Housing the Homeless

I applied to a couple of amazing VC firms this month. Here is an essay response I submitted for one of them. It is about housing the homeless.

Note: I have decided I will not censor myself from sharing potentially controversial opinions on this blog. That is not an easy thing to do in an era where one comment can ruin a person’s reputation. The opinions and perspectives I have today and every day are always subject to change, and many of them inevitably will.

What’s an idea you have that goes against the status quo or most people don’t get? (200 words max)

I am not going to solve homelessness in 200 words, but I believe that unsheltered homelessness is entirely unacceptable. This is a surprisingly unpopular opinion. Many existing programs in California fundamentally focus on improving the unsheltered homeless experience. LA’s homeless are 75% unsheltered versus 5% in NY. I would propose unsheltered homeless people on the west coast be brought to a gated homeless community in an isolated, centrally located, and economically sensible area. A situational diagnosis upon arrival determines where each person starts in the community. Everyone is provided basic needs like food, water, shelter, sanitation, and safety. There will be opportunities to progress within the community and beyond. Those whose problems are deemed cheapest to solve are addressed first to allow them to rejoin normal society as quickly as possible. We should not futilely spend on a tough situation what we could otherwise spend to get several simpler situations resolved. At the same time, we should not overspend to send people back to cities with the highest costs of living in the world. Today’s overly politically correct environment makes it challenging to have logical conversations about difficult solutions, but hard situations require hard decisions. We need to make them.