Robert Marbut

Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth & Poverty

Robert Marbut is a renowned expert on homelessness and a senior fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. Marbut has a PhD in Political Behavior and American Political Institutions and his career has been marked by bipartisanship having served as Chief of Staff for San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros in the 1980s, as a White House Fellow under George H. W. Bush, and most recently as the Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness from 2019 to 2021 under both the Trump and Biden administrations. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of the United States Olympic Committee from 1992 to 2004.

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Robert Marbut on America’s Homelessness Crisis, Strategies for Uplifting the Homeless, and Effective Government Policies

Homelessness has reached crisis proportions. Few issues of human dignity are as heart wrenching as the wretched scenes in our most prosperous cities—San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle—where one can drive down main thoroughfares and be confronted with tent encampments lining streets that provide scant shelter for thousands of destitute people.

Robert Marbut on America’s Homelessness Crisis, Strategies for Uplifting the Homeless, and Effective Government Policies

Homelessness has reached crisis proportions. Few issues of human dignity are as heart wrenching as the wretched scenes in our most prosperous cities—San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle—where one can drive down main thoroughfares and be confronted with tent encampments lining streets that provide scant shelter for thousands of destitute people.

Generous Donation Gone to Waste on Bad Homelessness Policy

Seattle civic and business leaders have announced a $10 million collaborative effort to tackle the downtown chronic homelessness problem. “It’s the beginning of some good news,” Mayor Bruce Harrell declared when they announced the financial donation.

Most Cities’ Responses To Homelessness Actually Enable Even More Homelessness

Housing First fails because it doesn’t address root causes of homelessness: unaddressed mental illness and substance use disorders.
If policymakers want to be serious about truly alleviating the suffering of those experiencing homelessness and keeping their streets safe, they need to spend their money wisely on treatment-and-recovery approaches.

Most Cities’ Responses To Homelessness Actually Enable Even More Homelessness

$837,000. That’s how much one single unit to house one homeless person is costing taxpayers in Los Angeles.  https://twitter.com/KarenBassLA/status/1497698596719714304?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1497698596719714304%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fthefederalist.com%2F2022%2F03%2F18%2Fmost-cities-responses-to-homelessness-actually-enable-even-more-homelessness%2F The $837,000 units being built in L.A. are part of a $1.2 billion “Housing First” program to build “affordable” housing. But the city can’t build fast enough to keep up. Despite vast amounts of money and record-level housing placements, the city’s homeless population keeps growing. This sad situation is another indication that good money

Watch: Robert Marbut Talks About Homelessness with Dr. Drew

Robert Marbut, the former Executive Director of the USICH, sat down with Dr. Drew to talk about homelessness (especially as it is experienced in California) and how the Trump administration was planning to tackle it. With the inauguration of President Joe Biden this year, the federal policy has returned to Housing First but the interview remains relevant.

Expanding the Toolbox

The Whole-of-Government Response to Homelessness
In the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) The State of Homelessness in America report, CEA pointed out that overall homelessness has increased in America; and in many communities, homelessness has reached a crisis level. In just five years, unsheltered homelessness increased 20.5 percent from 175,399 in 2014 to 211,293 in 2019. Simultaneously, the number of year-round beds available to serve persons experiencing homelessness through subsidized Rapid Rehousing and Permanent Supportive Housing rose from 338,065 to 482,254, a 42.7 percent increase in five years. Despite significant increases in funding and beds, overall homelessness has been increasing in the United States. The federal government’s policy shift in 2013 to prioritizing housing first as a one-size-fits-all approach has not worked to reduce homelessness Read More ›

Robert Marbut on Ask Dr. Drew

Dr. Drew is joined by Leeann Tweeden and Robert Marbut, director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness. They discuss issues surrounding the homeless in major cities, health concerns from large groups living outdoors, and how the Trump administration plans to address the needs of the homeless population.