on me, but that isn’t going to happen.

    What does happen is that moving the poor into posh neighborhoods breeds even greater resentment of the “rich,” who no doubt have luxury vehicles and three- or four-door garages, with motorcycles, jet skis, and bass boats parked inside. What also happens is that these people are positioned to case their new neighbors’ homes and work schedules, making it easy for them to commute to “work,” without ever leaving their their neighborhoods.

    No. Spare us your virtue signaling, you asshat Leftists. Take responsibility for your failures and terminate your useless and wasteful spend!

    • David Barron

      You don’t fined any homeless living next to Pelosi, Harris, boxrer, Waters, Warren, Biden, Feinstein, McCaskill, Hireno, Schumer, Sanders, Booker, Gilliband, Abrams, Clinton’s, Obama’s, Tlaibm Nader or Schiff, do you?

  3. Alice Green

    Agreed. Without taking care of yourself, you lose the ability to help others. Unfortunately Democrats won’t figure that out until we are completely bankrupt.

  4. mspidgeMZB5 Joseph

    All I can say is LMAO!!!

  5. brien

    The dead are not honored by us joining them.

  6. anthony

    would need a really large insane asylum put all the democrats in it and let the homeless take their place I am sure they are smarter than a democrat

    • David Barron

      Lets call it Death Valley! That’s a pretty big place.


    Some people need some level of a supervised setting. We need multiple levels of housing. Some buildings may need a 24/7 onsite nurse/social worker. Some people need a more nursing home type setting. And some need to live in a group ward. Just pretending that everyone can function will never work.

  8. marlene

    Obama did the same thing with mortgages – gave them to people too poor to pay it back. Then he bailed out the banks. It’s what socialists do – with other people’s money.

    • David Barron

      Remember that a true politician uses programs like bail outs, hand outs, give aways, and such to ensure three things, Power, wealth, and Position.

  9. Merlyn Votaw

    Would someone please explain tp me how anyone can be this stupid?