In Los Angeles, a neighborhood has gone to war with itself over a tent city in a park. In Philadelphia, the transit authority said that it would close a subway station—cutting off an entire neighborhood from transit service—because of disorder related to the local homeless population.
Both of these stories, from the past month, are local tragedies. Taken together, they underline the way America’s homelessness crisis has taken on a depressing air of inevitability—not something that can be solved or even directly addressed, but an immovable fact around which we do our best to adjust everything else. We are battling what Rosanne Haggerty, who received a MacArthur “genius grant” for her work developing housing for the homeless, calls “the myth of the overwhelming nature of the problem.”