What if the solution to Skid Row is Skid Row?
I read Fehrenbach's THIS KIND OF WAR after reading Marshall's THE RIVER AND THE GAUNTLET when I was a kid, because it was part of my history as a military brat. Vietnam was winding down when I was in junior high, and I thought that to understand WTF was going on in Vietnam I better read about Korea; thus I repeated the mistake made by a lot of Army officers who went to Nam. (I got better.)
With respect to Skid Row: based on my experience as a homeless guy in Las Vegas, I think there are a lot of bureaucrats (government and NGO) being paid serious money to pretend that they're doing something about the homeless. I had my head on straight - no drugs, no violent craziness, no booze - so I spent about a year in the homeless veterans' barracks north of downtown Vegas before they set me up with an apartment in Tonopah. But there were a lot of my brothers in arms who were seriously f'd up, and didn't want to get straight, and sooner or later they wound up back on the street. I imagine the civvies who dealt with the Salvation Army or Catholic Charities were no different. As you say, until society changes its mind about how they want to deal with the crazies and druggies and alkies, they're going to be camping on the street. And when society changes its mind, they're going to have to fight the soft-ass liberal judges and the bureaucrats whose rice bowls are being threatened.
Yes, I've studied the Korean war (in my dotage) — mostly out of curiosity, rather than on anybody's recommend. Two books come to mind: TRUMAN, an excellent biography by David McCullough; and THE COLDEST WAR: a Memoir of Korea, by James Brady. Both accounts were edifying.