This post was originally published last January,
but I think it is worth a repost!
This is a debate that will go on and on and on because homelessness may never TOTALLY end. But, as I was reading a blog post on Chang.org’s Poverty in America section, I noticed a good analogy on how we could go about starting to end homelessness.
This blog author, Eric Sheptock, is speaking about ending homelessness in Washington, D.C., and brings up the point that “[Mayor] Fenty focused on housing only the most vulnerable homeless – those who might die if not housed soon. As noble and necessary as this might seem to be, it meant that the more capable homeless who needed the least help in order to become self-sufficient were being ignored and allowed to stagnate in the shelter system.” His analogy to go along with this is that of a leaky pipe. The first thing you do is not mop the floor or try to fill the crack. The first thing you do is shut off the water!
When put in perspective with homelessness prevention and ending homelessness, the right way to stop the leak is to help house the more capable homeless. Housing, first, the homeless who may just need a temporary but stable place to live in order clean up and get a new job. Or, focusing on the increasing number of homeless families which has become a large part of the homeless population.
There are many tools that can help to stop the leak of capable people becoming homeless. Tools such as employment training, affordable housing, and case management are a few of the things that HealthNet’s Homeless Initiative Program provides.