Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Citations Needed

Dec 21, 2022

"The city has had 125 daily interactions," New York Mayor Eric Adams tells the Daily News. "We’re working to solve the homelessness crisis, with innovative mental health interventions," San Francisco Mayor London Breed tells reporters. The city needs to "clean up homeless encampments," countless city officials tell us. Everywhere we turn, our elected –– largely Democratic –– governors and mayors are talking about quote "solving the homelessness crisis" without specifying what, exactly, these plans entail.
Saying elected officials are going to harass and displace the homeless population until they’re incarcerated or leave our city and wealthy neighborhood sounds unseemly and inhumane. But this –– minus the occasional and insufficient attempts to offer public housing –– is more or less the strategy of most big cities: Send in police to "sweep up" encampments, enforce low-level drug offenses and ticket the unhoused for loitering and camping, But saying this is the plan sounds mean, so, over the past couple of years, as America’s housing crisis has grown more acute and the end of COVID-era tenant protections unceremoniously sunset, a cottage industry of pleasant sounding euphemisms have emerged to sell police-led homeless crackdowns to squeamish liberals.
The right-wing, historically, is fairly upfront with its bootstrap, austerity logic. And they, for the most part, don't run major cities where the homelessness crisis manifests. Liberals and progressives –– short on resources and political incentive to actually address the underlying issues –– need to sell the same played out, discredited carceral attempts at removing Visible Poverty but, unlike Republicans, can't do so in explicit terms. So, a PR regime emerges to paper over these glaring contradictions, leading to heretofore unseen levels of bullshittery.
On this episode, we going to examine four popular euphemisms employed by "blue" city leaders to sell the same old carceral playbook to their wary, self-identifying progressive constituents, how these programs do little to address the central issues of a lack of affordable and free housing, and how city leaders –– with wildly insufficient federal support for housing, a foaming anti-homeless media and suffering from institutional political cowardice –– are left with little more than meaningless "emergency declarations," Tough Guy, Take Charge press conferences, and nice-sounding rehashes of the same failed, cruel policies of austerity and precarity.
Our guest is The Wren Collective's Henna Khan.