It isn't recent. And it isn't just a lack of housing, or a lack of money for housing that makes it a problem.
Actually, it wasn't nearly as much of a problem before the de-institutionalization movements in the '60s, which both halves of government (left and right) jumped on for different, short-sighted reasons. The left believed institutionalization of the severely mentally ill (schizophrenia, etc) was inhumane, especially when they were perfectly functional when they took their pills.* The right looked at the monetary cost in tax dollar spending and flipped.**
More on that in a bit.
The homeless camps, worst on the west coast thanks to bleeding heart, utterly impractical leftists (but still bad on the east coast), are incredibly dangerous. They're a pestilent, disease-ridden shit hole, bleeding out into civilization. They're fecalized environments that aren't safe either for their denizens, nor for the functional, civilized individuals that are forced into contact with them.
They also play host to the violent. Sometimes, that violence is planned, sometimes it isn't.
The homeless camps, and the homeless within them--often feral, often incapable of function in society, often simply fucking useless and lazy--are a flat-out danger to the rest of us, both civilized and those of us who only pretend to be.***
One third of the homeless population are mentally ill to the point of inability to function in society. To the point that they don't even see a need to try to function. And why not, when they get all their base needs met by government programs designed to feed the homeless, funded by money stolen from taxpayers by a government that does not care about the taxpayers it's supposed to serve.
Before the de-institutionalization movement, these people would have been housed. They'd have been warm, fed, cared for. Borderline functional. Now?
Now, they're the people on the street, mumbling to themselves and avoiding eye contact--if they're the non-violent types. Or they're the types randomly attacking people because they see something pretty that they want...or because the voices in their heads tell them to bash the six year old on the sidewalk because it's Tuesday.
Now, they're the ones dropping like flies in the heat, freezing to death in the cold. Because there are no beds where they can be cared for long terms.
Now, they're the ones spreading typhus, typhoid fever, leprosy, bubonic plague, and drug-resistant contagious infections like tuberculosis. Granted, a few of those have been re-imported through our porous southern border, but the homeless camps are breeding grounds for the diseases. Because they have no sanitation. And because about a third of the people living in them have no clue why sanitation should even be a consideration.
We, quite honestly, need--badly need--to bring back the asylums. Even with the reputation of abuse and experimentation on the inmates (mostly false, but often enough true to smear all), we need to bring back the asylums.
Because not all families are physically or emotionally capable of taking care of their relatives with mental/psychiatric impairment.
*The problem is that the pills--which are only a treatment--work so well that those with the issue being treated think they're cured. And. Stop. Taking. Them. These people need a keeper that forces them to take their meds every damn day at the right fucking time. And often, their families either can't or won't do that. So they end up on the streets. Where the family is willing and able to supervise their relative, I don't have an issue with the crazy not being warehoused. However. If/when that changes, the institutions should be available. And aren't.
**Governments--local, state, and federal--spend a fuck-ton more on trying to serve the homeless than they ever did on the institutions, which kept so many of those who would have been homeless off the streets.
***A lot people attacked do not see the danger coming at them until they're bleeding on the ground, or in the process of being raped. Civilized to the point of being domesticated animals. The rest of us simply are so wary of being prosecuted for protecting ourselves that sometimes we don't react in time to put the threat down.
10 minutes ago