How to solve homelessness

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Introduction

Homelessness has been a complex problem to many, if not all societies. The ‘wicked’ and obstinate issue has been resisting single-agency solutions, as well as its resolutions thereby necessitating a large and continuous investment of professional and financial resources that not many organizations have the capacity to sustain. Recent policy prescriptions and evaluations have suggested enhanced, comprehensive and coordinated models of service delivery in addressing this problem. However, there exists remarkably little understanding of the improvement framework through which alternative paradigms of the service system can emerge.

Statistics on homelessness

In the United States, approximately 0.2% of the populations are homeless. This implies that one individual out of every five hundred people is homeless, which translates to about 600,000 people in the entire United States (United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary 56). In the last few decades, Americans have tried to invest quite a large sum of money to reduce, prevent and even eliminate homelessness. Unfortunately, these investments and efforts have not borne much success, if the worsening of homelessness is anything to go by. Unfortunately, the Americans, as a people, are experiencing a growing and natural sense of fatigue as far as compassion towards this social ill is concerned. Even worse is the fact that, the frustration experienced by the Americans towards homelessness has been misplaced towards the homeless and un-housed instead of the systems that have not only failed the housed but also the homeless.

Source: http://www.123rf.com/photo_5529926_a-homeless-person-sleeping-along-a-brick-sidewalk.html

The misplacement of feelings, coming as a result of compassion fatigue, has led to the criminalization of the social ill throughout the United States and the withdrawal of vitally needed investments in the creation of affordable housing. Evidently, it has also increased the rate of hate crimes against the homeless (Donovan 13).

Housing the homeless in Denver, Colorado

In Denver, Colorado, there are approximately 12,000 homeless people. It is noteworthy that the burden of taking care of these people is embarrassingly light and downright undetectable. In fact, the key problem does not lie with the availability of resources but rather the mean-spirited people who take pride in punishing the homeless. In addition, studies have shown that the total cost of housing these people is less than Americans spend currently when they lock the homeless out. The 600,000 homeless people present in the entire United States would cost the taxpayer about 36 billion dollars, excluding the savings that the country would get from removing the homeless from the streets (United States, Congress, Senate and Committee on the Judiciary 46). There exists a minute percentage of homeless people who do not want help from any quarter.

Source: http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/usstates/codenver.htm

This group of people is mainly involved in drug and substance abuse. However, there is another group of people who are persistently homeless. These are the people who have been in the parks, shelters and the streets for quite a long period. A recent study dubbed the Culhane study, as much as this group makes up about 10 percent of the entire population of homeless people, it uses about 50 percent of the resources used by the homeless people. In essence, by concentrating on the comparatively small group, it would be possible to make an immense impact as far as solving the problems of homelessness in Colorado are concerned. Studies have shown that it is possible to place people who are persistently homeless from the shelters and streets, as well as allow them to live successfully in houses that have been enriched with the appropriate and necessary services. The existing gridlock will be broken, by getting these people from the streets thereby creating some space for other people that are living in the streets or shelters, up to such a time when they can be housed, as well.

This is the idea behind the establishment of the Emergency Shelter Grant Program. The program was established under the Housing Act (1986) as a response to the increasing issue of homelessness among children, men and women in the United States. The ESG program had its objectives as increasing the quantity, as well as the quality of transitional housing facilities and emerge.............


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