On Dec. 21, 2017, NPR’s Camila Domonoske reported “Cities Across The U.S. Honor ‘Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.””They pass quietly, often out of sight, their deaths more likely an unconfirmed rumor to those who knew them on the street than the basis for a news story,””Many never get a funeral. Some of their bodies go unclaimed at the morgue.” Homeless groups across the country held vigils reading the names of the homeless people who have died over the past year.
On Feb. 17, 2015, Mother Jones reporter Scott Carrier wrote an article “The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-Effective Way to End Homelessness” about the Salt Lake City approach for the homeless. They spend $10,000 a year to house, feed and care for them. This is cheaper than spending $20,000 putting them in jail or hospital emergency rooms.
Carrier said “We could, as a country, look at the root causes of homelessness and try to fix them. One of the main causes is that a lot of people can’t afford a place to live. They don’t have enough money to pay rent, even for the cheapest dives available. Prices are rising, inventory is extremely tight, and the upshot is, as a new report by the Urban Institute finds, that there’s only 29 affordable units available for every 100 extremely low-income households. So we could create more jobs, redistribute the wealth, improve education, socialize health care, basically redesign our political and economic systems to make sure everybody can afford a roof over their heads.” Or, we could give a trillion dollar tax break to the richest one percent.
New York University psychologist Sam Tsemberis had an idea. “Okay,” Tsemberis recalls thinking, “they’re schizophrenic, alcoholic, traumatized, brain damaged. What if we don’t make them pass any tests or fill out any forms? They aren’t any good at that stuff. Inability to pass tests and fill out forms was a large part of how they ended up homeless in the first place. Why not just give them a place to live and offer them free counseling and therapy, health care, and let them decide if they want to participate? Why not treat chronically homeless people as human beings and members of our community who have a basic right to housing and health care?””We have the cure for homelessness—it’s housing. What we lack is political will.”
Copyright 2017 DJ Cline All rights reserved.