This is a serious problem Mish, and to date I have seen no answers that are even remotely helpful, because of course the only real answer is good jobs at good pay and housing at reasonable NON BUBBLE prices. And even then there will be homeless because quite a few of the current homeless are in fact unable to work, they are unemployable, mental illness, drug abuse, mental health problems.
I would like to see charity supported group facilities where they can be "sorted into their houses" to use a Harry Potter term, those that society can reclaim as functional get the help they need to actually get employed and housed. Those that cannot be helped back I think unfortunately need to go to some type of centralized facility that specializes in housing and possibly reclaiming lives, sometimes they are just lacking skills, sometimes it is refusal to take meds, or never having got mental health help in the first place. I am not talking prison here, but also not far above prison in accomodations.
One of the problems is current help such as HUD voucher programs do not simply house people; they tell them how to live. I saw that with my own Mom when she had to quit working in her 50's after a couple of unexplained comas. On SSI her take home pay was about $932 per month at that time, in CALIFORNIA where the effective poverty level is more than twice that. HUD changed the rules and she was not even allowed to have a cigarette on the property. I could only visit during certain hours, there were about 100 things that could cause her to lose her housing. And had she had a reliable car I am pretty sure she would have preferred to live in that rather than put up with the government nanny telling her how to live.
I think a lot of people actually choose to be homeless rather than put up with it. Or start out in their cars but don't have the money to maintain them and they cease to be a viable "home."
Then there are the good intentions of a few that are to me revolting and make the problem worse: https://www.rogueretreat.com/housing-programs/hope-village/
These "homes" are 6X9 with lockable doors, no plumbing or utilities, a long list of requirements, and even a "fee" which we normally call rent.
Of course the real problem with this is that it will one day become the norm as it wipes away standards for housing and landlords start offering such "houses." Watch as the next recession sees millions more homeless and communities look the other way on what constitutes housing and what does not. What is required like sewer, water, and utility hookups and that just eventually becomes the new standard of what is housing. They still don't have jobs and will still roam the streets stealing everything including stuff that is nailed down, and unlike the rest of your readers I see this as a structural and inevitable result of wealth inequality, if you endow 1% of the population with 50% of a nation's assets and liquid wealth then there are going to be millions of people that are left with nothing, it just is that simple. Then with a recession (that really used to be called a depression) you get millions more, and while a small percentage get out of that cycle with better times the net result is millions of people with no prospects at all.
Then there is this one and it really pisses me off.
Las Vegas nonprofit converts shipping containers into homes for vets
Disabled vets, people who are not asking for "free stuff," but who served the nation. Being put into repurposed shipping containers. These are just one small cut above repurposed dumpsters.
What the real problem here is this, the CPI is a made up number that is now used entirely as a plug number that the Federal Reserve and federal government needds to justify their fiscal and monetary policy that benefit Wall Street and the very wealthy donor class. They quite actually do not give a rats puckered ass about the people. They only like to look as if they care when things get so bad that the people become a growing threat to their plans, they keep the people as poor as they possibly can without civil unrest.
Housing is not even measured in inflation statistics, please do not try to tell me that Owners' equivalent rent is a measure of housing costs because it is NOT!
In fact the CPI does not measure any actual price/cost increases at all. We all know that they have so many ways of deleting actual increases, and the very concept is flawed. But, in this modern age where every single purchase is tracked and stored through credit and debit card histories, as well as such things as store rewards cards and online order records, it would be very possible to simply take actual purchases on an ongoing basis and determine the REAL price increases from that. But, they probably will not since it would reveal that prices are no longer the same for you as for me. Something we would have considered fundamentally unfair and illegal when I was young, places open to the public were supposed to charge the same to men as for women, charge the same for whites as blacks, the same for English speakers as Spanish, in short the same for everyone walking through the door. That is no longer the case. And it constitutes far larger a problem than you would believe. Prices at the grocery in a slum ghetto neighborhood are a lot higher than at a white neighborhood just a couple miles away even within the same store chain. Go to a rent to own store and notice that a washer dryer set YOU can buy with your credit card is $1,200 but at RAC is going on $5,000 by the time you pay it off. How many people like you never avail yourself of a payday loan? At hundreds of thousands of percent annual interest? No, these are almost exclusively reserve for the poor. You say they have a choice, I say they don't. But be careful what shade you throw because at the current rate you could be one of them before you know it.