Cities that have made the most headway in reducing homelessness did so using a Housing First approach. This prioritizes getting people into homes without barriers. Once their housing is secure, they can begin to deal with the factors that caused them to become homeless. I encourage a focus on addiction rehabilitation and on the Club House Model of Mental Health Rehabilitation.
Columbus was among the first cities to adopt this model with a 70% rate of successful housing outcomes, meaning people end up with leases near market rate housing. Housing First helped Salt Lake City to reduce chronic homelessness by 91%. Finland has also seen success using the Housing First model, making investments in affordable housing since 2008 and converting many shelters into housing units.
Taxpayers spend thousands of dollars annually per homeless person. Housing all our homeless in Des Moines would cost less than half that much money, and people who live indoors go to jails and hospitals far less than people with no shelter. If we spend wiser and get people into housing and skill development and get addiction and/or mental health rehab to those that need it, we can drastically reduce homelessness while saving the city money.