Sunday, January 2, 2011

What A Shock: Government Subsidies to Gang and Drug Problems

The January 2, 2011 Idaho Statesman reports that Caldwell Police Department has identified a source of their gang and drug problems:
“We’d have a house in a pretty good neighborhood that suddenly overnight turned into a problem,” said Caldwell police Sgt. Joey Hoadley, head of the city’s street crime unit. “And no one there had a job. It didn’t seem like they were doing anything but playing video games, taking drugs and vandalizing the neighborhood.

“We’d ask, ‘How can you guys afford this?’ And people kept saying, ‘SICHA, SICHA.’ ”

The Southwestern Idaho Cooperative Housing Authority offers deeply discounted rents to more than 850 low-income families through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Vouchers. And over the past five years or so, Hoadley said, Caldwell police have found the program is a common thread through some of the city’s most problematic properties.

Read more:
The article goes into considerably more detail about how this happens, and efforts now under way to fix it.

Imagine my surprise at finding out that Milton Friedman's famous observation that if you pay people to not do anything, you get more people who don't do anything. 

I don't object to government attempts to help those who are poor.  I do object when such help lacks sufficient oversight to prevent these sort of problems.

1 comment:

  1. A common problem in subsidized housing, especially when well meaning liberal policies bring subsidized housing to suburban neighborhoods. Drug and gang problems migrate out along with the people.

    The Atlantic had a nice article on the phenomena a couple of years ago,