They just wanted to do the right thing. The small town of Middletown, Ohio, a town of 49,000 people, has opened all manner of homeless services. There is everything from soup kitchens and shelters that allow you to be high and drunk to rehab facilities to sober up.It turns out that since their initiatives were put in place, the homeless are swamping the town and residents are shocked - shocked I say! - to find that many aren't even from their town!
And that's the problem. You can come to Middletown to stay drunk and high and get three hots and a cot without having to do much.
Seriously, they're that naive.
Middletown is learning the lesson that when they incentivize something, they get more of it. Some of it is voluntary migration of the homeless, but some of the homeless they've added have been dumped by other cities. It's not just New York City that gives homeless a one-way bus ticket to somewhere out of town (it's reported that NYFC spends more than half a million bucks on tickets every year), it's a widespread practice.
Listen, Middletown, I'll let you in on the secret. It's not a new secret; it's been known for millennia. Benjamin Franklin, put it this way:
“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”The author of that PJ Media piece is Victoria Taft, who is also a radio and TV personality with talk radio show in California and TV appearances on One America News Network, OANN. She has some interesting anecdotes from covering the California homeless situation, but concludes with the bottom line:
Helping the homeless requires a delicate balance. This is a fragile population of people. But there's one thing you can bet on: if there's free stuff and if it's easy to get, they will come.
I wonder how long until Middleton needs the street cleaning treatments for human waste, like this one in Seattle? (Getty Images, Yuri Kadobnov)