Mentally Ill Homeless
P1.Many of the homeless living on the street suffer from severe mental illness caused by blows to the head. Giving these mentally ill homeless only housing will not solve the large homeless problem. These individuals need help for their illness on top of housing. Simply giving them housing will not solve the issue, and they will end back on the street. The United States Housing and Urban Development spends $550 million to aid the homeless. However the HUD dosen’t understand the problem, so they are wasting taxpayers money. Until the HUD understands the problem with the homeless, the problem will just expand, and the taxpayers money will just be wasted.
P2. The problem, according to David Bornstein, is the government is misusing the funds. As he discusses in his articles, “Street Level Solutions” and “A Plan to Make Homelessness History”, Bornstein discusses the issues regarding homelessness today, and how to solve the issues. The Housing of Urban Development does not understand the real problem with the homelessness. They are simply just giving the homeless housing, which isn’t the entire issue. Many are drug addicts or have mental issues and need other, additional help. They need treatment for their issues, and help to conquer them to fully conquer the whole issue. Without necessary treatment, sadly they are just ending back on the straight in a short period of time.
P3. The government needs to realize that these mentally ill homeless people need more than simply housing and a job. They need help to diagnose the issue, and treatment to treat the issues. If they are not giving treatment for their illness, they will eventually lose their given job and house given to them. Eventually they will end up right back on the street.However, the same mistake is being continually made. The, 100,000 Homes Campaign, as Bornstein describes as, “It’s the human welfare equivalent of NASA’s race to put a man on the moon.”(Bornstein 2) is trying to attempt to get the homeless off the street. However they, aren’t addressing the real issue. This is why homelessness is such a real issue. Giving them housing is just one step in the fight against homelessness.
P4. Bornstein did his own study correlating brain injury to chronically homeless. He found that 53% of the of the chronically homeless have suffered a severe brain injury prior to becoming homeless. 70% of those mentally ill, had blows to the head prior to being homeless. They were normal people, with normal goals. However, they had blows to the head that lead them to the street life. This is why, just giving them house is no the solution. They had houses prior to the blow to the head, it’s their illness that led them to the street.Mental illness is a serious issue, and is not easily solvable.Not understanding this, is why the homelessness rate is increasing despite the significant funds.
P5.The American Journal of Psychiatry did a study in 2005, surveying 10,340 patients in a San Diego mental health hospital. They found that a large percent of the patients were in fact homeless. The study discovered that 15% of the patients were homeless at one point or another. This is largely because they did not receive the care they needed to conquer their mental illness. Its also safe to assume, if the other 85% were not treated, a large number of them would have been homeless. The diseases ranged from, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These disease are often treatable but if not done so, have consequences, proven by homelessness.
P6. Progress has been made, however in the fight against homelessness. In New York, and now many other cities too, a new organization has been sprouting up. The Common Ground Organization has been tackling the homelessness issue with different measure, and having success. Common Ground doesn’t only give the homeless a home, but they get them treatment and give them tasks to keep them on the right track. They install a community atmosphere with community goals, such as gardens, cooking classes, and yoga sessions. It’s much more than simply a house, it’s giving them the help they need. Understanding this is why common ground is so successful, and is why they are making such a great push in the fight against homelessness.
P7. There is plenty of money set aside in the government to help eradicate the homelessness problem. However, all the money in the world can’t solve the issue, if the problem is not fully understood. A mentally ill person can’t succeed in an environment they are not ready for, and is why many that are put into section 8 housing end up right back on the street. People won’t succeed in the environments they are adapted or ready for. They key to success is to separate the mentally ill homeless from the non mentally ill homeless, and trying to give them the tools to succeed.The mentally ill homeless need more help and aid then the non mentally ill homeless.They need different helping tools, but that is the point the government doesn’t seem to understand.
P8. Blows to the head that leads to mental illness can be devastating. After traumatic events like that, people don’t think straight and is why many of them end up on the streets. Its society’s job to help these people get the treatment they need. The government needs to shift from the idea that homeless people need only housing and also give those who need additional help, that help. Once this is done, the fight against homelessness can take a major step forward, maybe even two steps.
Am J Psychiatry 162:2, February 2005 , http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org
Bornstein, David. “A Plan to Make Homelessness History.” Nytimes.com. N.p., Dec. 20. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Bornstein, David. “The Street-Level Solution.” Nytimes.com. N.p., 24 Dec. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2017.
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, The 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, November 2015; U.S. Department of Education, “ED Data Express,” http://www.eddataexpress.ed.gov.