The solution to the problem of homelessness is not to ‘warehouse’ it. The solution is permanent, stable, affordable housing. The solution is also case management for the chronically homeless who are most likely mentally ill or suffering from an addiction. Although, not all homeless people are drug addicts or drunks, nor are they all mentally ill. Many hold down jobs, but due to a lack of jobs skills, their jobs are usually minimum wage and no one can afford even a studio apartment on $7.25 an hour even if they are managing to work 40 hours a week. It’s just not possible. Anyone with a calculator can figure that one out.
So instead, what do we do? We ‘warehouse’ them and have them shuffle from one homeless ‘warehouse’ aka shelter to another depending on which one has availability. How does that work for stability in their lives? How does not knowing where they will lay their head on any given night, be a comfort to them? I would soon be mentally ill too, if I knew not where I was to lay my head, night after night. Oftentimes, they must leave the shelter at first light and find something to do(if they are jobless)until the shelter doors open in the evening. They don’t get a break. The homeless are having to figure out ways to find a restroom when the homeless shelter puts them out and many must carry their belongings with them as they make their way each day, therefore, making them ineligible to go inside a restaurant to use the restroom because of the conspicuousness of their belongings. In other words, they are turned away at the door.
Quite often, they are also turned away at the homeless shelter because in many instances, homeless shelters use a ‘lottery’ system. If they call your number, you get a bed for the night, if not, you get to ‘move along’, try your ‘luck’ somewhere else. This is the best we can do? Seriously? No, it’s not! It is just what we do! And it is SO not working!
When will we take a serious look at the staggering statistics that do not simply suggest, but scream out that we have a horrifying homeless problem? When will we earnestly try to come up with solutions instead of putting bandaids on the problem? When will we acknowledge that we have a homeless crisis situation that should have been addressed decades ago? When will we stop ‘kicking the homeless can’ down the road? When will the last person die from merely having been homeless? When we will look at the homeless as ‘people’ and not merely as the outcasts of society, the ‘wish we could forget about them and they will go away’ nuisances that many think they are? Not many people choose to be homeless. Some merely choose not to step food inside of a ‘homeless warehouse’ because of fear. I have been inside ‘homeless warehouses’ and in many instances, their fear of them is justified.