Housing First: Homelessness
P1. Human beings have been attempting to solve the homelessness problem the same way for years. The current strategy, is to first make the homeless clean from drugs and alcohol, and then find them a job and somewhere to live. This Idea sounds like a good one, but it is often very ineffective. David Bornstein, in his article “The Street-Level Solution,” mentions a common thread between chronic homeless people, that may be the reason they find it difficult to effectively assimilate into society. This thread is head trauma. Many homeless people have suffered a head trauma that could be the reason they find it difficult to get clean or find a job.
P2. Bornstein’s solution is the same as the organization “Common Ground.” What this organization does, is it focuses on the root of the problem with chronic homelessness. Common Ground helps homeless people by putting them in a home, no strings attached, and offering them the help that they need to become a functioning member of society. This is a new approach that deserves a chance. If the problem has been dealt with the same way for years and hasn’t been solved, it is time for a new approach.
P3. Most of the chronically homeless have had a head trauma, and that’s the scary part. Head trauma can happen to anybody. One blow to the head can turn a regular, functioning member of society into a chronically homeless person with lots of problems. Only when those problems are solved, can the chronically homeless really be helped.
P4. Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI is a real problem. Gean and Fischbein write about TBI in their article on Clinicalkey.com “Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is termed “the silent epidemic” for good reason.” (Gean 1). TBI is a serious problem for everybody to be concerned about. “More than 1.5 million individuals sustain a new TBI each year.” (Gean 1). Anybody can sustain a TBI, this is why Bornstein’s idea is worth a look.
P5. In an article on jamanetwork.com, author Mitchell Katz writes about the chronically homeless. “The chronically homeless have a high prevalence of mental illness, substance use, and physical health problems, as well as higher use of emergency department visits, hospitalization days, and mortality.” (Katz 1). This “higher use of emergency department visits,” is another reason that this idea of housing first is a good one. It is actually cheaper to house the homeless, than to leave them out on the streets. When they are on the streets, they use emergency services so often, that it costs the city money. So the argument presented by Bornstein offers even more than before.
P6. The idea of housing first may not be the solution to chronic homelessness, but that will not be determined until it is given a fair shot. It has been tested in cities such as New York, and it not only has been effective, but it has saved the cities money as well. The idea is at least worth looking in to, and more cities in the United States should give it a try.
Katz, Mitchell H. MD. “Housing As A Remedy for Chronic Homelessness.” Jamanetwork. N.P, 3 Mar 2015. Web. 29 Jan. 2017
Gean, Alisa. Fischbein, Nancy. “Head Trauma.” Clinicalkey. NP No date listed. Web. 29 Jan. 2017
Bornstein, David. “The Street-Level Solution.” Opinionator. NP. 24 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017
Bornstein David. “A Plan to Make Homelessness History.” Opinionator. NP. 20 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Jan 2017.