Homelessness is a major challenge across the United States of America. In the beginning of 2020, the country has over 580,000 homeless individuals spread across all states and represent the nation’s diversity. In the same time, the state of California had over 161,500 homeless people. The state is renowned of its opulence globally but is shocks many that it has so many homeless people along the streets of major cities, including Los Angeles. In the main, homelessness is caused by traumatic upbringing, mental illness, poverty, and prolonged substance abuse. However, opulence has significantly contributed to homelessness as affordable homes become scarce as the market is concentrated in providing pricey residencies for the better off segment of the population. The administration has also put in place exorbitant permitting processes, prolonged environmental assessment, and stringent zoning guidelines that make housing to be pricey.
The administration has initiated several measures to address the problem. These include permanent supportive housing and the provision of emergency shelters. The shelters provide temporary housing for the homeless community. The shelters are run in an awkward manner such that many homeless individuals perceive them to be dirty and dangerous. The permanent supportive housing program is somewhat favourable as it provides long-term residence. The program targets mainly the chronically ill people through adequately subsidized housing along with support services, such as training for jobs, psychological counselling, rehabilitation from substance abuse. I consider that the government should provide permanent supportive housing to all eligible homeless people.
Permanent supportive housing has proven its effectiveness in reducing homelessness by pulling people off the pathways and reducing public spending in medical bills and correctional services, hence saving taxpayers money. The program provides a holistic approach to the housing challenge not only by accommodating the homeless but by also reducing substance abuse. Training of the individuals can enhance their shills that they can use to access different job openings that will help them earn an income. The earnings will enable the homeless to pay for other basic needs instead of relying on help from other people along the streets.
Health Care Organisations
The homeless community need healthcare services, which are provided by organizations that care for the poor. The community needs special health care and health care-related services. Organizations such as the Associate of Gospel Rescue Mission provide quality food for the homeless people. A number of churches, hospitals, public health departments, and community health centres play a major role in providing mobile clinic services. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been at the forefront in supporting better health care for homeless people. The department works with community health centres through financial support to enable them provide wide-ranging protective and primary health care services to the homeless.
The different organizations play a key role in ensuring the homeless people obtain quality health care services. The main value is to give the homeless community healthcare services at no cost, which requires adequate funding. The government departments, churches, and hospitals collectively look for resources to provide food, and medication for the homeless. The interventions help these individuals to have healthy meals hence avoid nutritional health challenges through lack of minerals required for optimum bodily functioning. The medication helps to fight different diseases and to some extent reduce levels of substance and drug abuse. Altogether, the measures help to improve the quality of life for the homeless community that ultimately reduces government spending in providing additional care services.
Homelessness involves different socioeconomic elements which either support it or reduce the problem. The main policy changes that contribute to the social challenge involve laws that touch on affordable housing, substance and drug abuses, family breakdown, poverty, and physical and mental health. An amalgamation of the policy issues involving these factors causes some people to not afford to shelter themselves. Additionally, policies leading to a decline in people’s spending power through inadequate earning, discrimination, and swings in the economy can cause people not to be able to pay for good housing. Weak systems also cause homelessness particularly the poor immigration and refugee laws and inadequate support for children welfare.
The main policy support for homelessness is to ensure it does not occur in the first place. The most crucial socioeconomic policy should aim to ensure there is sufficient and affordable housing units. The interventions include policies regulating the use of land and availability of financial support for people intending to invest in providing affordable housing. The policies should also support inter-agency co-ordination particularly in removing barriers to homeless individual’s receiving benefits and services, and avoiding gaps and reduplication by ensuring every single cent is spent prudently.
The housing policy has failed to support the underprivileged individuals. A lot of people may have to spend well over one-third of their earning on rental expenses. The state should considering increasing spending on affordable housing and the policy amendments to reduce taxes and increase funding to medical interventions that support the mentally ill have added to the increasing homelessness. The government should get involved by providing a friendly environment for the provision of an adequate supply of affordable housing units. It will fully support people to find shelter and live a quality life.
Willison, C. E. (2021). Ungoverned and out of sight: Public health and the political crisis of homelessness in the United States. Oxford University Press.