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.
It is assumed that the homeless must be managed by social workers or policy makers. That the only solutions for the homeless is if the homeless have a “parent” to see them through. However, it has been shown that the homeless have their own leadership, whom they trust more than government employees, and that this leadership has the organizational knowhow to create solutions for their own community. These solutions are often not acceptable to the broader city, but that is usually because policy makers are not working with homeless leaders, but working in opposition to the desires of the homeless.
This assumption comes from the emotional idea that the homeless are incompetent, while there is no evidence that this is true.