“The Big Sunday Show” panelists weighed in on reports the City of Denver is joining the now more than 40 cities across America in “giving away cash” to their homeless populations, in an effort to help get them off the streets.
Denver recently announced plans to give up to $12,000 to 140 women, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, and families in homeless shelters, as part of its Denver Basic Income Project.
Anita Vogel, one of the panelists, argued it would be better to give the homeless population an opportunity for a future with a job, not a cash handout.
“This idea of giving people money, it really has mixed reviews,” Vogel said. “I just think, why not take the money and help to give people jobs, help to give people a purpose to get back on their feet. When you give people money, it’s a disincentive to work,” she said.
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Tyrus, in agreement with Vogel, asked, “When has free money ever worked? It doesn’t.”
“Usual human nature is terrible. When they get free money, they tend to do things. We saw during the pandemic, people were buying new cars and going on trips instead of paying the rent,” Tyrus continued.
Ranking House Republicans have cited “multiple reports that fraud from COVID-19 federal spending and government benefits has exceeded hundreds of billions of dollars, though the exact figure is unknown.”
Tyrus also warned that the cash distribution could actually lead to more violence between members of the homeless population.
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“They’re excluding a group, right? The aggressive homeless men. What do you think they’re going to do to the other group that’s getting money? What do you think’s going to happen?” he asked. “So now you’re going to have more attacks of violence, and you’re going to have more outrage from another group,” Tyrus argued.
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Dr. Nicole Saphier stressed, “The money is going nowhere,” unless there’s an infrastructure in place to treat addiction and mental health conditions.
“So without putting in place that support and infrastructure, such as you evaluate them for addiction, mental health, give them support and treatment, shower, clothing, [a] place to stay and give them on-the-job training for something that they can do, and then a number and a contact for someone that they can contact if they are struggling,” it would be “wasted dollars,” she said.
America’s homelessness crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s response to it, which included shutting down businesses and printing trillions of dollars, fueling higher prices in the housing market and driving up rent.