In order for us to understand what public policy might actually help improve cities with a large homeless population, then we need to understand what assumptions public policy makers might have about the homeless which work against public interest.
Policy makers tend to focus on where the homeless were, not on where they are. Solutions or centers for the homeless in Multnomah County are often located in downtown Portland. However, the majority of the homeless are in inner SE Portland, and the homeless population is growing more on the Eastside than anywhere else. And the majority of homeless in North Portland and in East County are honestly afraid to stay downtown for any length of time, so they disqualify themselves from using the services there. The Human Solutions answer is better—go to where the homeless are going, and meet their needs there.
There are homeless everywhere. Services should go where they are.
(Point in Time Report https://multco.us/housing-and-homelessness/2015-point-time-report )