The opinion piece in the Nov. 10, 1997, issue of The Scientist [W. Breakey, "Homelessness Should Be Treated As A Major Health Issue," page 8] suggests dealing with the homeless problem by providing more health care and "adequate" housing.

This sounds like a heartwarming solution, but Breakey doesn't explain where the money for these programs will come from. Considering the fact that the federal government is one of the least efficient charities, handing out only 28 cents to welfare recipients for each dollar the taxpayers put into the system, how is he proposing to fund his program?

A recent federal study shows that 25 percent to 30 percent of the homeless in America are mentally disabled and 40 percent are substance abusers (cited in D.B. Wood, "Innovations for Helping the Homeless," Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 28, 1997, page 1). Under Breakey's plan, will the homeless be constrained to...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?