Do you think homelessness is solvable? Let’s start with the definition of homelessness. It might surprise you to learn that according to HUD, the definition of homelessness is not someone living on the streets but instead "someone who is living in a place not meant for human habitation, in an emergency shelter, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they temporarily resided. Someone who is losing their primary nighttime residence or resources to remain in housing."
According to the United States of Interagency Council, in 1991 the United Nations declared housing to be a fundamental human right. While we have made steps in that direction, the US having reduced homelessness by 20% between 2005 and 2013, we still have a long way to go.
Why is homelessness a problem for society?
Homelessness is a problem for society because it requires public resources that would otherwise not be needed. Expenses, not income, is generated for the community as a whole. Resources are used to pay for shelters and emergency healthcare that the individuals are unable to pay back.
The homeless population also affects the workforce, tourism, crime/safety, and tax dollars. It is the local community that ends up paying the price.
For each member of the homeless community, taxpayers are paying an average of $36,000 per person. Affordable housing only costs around $13,000 per person.
There are an estimated 28,000+ people in Florida alone that are homeless. It breaks down to around 2,171 are families, 2,472 Vets, and 1,450 young adults. 5,729 are experiencing chronic homelessness.
In Florida, taxpayers are paying over $1 billion in funds a year.
Do the math.
That’s a lot of money we can save if we put in the work to help these people get back on their feet.
Is homelessness a solvable problem?
So far, 82 communities and three entire states have ended Veteran homelessness. Four communities have ended chronic and Veteran homelessness.
This is a good start but it could be better if more people were willing to aid in the solution.
What do I think we need to make homelessness solvable?
Educate the public about what it means to be homeless.
Approach with a community mindset that involves delivering services, housing, and programs that the people need, including affordable housing and healthcare.
Create a crisis plan to help prevent homelessness.
USICH has outlined what they believe to be the solution to homelessness or at least reduce the rates. Some of those projects include:
Affordable housing that allows people to exit homelessness
Affordable healthcare so that people can get treatment and help for illnesses that limit them from getting a job
Schools that provide students with a sign of safety and connection to their community
Housing first to provide people with the education and resources to keep their housing and not revert to homelessness
Conclusion: Homelessness Is Solvable!
With all of these ideas, it’s easy to see how homelessness is solvable. It’s going to take some work, but in the end, we will save lives, taxpayer’s dollars, and community resources.
Of course, an idea without action goes nowhere.
What we need are people willing to turn ideas into reality. People who care deeply for others and want to see the local community thrive.
Is that person you?
We can’t solve homelessness without you! Join us today.
Currently there are zero shelters offering a free place to stay. The Bautista Project is working to change that with our building initiative. Every dollar you donate brings us one step closer to making this a reality.