Cicero Institute Spotlights Key Insights From Kansas Homelessness Poll
Topeka, KS – In the wake of growing discussions about homelessness, the Cicero Institute has released eye-opening data from its recent statewide poll on the issue, offering a comprehensive view of Kansans’ sentiments of crisis.
- Universal Concern: A substantial 62% of all voters express deepening worry about the increasing homelessness in Kansas. Only 2% say homelessness is decreasing in the state. This sentiment spans party lines, emphasizing the urgency for legislative efforts to address the escalating issue.
- Public Safety Apprehension: More than half see homeless encampments as a threat to public safety, with two-thirds saying they avoid those areas at least some or all the time. This points to the critical need for policies that ensure both the safety of communities and the well-being of those experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
- Diverse Root Causes: The poll reveals an acute public understanding of the root causes of unsheltered homelessness. 63% see the critical need for increasing programs that address addiction and mental illness. 57% agree that this approach would be more helpful in reducing long-term chronic homelessness than subsidized housing programs—of which only 18% prefer.
This highlights the complexity of the individual needs of Kansans and the necessity for holistic solutions. Few see a lack of affordable housing (16%) or good-paying jobs (9%) as the root cause of homelessness.
- Elimination of Street Camping: Most (83%) voters believe moving homeless individuals to shelters is more compassionate than leaving them on the street, and 75% do not think homeless individuals have a right to camp on streets and other public places when shelter options are available. Furthermore, a majority (54%) want to prohibit public street camping.
- Mental Health Focus: A majority supports legally compelling individuals with severe mental illness to seek treatment—underscoring the widespread acknowledgment of the importance of interventions in assisting those in crisis.
- Government Accountability: Only 35% of voters say that Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is doing a good job of managing homelessness in the state. And more than half would like to see major cities, such as Kansas City, enforce bans on street camping as a condition of receiving increased funding for their homelessness programs.
We encourage the public to delve further into these statistics and engage in meaningful discussions to influence the development of innovative and effective policies to combat the homelessness crisis in Kansas.
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About the Cicero Institute:
Cicero Institute is a non-partisan public policy research organization committed to fostering informed and constructive dialogue on critical issues facing our communities.