Five Years After the Recovery Act

This week was the anniversary of the American Recovery Act signed into law to clean up the mess that Wall Street made of our economy.  The lax regulations of big banks and the unregulated housing market corrupted the financial industry.  A lot of ink has been spilled to complain that the ACA was a giant boondoggle because we still have a relatively high unemployment rate.  I don't know about the other areas of the ACA, but I can say that it was a life saver for homeless people in Cleveland. 

I remember how people were worried that the whole system was failing.  I remember that the Presidential election suspending their campaigns because of how dire the situation was.  I remember that I thought that there would be thousands of families who were going to need shelter in Cleveland.  We were shedding massive numbers of jobs and there was no end in sight.  We were on the brink of a Great Depression II and no one had any answers.  Remember that the Congress originally refused to pass a rescue plan and the stock market took a huge dive, before they came to their senses.  

I can say that the $14 million that we got in Cleveland to assist homeless people worked.  We saw a huge increase in the number of people showing up at the shelters, but with the rental assistance we got people out of the shelters quickly.   We learned a lot from the stimulus funding.  We learned what worked and what did not.  We did not have to turn people away, and we know that we can quickly implement a program to end homelessness for thousands.  It was proof that if we had the proper resources government could solve problems.  If we built large numbers of housing units and found people income, we could significantly reduce homelessness in America.   The housing part of the ACA was a huge success in Cleveland and we could use a new infusion of funds like we got five years ago.

Brian Davis

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