by Dan the Intern
Homelessness, Government, and Politics
- If politicians want to solve homelessness, they should implement the policies that homeless people find effective. Government officials continuously implement astonishingly ineffective, and often appalling initiatives, under the guise of combatting the problem.
- Governments argue that programs to help low-income people, such as affordable housing and SNAP (food stamps), are too costly and are ineffective. Studies show that governments pay out more for low-income individuals to be homeless than it would to provide the government help. They found Santa Clara County spent $3 billion over six years and spent around $83,000 on each homeless person far more than the emergency and housing assistance available to an individual.
- A homeless person often lacks many of the niceties our daily lives, but public libraries provide those without housing access to technology and a place of “peace and quiet.” With the number of homeless taking advantage of the services provided by public libraries, the San Francisco Public Library became the first library in the country to add a full-time social worker.
- Seattle, Cleveland and other cities, hope to end veteran homelessness by 2016. However, with their failure to end long term homelessness by 2014, one questions whether or not they will be able to accomplish their goal.
- In California, climbing out of homelessness requires some sort of identification, but identification is often unobtainable. Governments must factor in the unfair effects of their policies on people in dire situations.
- San Francisco develops a policy to give ex-offenders a second chance by providing temporary cost-free housing. For homeless people, ID can mean being able to work, vote, receive benefits or move into housing.
- Mayor of Honolulu has released innovative plan to turn shipping containers into livable emergency housing for the homeless. This area also will come with a hygiene trailer.
- The safety net for individuals in dire situations is not as strong as many believe. A woman with a job, no mental health issues, and no addictions finds herself on the streets. This is a story from a Street Newspaper.
- In Berkeley, California, a rise in homeless youth has been mostly invisible to those in the city. Many have very limited access to services, and, as a result, these kids and teens are struggling or failing in school.
- Many of the homeless youth are victims of emotional and physical abuse, but avoid social service agencies in fear of going back to houses. Others are homeless by getting kicked out of foster care at 18 and have nowhere to go, while some are homeless for their sexual orientation.
- Denver, Colorado has 45,000 kids that are homeless. In May, one homeless teen, with the help of Urban Peak, was able to graduate and receive his high school diploma despite being homeless.
- With the stigma of being homeless, many youth do not wish to reveal their situations. They continue their daily lives like nothing is wrong, which means they cannot get the services they need.
- Young mother, who at one point was homeless, graduates valedictorian of her Chicago high school with acceptance letters from over 20 colleges. She did not do it on her own, but had help from family, staff members, and her social worker. This goes to show that homeless people can succeed, but, like any other person, often help is needed.
- When encountering a homeless person, whether on the streets or as part of a job, it is important to remember they are PEOPLE, and that they should be treated as so. Yelling at, or insulting a homeless person only seeks to destroy their self-worth and feed a cycle of homelessness.
- A Missouri woman, after watching a homeless man struggle in the rain, acts compassionately toward the man, and subsequently her life changes completely. After her experience, this woman quit her job and opened up a free clothing store for low-income people.
- An often not considered issue for homeless people is a lack of formal identification and legal documents, such as a Social Security Card, birth certificate, etc. One Orlando nonprofit, called IDignity, is trying to change this by helping people obtain these documents.
- As part of a global solutions class, 3 high school students created a bike drive to distribute as transportation for homeless people that are searching for jobs. These students highlight a pressing issue for homeless people. They lack many of the amenities that help one advance their life, like phones, transportation, etc., that the average person takes for granted.
- Taxpayers are harmed by unnecessary jailing of homeless people. Homeless spend weeks in jail for petty offenses, and the taxpayers are the ones footing the bill. There is no need for jailing these petty offenders.
- Inequality does in fact dictate one’s possibilities in life. Equality of opportunity is not what it once was. If your family is poor, your family is more likely to have high school dropouts.
Opinions are those who sign the entry.