Putting Homelessness to an End
P1. What if someone close to our hearts, a family member or a friend was homeless? We should ask ourselves: Would I let them stay on the streets or would I take them into my own hands? Maybe I would even put them in a facility that can provide them with housing. Throughout the country, homelessness is a very controversial topic. Keeping people on the streets is costing the government a lot more money than it would be if these people were placed into homes. This is why organizations such as the Common Ground have been created in order to give these people a place to live while also reducing the population of people living on the streets. In addition, these homes give the homeless people opportunities to rebuild their lives and help better their illnesses. So rather than being against the funding for these homes, sit back and think, what would I do if someone close to me was in this situation?
P2. In David Bornstein’s article entitled, “The Street-Level Solution,” he discusses how most of the people that are homeless today became homeless from a traumatic brain injury. After people experience injuries like a car accident, bicycle fall, head wound, etc. they’re minds become altered, greatly affecting how they act and their abilities to do different things. Many people wind up on the streets, from either abusing drugs or alcohol or becoming violent prior to sustaining such injuries. Because of certain actions made, people are not able to keep their jobs, leaving them with nothing to live off of.
P3. In order to get the homeless off the streets, corporations like the Common Ground, founded by Rosanne Haggerty and other institutions have been created to house these people. People have been skeptical to how the homeless will adjust to the life style changes they will be in. Housing the homeless has had positive outcomes in the sense that they are able to begin putting their lives back together. On the other hand, housing the homeless is not the only solution to give these people normal lives. If a person is homeless for a number of months, they cannot just be placed in a home and automatically be able to adapt to a standard lifestyle. “Existence becomes not about overcoming homelessness but about finding food, panhandling, looking for a job to survive another day. The whole process of how you define stability gets reordered,” stated Haggerty. Notably, adaptation is not easy so the best resolution is usually placing someone in a communal residence that offers special services. For example, in “The Street Level Solution,” the article states: “residents also make use of communal gardens, classes in things like cooking, yoga, theatre and photography, and job placement.” When positive support like this is provided, most of the tenants respond positively.
P4. In my opinion housing the homeless has nothing but positive outcomes and I believe that my point is proven in David Bornstein’s next article, “A Plan to Make Homelessness History.” If the homeless today is not directly assisted, they will most likely live in the same conditions for the rest of their lives. The Common Ground released the 100,000 Homes Campaign, which was made to focus primarily on housing the homeless who are at high risks of death. Placing the homeless people in homes not only reduces street population, it also saves money in the society. This is because the homeless are often going through “emergency rooms, addiction treatments, psychiatric care and jails,” according to the article, “A Plan to Make Homelessness History.” The solution to all of these issues started in the 1990s when, “housing first,” was invented. This is when people must be drug and alcohol free which is considered, “housing ready.” Haggerty stated that, “We learned that the only way to get chronically homeless people into housing was to go out and beg them to let us help them.”
P5. Later on, Haggerty hired Becky Kanis to help her persuade the homeless into entering housing on their own. Both Haggerty and Kanis learned that people living on the streets often died around the ages of forty and fifty years old. This is because, people with illnesses who are living on streets are not able to manage medicine for heart disease or refrigerate insulin for diabetes. In the article, “A Plan to Make Homelessness History,” it states: “Along the way, Common Ground developed the strategy that is now at the heart of the campaign: hit the streets and get to know the most vulnerable people, keep talking with them until they agree to enter housing, and then blanket them with supports to keep them there and help rebuild their lives.” One of the tasks in this strategic process is getting volunteers to survey homeless people early in the mornings. In one situation in Phoenix after a survey the volunteers were asked if they would like to donate money and within only ten minutes, fifty thousand dollars were raised. One of the leaders of the Common Ground, Laura Green Zeilinger adopted the Common Ground’s vulnerability index. In only ten days she has a place for the person to live just by having them visit, go through an orientation, sign a lease, and pick up their keys. Due to her accomplishment of adopting this system, in only a little over two years, 1,200 people in Washington, D.C. have been placed into permanent homes.
P6. In Greg Beato’s article entitled, “Housing the Homeless,” he makes very similar points to those of David Bornstein’s. he describes how Common Ground has helped reduce homelessness in many areas today. Similarly stated in the previous articles, transitioning from being chronically homeless on the streets to a residential home is a huge life style change. These people often need a lot of support in making their adjustments. In New York City, Common Ground works with a program called Safe Haven which is an alternative to the basic shelters. With Safe Haven, people are there to help the homeless move into permanent housing. In one of the Safe Haven building, the rooms are singles and do not have kitchens or their own bathrooms, unlike the other Common Ground institutes. In the article, “Housing the Homeless,” it states that: “because of these homes that the homeless people are being placed into, homelessness has been reduced from 4,395 people citywide to 3,262 from 2005 to 2012.”
P7. In conclusion, although homelessness is a problem that is being fixed today, there are still many people in the United States on the streets without a home. Building these homes is only helping get people off the streets and I believe that it should continue to be done. With these homes, people are able to start bettering themselves, and the streets will not be as crowded and populated so it is basically a win, win situation in the long run.
Beito, Greg. “Housing the Homeless.” ProQuest. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.
Bornstein, David. “The Street-Level Solution.” Opinionator. 24 Dec. 2010. Web. 30 Jan. 2017
Bornstein David. “A Plan to Make Homelessness History.” Opinionator. 20 Dec. 2010. Web. 30 Jan 2017.