Jewish World Review May 2, 2005 / 23 Nissan, 5765

Michael Medved

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Urban problems demand good results, not just good intentions

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | In Los Angeles, city officials proudly opened a plush new homeless shelter that cost $17 million and featured state-of- the-art gym, library, hair salon, movie theatre, and professional kitchen.

Even homeless activists acknowledged that despite its good intentions, the project would only perpetuate the cycle of life on the streets, by providing rewards and comfort for self-destructive behaviors.

Meanwhile, national studies at Duke and Columbia Universities showed that one of the best ways to improve urban neighborhoods and to reduce the homeless presence is gentrification.

As Professor Lance Freeman emphasized, when middle class families move into distressed districts, they don't generally displace the long-time residents, but actually improve their quality of life, giving new reasons to stay.

When successful families flock to a down-and-out neighborhood they may be selfishly motivated, and when activists build lavish homeless facilities, they may feel unselfish.

But when dealing with nagging urban problems, we should judge results, rather than intentions.

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