Homelessness is a growing epidemic with few or no solutions.California alone accounts for 21 percent of the nation’s homeless population in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to the San Joaquin County 2015 point-in-time unsheltered homeless count report, Stockton alone accounted for 218 homeless adults and 12 children as of 2015.“Overall, more unsheltered homeless individuals were counted in 2015 than a previous year,” the report said.
Our societal crisis may also continue to grow due to how many low income Americans are on the brink of homelessness.If this is the case, what can America do to help the cause?
It’s easy to think of ideas that would help our issue, but most ideas are invalidated by real world application.For example, many people claim improved homeless shelters or rehabilitation programs would be a possible solution for the homeless.
This idea seems great until we take into account how our taxes will be allocated to support such a cause.
The city of Los Angeles has had the opportunity for a $1 billion fund for the “war on homelessness” that will attempt to improve shelters, offer housing and more noted by an article by Curbed LA, but this is an experimental effort and there is no true “cure” to the problem due to multiple factors that prevent improvement.
The cure for homelessness is stunted by social stigma. A disconnect exists between the middle and higher class to the homeless, which creates an “us versus them” mindset. What is missing from the populous’ perspective is the fact these people are just that, people.
The circumstances of their failure can be as human as temptations or financial crises. I think these dehumanization methods and negative social role-playing brought by our culture are major reasons why homeless people aren’t given a proper chance to assimilate back into society. Despite that, homeless people are treated as menaces to the public.
An example is San Francisco’s treatment of the homeless during the recent Super Bowl where thousands of homeless people were forced from the streets into encampments as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. Even in Stockton at East Hazelton Avenue and South Aurora Street were cleared after authorities received complaints and issued a 72-hour notice for the homeless to vacate the premises in July 2015, according to the Stockton Record.
Now, it’s easy for me to make the statement that homeless people need an alternative form of help. If that were the case, then what would be my method of helping the homeless? Honestly, I don’t know, because of the unbalanced pros and cons.
If I were forced to give an answer on how to help the homeless, my last effort would be to converse with a homeless person on an individual basis and to offer food or clothing. This may seem like an obvious or noble thing to do but truthfully, feeding a homeless person doesn’t directly help them become a functional member of society.