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As per USA Facts, the United States of America currently grapples with a staggering figure of over half a million individuals facing homelessness. This concerning epidemic in the USA has led to a rising number of people forced to dwell in their cars, shelters, or on the streets, a consequence of the nation’s economic challenges reaching an unprecedented low and the widespread prevalence of unmanaged mental health issues.
How can this menace be sustainably curbed?
1. Set Up Low-Income Housing
Some people are homeless, not because they can’t get a job, but because the money coming in is not enough to cover all the expenses, and housing prices are flying with the eagles.
If more affordable houses were set up, people could afford to get a roof over their heads and stop sleeping under the clouds.
2. Establish Service Programs
The establishment of additional service programs akin to military-style Youth Service could increase job opportunities for young individuals and those with valuable skills, enabling them to afford housing that is within their means.
4. Low-Cost Healthcare
Sicknesses and the inability to access affordable healthcare have driven numerous individuals onto the streets. If medical services were more cost-effective, more people could effectively manage their health (particularly mental health), allowing them to work and secure suitable housing.
5. Pay Employees More
While the rich continue being rich, most pay their employees pitiful salaries that can barely support them. An online user feels more people would afford better lives if rich employers paid better.
They say, “Instead of taxing the f*** out of the rich, force them to pay their employees more. Much, much more. Then the working class, who pay the lion’s share of taxes anyway, will have more money to feed, house, and educate themselves.”
This, unfortunately, may not solve the earning disparity between the classes.
6. Create Social Programs That Work
Other people feel that taxing the rich and the working is alright as long as that money is used to create social programs that help the needy.
“If you tax and create social programs…those are usually meant for the needy. Get schooling and housing, and that improves the chances of the kids to become contributing members of society.” One says.
7. Build Apartment Complexes To House The Homeless
One of the most effective and tested ways to solve the menace of homelessness is building houses and assigning them to the homeless.
According to one online user, the Finns have done this, and it has worked. He says, “Any homeless person can sign up for these houses alongside a rehabilitation program. When they get in, they GET an apartment (home ownership) under conditions (one of which is the rehabilitation program).”
8. Have A “Housing First” Approach
Addressing the fundamental needs of a homeless individual should take precedence, with securing stable housing being of utmost importance. Providing a place to reside grants them a sense of security and empowers them to focus on improving other aspects of their lives.
One Redditor says, “The “Housing First” plan (as implemented in Houston) is seeing success. Basically, get these people into homes first and make sure they have food and shelter. Once these basic needs are met, people are able to focus much more energy on the issues that got them into homelessness in the first place. (Drugs, poverty, difficulty finding gainful employment, etc.)”
9. Help The Mentally Ill
Many of the homeless individuals we encounter today grapple with mental illnesses or conditions. If accessible treatment options are provided to them, they can embark on a path to recovery, reintegrate into the workforce, and attain the means to secure housing.
10. Don’t Strive To Solve, Strive To Improve
While eliminating homelessness would be wonderful, it is unrealistic or easily achievable. The best approach would be to improve the situation by shortening the length of time someone is homeless and helping them transition.
One user says, “[I] worked at a homeless shelter for 17 years. You cannot fix the problem. You could improve on it, but there will always be homeless.”
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