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Columns

Is Racism the Sole Cause of Homelessness?

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Yes, America is dealing with a toxic legacy of racism, but it’s destructive to frame all problems in racial terms. For instance, a panelist for “Project Homeless” of the Seattle Times, baldly declared: “To be blunt, there is no homelessness in America without racism. It simply wouldn’t exist.”

This is, frankly, insane: all studies of homelessness show more white people living on the streets than Blacks or Hispanics; statistics prove African-Americans are 72 times more likely to own their own homes than to count as homeless. Moreover, is racism the sole cause for mental illness and substance abuse, which are the chief drivers of the homeless explosion, especially for the white plurality among the homeless?

The idea that the thousands of street people who challenge health and safety in every big city, would magically find homes if it weren’t for racism, is so illogical it detracts from any serious efforts to cope with the problem.

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