that's wikipedia's definition of homelessness. very sanitary, clean, and to the point. very sterile terminology and pretty encompassing. you could probably add some adjectives to it, but i'll leave that up to you. unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure, and adequate housing...that might say it for me as far as describing what homelessness is.
not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings..that would add alittle more description to it but i'd really start going into an in depth entry about the conditions of the homeless and some of the deplorable circumstance they exist in. i'd also have to go into the whole thing about helping the homeless and entitlements and the debates and arguments and morality. so...i'll just stop right there for now.
housing is a big issue right now. it's something that's being talked about and discussed and there has even been some progress made in different states and different cities. utah has made alot of headway. phoenix seems to have come up with a workable program. others are taking action to end homelessness. there are alot of different programs and alot of different names you can call them. some are new programs. some are existing programs. some are a remix of old programs. one or two of them are even new programs with alot of thought put into them. there are some people who are trying to help the homeless and put an end to homelessness.
i'm worried and concerned. not for the programs. the programs are workable. the people and organizations implementing the programs are capable and able to implement the programs. but here's what i'm worried about. most or all of these programs aren't really new. they've been around or discussed for decades. they haven't worked. they haven't ended homelessness. the numbers aren't decreasing....they're increasing. there are new faces coming into the homeless community every day.
there are some success stories no doubt. there are some people who receive housing and transition and move on. i think that's great. but overall i'm not sure we're on the right path to ending homelessness. not because of the programs and not because of concerns that the programs won't work. i'm concerned about the american people. i'm concerned about the government. i'm concerned about the homeless people. if any of these three aren't willing to completely commit to making these programs work....they're going to fail. i'm also concerned about the economy. if it doesn't improve and the number of jobs doesn't at least maintain or increase, homelessness isn't going to decrease. for every one you put into a home, you're going to have one or maybe even two become homeless due to unemployment or low employment.
i'm not a pessimist. i'm not trying to find reasons why these programs can't work. i know they can. i'm being very realisitic. the american people can be fickle. they can have a very short memory. they can also be very unemotional and unforgiving when they see what they perceive as someone getting something for nothing. when they see something draining money from the tax system, especially during hard economic times, they can be very judgemental and they can begin to question the validity of the programs and efforts. the government is even worse. politicians act on whatever is good for their own political agenda at that given moment in time. very rarely do they act with the good of the people in mind. look at what's happening in washington today. there is talk of cutting welfare. there is talk of cutting snap. there is an effort to end long term unemployment. they're fighting a minimum wage increase. social programs are taking a battering at every turn in the budget talks and agreements. all this while we are still under heavy unemployment. no real new job creation. and one of, if not the worst recessions since the great depression of the thirties.
here's my point i think. all these programs are good. all are workable. one of these programs or a combination of these programs could very well contain homelessness. it might even end homelessness or reduce it to a point where it's a manageable issue. but you can't do it without everyone having the same common agenda. they have to have the same end result in mind. they have to all be aware of the costs vs. benefits. they all have to be aware of the prolonged expense with no sustainable return of their investment...not on a monetary scale anyway. the homeless also have to realize that in receiving a home there is some responsibility that comes with it. you can't have a roof over your head and still be "homeless". you have to make progress and become a better person...socially, economically and personally. i think most of all you have to have the american people aware of and be willing to participate and buy into these programs. you have to be brutally honest with the american people and not try to paint a shiney picture on the programs and the expected results. they need to know, understand, and accept that it is a program to end homelessness and give people a home. it's not going to necessarily make them a productive member of society...at least not in the expectation range that they might have. you have to make them understand the chances of failure as they perceive it are high. i know that sounds unrealistic, how can you make people accept and support something you know has a high failure probability and there are no real monetary gains to come from it. i don't know. but i do know if you can find a way to do that...i think it will work. if not...it might work on a short term basis...but eventually the funding will be stopped. the homes will disappear. the homeless will be homeless again....in greater numbers. many programs have been implemented only to have to funds be cut or outright cancelled and the problem was just exasperated even further. it was cut because the expectations and presentations of the programs were unrealistic to begin with. they were presented with overly optimistic end results and when that didn't happen they were deemed a failure. ending homelessness can't be one of those.
i hope someone can find a way to combine concrete efforts with the abstract effort it's going to take to end this problem. it's overdue..
see you around town