It seems counterintuitive that the homeless would reject a free living situation if one was given to them with open arms, however, we see now how that exact situation happened to Haggerty while she tried to reduce the number of homeless people living on the street. Roseanne Haggerty ran a nonprofit organization called common ground that sought out to fix the homeless population in New York City through renovating a former hotel with places to sleep that gave food and shelter to the homeless.
This system seemed foolproof and her team went into the project with optimism, to their dismay there were still many people who remained homeless in spite of the institution that was just built with them in mind. The problem was perplexing so they needed a way to assess the situation. The method began with a way to quantify the homeless’s conditions through a vulnerability index.
Those lower on the scale were pursued and asked a series of questions pertaining to the amount of help they were wishing to receive. It was thought before this process the homeless would all be rushing to solve their predicament and help was given in response in a first come first serve basis. This idea was lacking human connection and decency which is the primary tool in keeping the homeless off the street according to Haggerty. The new method was enacted and proceeded to help hundreds.
It seems counterintuitive that a homeless person would not participate in the”linear residential treatment” program which allows upward mobility to the homeless population, but would rather run out of resources until they began to start living in dire straits. This problem was tackled by Tsemberis who understood the best way in solving the homeless problem in Salt Lake city was developing a personal relationship with these people and offering assistance to their condition.
This idea was slightly different than the previous because instead of forcing the homeless in question to change their entire lifestyle or seeing if they were deserving enough to live with the rest of society, this approach focused on the idea of a fresh start. It proposed that if treating the homeless like they were welcomed into society and gave them their time in fitting the norms and rules. With some time in between transitions the idea was that they would have a better response in moving in that direction.
This plan was seen as counter productive to the government who historically are not on board with permitting activities already deemed illegal. To fix the perception of this process which might be viewed as lacking order the organization gained support from the Church opening the idea up to even the most conservative thinkers. With this new support from the government Pathways to Housing was able to able to get rid of most of the homeless population in Salt Lake City.
Make Homelessness History
It seems counterintuitive to antagonize the people who need the assistance and positive interaction in this country as a way to provide a solution to the problem they are faced with. The “War on Homelessness” portrays the fake notion that homelessness comes from deviant behavior and the fault of their condition is their pure responsibility.
The best way of eradicating the homeless epidemic is understanding the problem at the roots and treating human beings as such in order to make positive change. When people have been suffering they often get stuck in a mindset that their life cannot get any better and perceive outreach and another hurdle they will have to overcome.
There is research to back the plan of taking the homeless out of their condition first and providing a safe environment will reduce the amount of relapse into toxic behaviors although it is evident that this process takes time and will not be immediate. Some may feel as if the money from the government to help these people may be flowing in the wrong direction perpetuating the assumption that the homeless will waste resources. The movement to treat the homeless as a friend in trouble gives hope to the situation and will ultimately benefit society as a whole as more uplifting changes are made in the right direction.