Restorations Thumnbails

Public Camping Bans: Not a Cure-All, Not Cruel

We’ve accepted the dangerous conditions of public camping as a fact of urban life. It’s time to change the status quo, and the Supreme Court’s homelessness ruling gives us the chance to do that. Camping bans are not a cure-all or a cruelty. Here’s why. Read More ›
The United States Supreme Court at dusk
Licensed via Adobe Stock

U.S. Supreme Court Backs Local Communities in Nation’s Homeless Response

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Grants Pass v. Johnson that city ordinances against public camping do not constitute “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment. The Court’s decision is a win not only for the small Oregon city of Grants Pass, but also for dozens of Western localities that had been hamstrung by the Ninth Circuit as they grapple with record high rates of homelessness. Read More ›
male homeless and his dog
Licensed via Adobe Stock

Beyond the “Vets, Pets, and Kids” View of Homelessness

This column starts my third year of weekly writing about homelessness, with the goal of learning, teaching, and eventually turning the columns into a book. Both human interest and intellectual interest propel me. I'll start with the human interest and the two words "suffered enough." The expression comes to mind every time I live in a homeless shelter for a few days and ask residents about their pasts. Read More ›
In 1789 a charming five year old chimney sweep toiled through tough days in the bustling streets embodying the spirit of a spirited eighteenth century street urchin
In 1789 a charming five year old chimney sweep toiled through tough days in the bustling streets embodying the spirit of a spirited eighteenth century street urchin
Licensed via Adobe Stock

Caring for Orphans in New York City

Two columns ago I mentioned Charles Brace's concern about high rents in New York City. When Brace founded the New York Children's Aid Society in 1853, he began by setting up religious meetings aimed at orphaned or abandoned boys from 10 to 18 who slept in alleys. Read More ›
Fix Homelessness Title Screen (2)

Billy Baldwin Witnesses Seattle’s Homelessness Crisis

Discovery Institute is going Hollywood! Our Senior Fellow Dr. Robert Marbut teamed up with film producer Robert Craig and actor Billy Baldwin to make "Americans With No Address," one of the most important documentaries highlighting the nation's homeless crisis. We Heart Seattle's Andrea Suarez is also a key voice in the movie. Some of the cast members recently took a tour of Seattle. Read More ›
Manhattan Midtown Skyline with illuminated skyscrapers at sunset
Manhattan Midtown Skyline with illuminated skyscrapers at sunset. NYC, USA

Helping the Manhattan Poor: A History

Much of what we hear in national media concerning homelessness originates in the salons of Manhattan, and if we want to understand why our policy savants sometimes go far off course, we should understand the history of New York City’s successes and failures. Read More ›
Contemplative Silhouette Sitting On Rock In Nature
Licensed via Adobe Stock

The Ups and Downs of Recovery at The Forge

The past two months I've written about those making progress at Forge, the Christian shelter I lived at in Joplin, Missouri. But not everyone perseveres. I played disc golf on a sunny day last October with one Forge resident who told me how he had become a devotee of YouTube Satanist channels. For a time, he combined demonic rituals, drug use, and increasingly elaborate drawings of skulls and skeletons. Read More ›
Licensed via Adobe Stock

The Dirty Little Secret About Homelessness Is the Key to Ending It

The US Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments about what cities can and cannot do to end homelessness. What everyone agreed on was that homelessness is a difficult problem. I think most people listening to the Supreme Court would agree: it isn’t going to solve homelessness. That is a job for state legislators. So why haven’t they? Why has homelessness gotten worse? Read More ›
Licensed via Adobe Stock

Homelessness in Colonial New England

Since starting this weekly column in June 2022 I’ve covered lots of topics, including homelessness in late medieval England — but I’ve shorted American history. Since today, April 19, is the anniversary of the battles in Lexington and Concord that started the Revolutionary War in 1775, it’s a good day on which to take a rapid ride through the New England countryside and summarize common responses to homelessness in the 17th and 18th centuries. Read More ›