The Homeless Problem
P1 Sometimes the solution to a problem is to work smarter, not harder. It is easy to believe that the solution to homelessness is simple. If we build houses for homeless people, then they won’t be homeless. But homelessness is a symptom as much as it is a problem. The homeless often have other problems that need to treated. The GAO found that in 2009, 2.9 billion dollars were spent on programs for the homeless (GAO). Using that money to build houses for the homeless is not a complete solution to the problem. It is the first step of a plan but it only treats the symptom of the underlying problem. 40 percent of long term homeless people have had a traumatic brain injury (Bornstein). This brain injury caused people who were normal, functional members of society to develop mental illnesses and addictions that made them lose their jobs and eventually their house. To stop homeless people, all of their problems need to be addressed.
P2 Putting homeless people into houses is the first step towards getting their life back together. Until the 1990s, the homeless needed to be drug and alcohol free before they were let into housing. This made it impossible for many of the homeless to access this housing. Addictions are hard to manage with help and a supportive environment. It is almost impossible to for the homeless to get become sober while struggling to live on the street. Giving the homeless a house gives them some stability in life. They don’t have to worry about where they are going to sleep every night. Once a homeless person is in a house, they can receive help for their other problems.
P3 Putting a homeless person in a house is not enough to rehabilitate them. Often, they have problems with substance abuse and mental illnesses that need to be addressed. 47 percent of homeless people have mental illnesses (Bornstein) . These people cannot get better on their own.
Without funding programs that solve these problems, the homeless will continue to be dysfunctional.
P4 The homeless problem is cannot be solved by spending more money. The government needs to understand that the homeless need more than just houses. They need to receive help for the problems that made them become homeless. They need support getting readjusted to regular life. Without multi step programs, the government is wasting money.
Bornstein, David. “A Plan to Make Homelessness History.” Blog post. Opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com. New York Times, 20 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/20/a-plan-to-make-homelessness-history/.
Bornstein, David. “The Street-Level Solution.” Https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/the-street-level-solution/?_r=0. N.p., 24 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
“Homelessness: Fragmentation and Overlap in Programs Highlight the Need to Identify, Assess, and Reduce Inefficiencies.” U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO). N.p., 10 May 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.