Re: Are most homeless people "mentally ill"? Who benefits by

Liberty (
Sun, 07 Feb 1999 18:57:39 -0500


I don't think most homeless are mentally ill.  I think the mental
health industrial complex needs patients in order for it to stay
in business, not to tell the truth and put it out of business.

>Who stands to gain by portraying homeless people as "mentally ill"?  
>Who stands to lose?

Of course, those that believe most homeless are mentally ill can tap
into the ever increasingly more scarce tax dollars to re-create jobs
for themselves, so they never have to become homeless themselves.

>Does the widespread perception that homeless people are "mentally ill" help
>those so-labeled get more of what they need?  Does it help homeless people
>in general, that is, as a group or class?

All this does is create a huge public outcry that folks with labels must
be kept out of the subways, out of the dark alleys, out of the community
at night, albeit out of any kind of 'normal' life that the rest of these
folks, including those whose jobs are at stake, take for granted.

>What's your evidence for your answers?  How do you know it's reliable?

I would say homeless people are there for several reasons.  Homeless men
are often victims of domestic abuse.  Homeless teens are often abused
at home, and in many cases, they simply don't like the rules. Homeless
women are often divorced or single parents, that have few work skills
and are out of the labour force.  If people with mental illness are homeless
at all, one has to look at the fact that most of them live on less than
$1,000 a month, and little or not effort is being put forth to put these
folks into real paying jobs, and in fact - because those who are part of
administering both the mental health and the homelessness industrial
complex have something the gain to keep them out of work, and therefore,
homeless, as this will guarantee these non-homeless folks jobs for life.

>Those questions were easy.  Now for the tough question:
>For those who might disagree with you about whether many homeless people
>are "mentally ill", how might you persuade them to your view?

I don't think people are easily persuaded, but there is plenty of evidence
that under the government of Bob Rae here in Ontario, the amount of money
poured in mental health programs, social housing and other experiments
was tripled, and at the same time, it was evident that the number of people,
including families, who were homeless, increased in direct proportion.

I don't argue against good programs for people that need them, but we
need to put our first emphasis on jobs:  With a good job, people can live
anywhere they want, and they don't have to rely on over-priced subsidized
housing that, because of its high operating costs, only admits a few, while
the others that need help, remain on long waiting lists.

Libby ;-)