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Yanwen Fan Writing 39C Dr. Philip Broadbent 1 June 2018

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Homeless problem solution: lower the possibility of homelessness Homelessness in the US was a historical problem since 1640s. The first documented homelessness problem was affected by religion. It was believed that a Christian would naturally have their needs met because of the grace of God. Some Christians met the problems that they could not solve such as homelessness were resulted from the justice from the God toward their bad behaviors. Then they would prove their internal worth to the community father to get a permission live in that town. After that, the Industrial Revolution began. Homelessness was a problem more related to the change of society. In 1820s to 30s, lots of people migrated from countryside to city searching for jobs. In big city such as New York and Philadelphia, so many unemployed people walking on the streets made the city firstly issue a pan-handling decree. In this way jail become those people’s residence. Life in there was chaotic, lacking of regulation made lots of physical injury even death. Those family who have disabled member and child were not able to support themselves so they have to give up their children. In 1850s, the first documented homeless youth was generated. Many youths just got kicked out of their family and become homeless. During the Civil War, opiate was widely used among those injured veterans and using this drug become a trend. One could purchase morphine and heroin from the market without

Fan 2 restrictions. Not only the veterans, but also those house wives were addicted to the drug. Crime caused by drug abuse soon followed up. People who have PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) wandered along the streets and became homeless. So, what is homelessness problem? What does that mean to us? I extract the definition about homelessness from Wikipedia. Homelessness is the circumstance when people are without a permanent dwelling, such as a house or apartment. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housingThe term homeless may also include people whose primary night-time residence is in a homeless shelter, a domestic violence shelter, long-term residence in a motel, a vehicle, squatting, cardboard boxes, a tent city, tarpaulins, shanty town structures made of discarded building materials or other ad hoc housing situations.” (Wikipedia) When I walk in the streets on San Francisco, I’m surprised that there are so many people who wear thin clothes that are not adequate in the cold weather. There are sunshine but still very cold outside. They either sit on the ground with cardboard box or lean against the wall. They are so normal but also distinct among the crowd. Most people just pass by and pretend they have seen nothing. We should pay attention to this problem. Firstly, those people contribute to crimes. Those folks will hold you up for money, breaking into a home or store. Homeless people are likely to engage in criminal activities because of lacking food or money. They drinking and sleeping in

Fan 2 restrictions. Not only the veterans, but also those house wives were addicted to thedwelling, such as a house or apartment. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing The term homeless may also include people whose primary night-time residence is in a homeless shelter, a domestic violence shelter, long-term residence in a motel, a vehicle, squatting, cardboard boxes, a tent city, tarpaulins, shanty town structures made of discarded building materials or other ad hoc housing situations. ” (Wikipedia) When I walk in the streets on San Francisco, I’m surprised that the re are so many people who wear thin clothes that are not adequate in the cold weather. There are sunshine but still very cold outside. They either sit on the ground with cardboard box or lean against the wall. They are so normal but also distinct among the crowd. Most people just pass by and pretend they have seen nothing. We should pay attention to this problem. Firstly, those people contribute to crimes. Those folks will hold you up for money, breaking into a home or store. Homeless people are likely to engage in criminal activities because of lacking food or money. They drinking and sleeping in " id="pdf-obj-1-34" src="pdf-obj-1-34.jpg">

Fan 3 public place, doing drugs, vagrancy, urinating, panhandling. Obviously, those behaviors leave a really bad impression to people. As regard to property or personal safety, you are not willing to live in the area with a bunch of homeless. What will teenagers think when they see those substance abuse homeless on the streets? Young Americans may start try those substances early because they see those as no big deal. According to a study published in the Archives of General

Psychiatry with sample of 10123 teens between the ages of 13 to 18, 78 percent of US teens had drunk alcohol and 42.5 percent tried the illicit substances. The scene on the streets are direct to those teenagers. They will be affected by those homeless. No matter how you prevent your children from these bad behaviors, when they walk in the streets they learn it. The reason why we should care about homeless problem also include the cost. The average cost spend on homeless people is very high. Lacking of good sanitation and proper

medical treatment not only make them become “walking bacteria carriers” which post threat to

public health, but also make them occupy emergency room facilities. Those services are at higher cost but homeless people use them frequently. Because poor health condition, they’ll stay longer in the hospital which cost even more than usual. In addition, homeless people will occupy the

space in jail, they disobey the “Nuisance laws” like panhandling, loitering. Putting them into jail result in criminal charges which finally add to the tax payment of yours. I found some research data:

Numerous studies have documented the high cost to taxpayers of chronic homelessness, generally defined as one year or more of living on the streets.

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A study in Hawaii found that the rate of psychiatric hospitalization was 100 times higher than a comparable non-homeless group.

A University of Texas two-year survey found that each homeless person costs an average $14,480 per year, primarily for overnight jail.

Los Angeles learned that placing four homeless people in permanent housing saved them $80,000 per year (Whyman, Andy. 5 November, 2014. Why should we care about America’s homeless problem? Sierra Sun)

Homeless will also have negative impact on children’s mental health. I quote the

paragraphs from the website as a supportive evidence.

Also, children experiencing homelessness are four times more likely to show delayed development and twice as likely to have learning disabilities as non- homeless children.

Sadly, Youth are a growing demographic among America’s homeless. Nationwide, homelessness among K-12 age students saw a 10 percent rise from 1,065,794 to 1,168,354 . According to the US Department of Education, the Lone Star state is third among the top 10 states with the number of homeless students. Texas accounts for 94,624 homeless enrolled students; this represents an 11% increase between 2011-2012. (York, Phil. November 3, 2013. Why should we care about housing and homelessness? Act Locally Waco)

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“Most of the families impacted were getting by just fine until one event led to their
“Most of the families impacted were getting by just fine until one event
led to their homelessness – perhaps a job loss or health situation.”
(SlipTalk)

Homelessness is a subtle problem. Many people are one payday away from homelessness. That’s part of the reason why I intend to mention homeless children. If you become one of those folks, homelessness will have long-lasting effect on your family even your child. If you lose your job, and there is not enough money to support you until you find next job.

It is likely that you can’t pay the rent and become homeless. It’s a practical problem for us. As a

social problem, youth homelessness who will become future labors, showing mental retardation is not a good sign for society development. These people are harder to get educated and find a better job than normal people. They will struggle in the poverty line and their children are more likely to become youth homelessness. That’s a vicious cycle of poverty. We should always keep

Fan 6 in mind that homeless is not far away from us. To solve the problem, all we have to do is lower the possibility of people becoming homeless. When talk about the solutions, it is necessary to clarify the cause of the problem.

Fan 6 in mind that homeless is not far away from us. To solve the problem,

First reason is poverty and unemployment. People live in generational poverty don’t have resources to get educated or get rid of poverty. They don’t have any supports for their career.

Racial divides still happen so they don’t have access to equal paying jobs. These social boundaries make it difficult for those individuals to overcome poverty on their own. Lacking of money make them become homeless easily. People who lose a job and cannot support themselves during the unemployment time are likely to become homeless. They can’t pay their expenses (including the most important one: rent) to carry on their life. My solution is using part of the homeless fund to help with family struggle in the poverty line (but are not homeless yet) Classify the poverty family from urgent class to still need help class. Count the number of people who need help and then divides the fund into different amount based on their poverty class. Give

Fan 7 the support fund to them each month and keep tracking their economy condition at a given time

(such as 1 year). If some families’ condition get better or worse, then the fund should change

based on their poverty class. All the children in such families should get compulsory education regardless their racial, identity, gender or religion. The government are responsible for creating more basic jobs, lead the company invest on new energy or new material field. Recruiting certain

percentage of workers that are from poor family. Reeducate the workers. The fees should be paid by the government. For those who used to have jobs, I recommend the government or local influential organization propagandize people save money when they have jobs. The advertiser can also post some new working opportunities on the website to help those unemployment networking. I come up with these ideas because when you solve a problem, you should start with the root. One of the roots of homelessness, is poverty and unemployment. Poverty is hard to solve, giving money to those poor each month is a temporary solution. Educating those poor, transform them to available labor is the long-term solution. Keep tracking their economy condition contributes to the government allocate the resources reasonably. The fund is limited, which will be only allowed to help those people who really need. For those unemployed people, having some deposit is a stable way to get through the hard time. Networking is an important way to find new jobs. Only during a certain period, the government will create more jobs for those people (like recession). Most of the time, from individual perspective, a person should learn how to manage their money. The second cause of homeless is lack of affordable housing. In cities like San Francisco and New York, affordable and available housing is in short supply. But even outside these urban areas people are feeling crunched by the rising cost of living. Since 2007,

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the number of poor households increased by 27%11.25 million families are paying 50% or more of their income toward housing. According to The Department of Housing and Urban Development, families with only one full-time worker making minimum wage couldn’t afford rent for a two-bedroom market-priced apartment anywhere in the country.” (HandUp. 5 November 2015. 6 Reasons Why People Become Homeless, Medium) The job is not secure as they were in the past, employees are even paid less result from inflation. The housing rent does not lower and the minimum wage cannot cover the basic living expense. The cost of housing is out of reach. On average, renters in LA spend 47% of income for rent. Middle class families have difficulty paying those rents, let alone those people who struggle in the poverty line. The government used to provide shelter for those homeless people. However, there are still a lot of people refuse to stay in a shelter and choose to sleep rough. Why this plan does not work? Based on a writer’s real experience of being homeless, there are several reasons for their choice. Stay in a shelter is usually dangerous although there exist good shelters with safe environment. Many homeless people have mental illnesses and their behaviors might out of control. In this case, they’ll do something weird which scares others. Some people do drugs and drink alcohols, their addiction make them crazy. People stay in the shelter have to face those violent people, afraid of being raped or assaulted. The worse thing is that a person is very possible infected with disease or parasites. Imagine a place without good hygiene: bedbugs are everywhere, people who has not bathed for a long time sleep beside you. Maybe no one can stand that. Meanwhile, the disrespect from shelter staff, separation of their family or their dogs…These all make homeless people regard shelter as a bad place.

Fan 9 Then, a nationwide program “Housing First” showed up. Housing First program provide immediate housing for those chronically homeless. (Before HF was introduced in 1992, only

homeless with substance abuse or mental illnesses can have access to housing) Those houses are private and independent. It seems a better alternative to temporary shelters. The strategy is

effective: “The HF participants ‘reported greater gains in quality of life, and demonstrated

Fan 9 Then, a nationwide program “Housing First” showed up. Housing First program provide immediate housing

greater improvements in community functioning compared with participants in treatment as usual.’ ‘These findings suggest that a majority of individuals with severe mental illness who are homeless are able to move immediately into and manage their own housing if given the right supports,’ writes Aubry.” (Trilling, David. 26 August, 2016. Chronic homelessness and the Housing First program: Research review of how programs have worked, Journalist’s Resource)

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Fan 10 Is Housing First a perfect solution to solve homelessness? Until now I don’t see

Is Housing First a perfect solution to solve homelessness? Until now I don’t see any data

report how much homeless has been settled by providing houses for them. There were more than

500,000 people in the US lack affordable housing according to a study in 2015. The coverage of HF (Housing First) program is not broad enough. As a rule, the federal government's regulation of housing is viewed as ‘unneeded and counterproductive,’ and ‘construction subsidy programs are inefficient because they substitute governmental regulation for market discipline.’” (Savela, Eila. 1991. Homelessness and the Affordable Housing Shortage: What is to Be Done, Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice) Rising demand for house and apartment causes the housing price to rise continuously. There is not enough land in the urban for housing so the land

Fan 11 price is expensive. The scarcity of land plus high construction fees make the poor and homeless no room to live. If every homeless were given an affordable housing in the urban, it costs too much. Also, there is not enough land to build cheap houses. It’s unfair to those normal family or rich people who spend much money buying a house in the urban. My solution is classifying the homeless. Those people with little mental health problem or slight physical problem should have jobs. They should be reeducated for work and have priority of accessing to the house. They work for credit, their credit can be used as exchange for food and other personal needs. They’ll get medical treatment regularly. The government may build their house in the suburb area to reduce the cost. After a period’s observation, homeless with higher credit and stable life style can live in the cheap house provided by government. They still have to work to pay the minimum rent. For those homeless who are not willing to work, only provide the basic life support. For those with disability, arrange them to public health institution, teach them how to live a life independently. Finding the support within community, asking for help from organization that focus on disability is usually a good choice. Homeless is a long-lasting problem and may not get solved in the future. However, we can reduce the number of homeless by education and transition. The situation is changing so does the solution, maybe someday the problem will reach a balance.

Bibliography