Homelessness is Not a Choice

Homelessness is not a choice an individual makes but is a result of poverty, unemployment, and lack of affordable housing. Many homeless people come from a loving family, and at one point in their life, they had jobs and homes. Economic and social challenges cause them to suffer and make bad life choices which lead them down the road of homelessness. Back then, families looked after their unfortunate ones and supported them when they lost their jobs, faced economic issues and health problems. Nowadays, family members are not willing to support their loved ones; instead, they judge them because they have problems.

Help from family member is not the only way to solve the problems of homelessness. The state of Utah has taken a different approach. Rather than expecting families to care for their struggling members or putting them in shelters and halfway homes while they recover and reintegrate into society, they provide them with permanent homes first. This method has been proven to help homeless people overcome their problem. In an article from The New Yorker called Home Free the author states, The old model assumed that before you could put people into permanent homes you had to deal with their underlying issues – get them to stop drinking, take their medication, and so on. Otherwise, it was thought, they had ended up back on the street. But it is ridiculously hard to get people to make such changes while they are living in a shelter on or the street (Surowiecki, James. 2017). This quote says that homeless people cannot be expected to solve their problems to be housing ready, this suggests that the stable living conditions provided can provide a positive effect on the individuals and motivate them to overcome their problems. This proves that the government providing homeless people with Housing First rather than counseling will strongly benefit both of them.

The method of providing the homeless with homes first then counseling and treatment also saves money for the government. The old approach was not helping homeless nor saving money. Same article states, “overtime Housing First has saved the government money approach has proven to be effective in many aspects. Homeless people are not cheap to take care of the cost of shelters, emergency room visit, ambulances, police and so on quickly piles up. This shows that the housing first approach not only helps the homeless, but it also benefits the government in terms of saving money.

Helping the homeless with housing is not enough but engaging with them and listening to their story. Peter Resnik a high-powered attorney talked to two homeless men, Rob and Chris. He learned that Chris loved reading, so he provided him a book. This book was passed along the homeless community. Peter Resnik learned of this and then decided to make an official book club. This book club helped the homeless men and women share their thoughts on literature and their lives. An article from Wbur News, called A Book Club Whose Best Stories Aren’t Written Down It is common, Tibbets says, for the conversations in the book club to turn to real-life experiences of members. They have read about two dozen books together now hanging from Emerson essays to O. Henry short stories. But the books are secondary Tibbets says. What’s so important about the club, he says is that it’s members finally feel like someone cares what he or she thinks (Lisa Tobin, 2010). This quote shows the reader that giving homeless people a voice can change their outlook on life and can make them feel good about themselves. While being homeless and begging for money to stay alive can be dehumanizing, having someplace to voice your opinions and feel understood can mean everything. This also gives these people chance to share their life stories and make friends as well. Also this kind of program can really help homeless people feel like they are being heard and that they matter.

The Housing First approach and the book club both have something in common. While they are both unconventional ways of looking at helping the homeless, they still help the homeless by giving them moral support. The Housing First approach gives the homeless moral support by giving them a home while they tackle their mental and physical problems. The book club gives the homeless moral support by giving them somewhere to speak and let their voices, idea, and opinions be heard.

In conclusion, both the Housing First approach and The Book Club are great ways to start tackling the homelessness problem. They do not only help the homeless get a home but they also help them feel heard by others as well. By using these strategies we cannot only help the homeless be to heard, but we can also help them get permanent homes.

References

Surowiecki, J. (2017, June 19). Home Free? Retrieved October 03, 2018, from
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/22/home-free

Tobin, L. (2010, November 25). A Book Club Whose Best Stories Aren’t Written Down.
Retrieved October 03, 2018, from http://www.wbur.org/news/2010/11/25/homeless-book-club

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