.. the available shelters..
and that the jobless are simply not motivated.” (Hombs, 9) Thus, Congress left in place a number of measures which reduced the poor’s access to housing, such as tightened eligibility standards for public housing, cuts to federal aid to poor children, (Foscarinis, par. 5-8) and cuts in subsidized low-rent housing.
Still, today, our nation’s government has not enacted any permanent solutions to homelessness. Our local, state or federal governments have not addressed the so desperately needed solutions for the fundamental cause of homelessness: 1) providing subsidies to make existing housing affordable, creating additional affordable housing through rehabilitation, and where needed, new construction; 2) ensure that working people earn enough to meet basic needs, have access to jobs and job training, and if not able to work, are provided with assistance adequate to meet baics needs, including housing; 3) ensure access to social services, including health care, child care, mental health care and substance abuse treatment; 4) prohibit laws that discriminate against the homeless. (Robertson/Greenblatt, 339-346) New policies that address the causes of homelessness, by addressing housing, education, income and treatment problems, must align with prevention policies to stop the rise in homelessness.Making a difference When President Clinton was first elected, it appeared that he had a plan to make homelessness the number one HUD priority and to introduce innovative reforms to make a real change to the nation’s homelessness. Eight years later, no legislation has been passed in this area. What can an individual do to make a difference? One can volunteer. Work in a soup kitchen or a non-profit used goods store once every two weeks.
Tutor someone at a jobs skills center.Deliver meals to home bound people. One can offer some innovative services to non-profit service providers and support agencies. Offer to design and/or maintain someone’s webpage. Research and write grant applications or plan a fundraising event.
Network an organization’s computer system.Offer to teach a resume writing course or facilitate a staff training. ( Kroloff) All of these are needed services and available in most every community. What can our local communities do? They can develop: 1) community-based prevention and family preservation centers; 2) family-oriented substance abuse treatment programs; 3) housing placement and long-term follow-up case management for families; 4) information and referral for the newly homeless; 5) street outreach to homeless children and youth; 6) permanent low-income housing for families and the physically/mentally ill. (Kroloff) What can our nation’s government representatives do? Our government must establish a clear understanding of who the homeless are in our nation.
They must take a look at what major system failures are contributing to homelessness in America. They must understand what is causing the problems in our current service systems. They must understand what purpose the McKinney Act is trying to serve.They must take a look at what goals we are trying to achieve through federal legislation, and then they must re-examine how current legislative steps take us to our national goal? Our government understands that the homeless are people in the crisis of proverty, for any given number of reasons.
They understand that the major systems contributing to homelessness are: low income jobs, expensive/bad housing conditions, social service system failures like health and mental health, no committed responsibility for the chronically disabled, domestic violence/prisons/military/foster care system discharges. And they understand the problems with our nation’s current service systems in place: 1) more people coming in everyday, but insufficient opportunity to access mainstream programs; 2) increased costs and lack of new funding; 3) frustration and perception that the system is failing. So what can our government do? They must make the McKinney Act work for us: 1) provide flexible resources to develop local programs; 2) programs that prove success should be allowed to grow into the mainstream system, receiving support outside of McKinney; 3) programs that provide emergency services should form a core of a local emergency services system and be supported and maintained; 4) affordable housing programs should be revamped in recognition of the current housing crisis; 5) Don’t expect McKinney/HUD resources to meet all needs among people not housed. Require other systems to provide support services. (Homelessness in America) As a nation, our goal must be to end homelessness, prevent its recurrence, and decrease its effects on communities.Our approach must be twofold: identifying and analyzing the causes of homelessness and developing and implementing long-term solutions that remove these causes.
As individuals, we must work with service providers, local communities, public and nonprofit sectors, and homeless people to implement these solutions. The focus of our government programs must be to: 1) support communities in implementing and maintaining long-term comprehensive responses to homelessness; 2) establish easily accessible community networks of services available to homeless families, adults, and children; 3) channel community and government resources to housing and employment; 4) ensure that every dollar invested is well spent. To accomplish these goals, we, as a people, must work with our community and federal goverment representatives to share ideas, information, and resources.
We must work together to actively recruit service providers, decision makers, funders, private sector partners, and people who are or formerly were homeless to collaborate on policy and solutions. We must work together to implement programs that: 1) improve delivery of support services; 2) increase incomes from public benefits; 3) provide accessible, affordable transportation; 4) provide job training, development, and placement; 5) expanding community acceptance of responsibility to the homeless; 6) provide long-term funding for services; 7) set up housing trust funds.Objection to paper Many local urban communities have already taken the necessary steps and have demonstrated innovative strategies. For example, Washington, D.C.
has set up a prevention model which guarantees rental assistance for families and individuals facing eviction. The D.C. program includes a 90-day case management follow-up to assist these households in overcoming such a crisis and in developing a long-term plan for future housing. (Homelessness in America) A Los Angeles program provides homeless families with long-term case management to achieve permanent stability and independence. Follow-up lasts for a year after placement in permanent low-income housing to insure maintenance of housing, participation in job training and placement, and access to support services linked to job training, such as child care.(Homelessness in America) However, it is not realistic to believe that local communities are financially capable of solving the homeless issues on their own.
To successfully rid our nation of homelessness requires collobration between people, local communities, the state, and the federal government. Conclusion In conclusion, as initially stated in this paper, our government is not doing all that it can to combat our nation’s homelessness. Unless our government commits to ending homelessness through public education, policy advocacy, and technical assistance, homelessness will become a national disaster for the United States. The restructuring and funding of the McKinney Act and HUD, as well as other federal homelessness programs is long overdue.New legislation should provide incentives for states to address homeless problems, which they have never really done in the past. To solve the national homelessness, we, as a people, must work with our community, state and federal goverment representatives to share ideas, information, and resources.
We must work together to actively recruit service providers, decision makers, funders, private sector partners, and people who are or formerly were homeless to collaborate on policy and solutions. Social Issues.