Push Congress to cut military spending and invest it in addressing the homeless crisis.
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“No one deserves to be homeless, it is detrimental to society and the person him or herself.”
There is an area in Los Angeles, California known as Skid Row where street artists have graffitied walls raising awareness of the population in Skid Row as “Too Many”. . Skid Row is where many homeless people end up because they either don’t have a place to stay or are removed from where they are staying for the night. This leads to an environment with a huge increase in crime, drug abuse, mental illness, and prostitution. Skid Row is a massively populated area in which the majority of inhabitants are homeless, it is a city within the city of Los Angeles, a city away from society. This is not just a problem in LA... “As many as 3.5 million Americans are homeless each year. Of these, more than 1 million are children and on any given night, more than 300,000 children are homeless (LATIMES, 2015).” In order to address this problem, the federal government should divert funds from the military budget (specifically from the army) to provide financial assistance to the states to fix their homeless problems. Currently, Congress is spending $639 billion tax dollars on the Department of Defense, where only $4.5 billion is spent on Homeless assistance programs. If we were to take the %5 of the spending on the military which is about $31,950,000,000 it can benefit our economy, environment, and overall human health.
-Homeless people don’t have medical insurance and often go to hospital emergency rooms when sick, the bill is put on taxpayers “People struggling with homelessness are often frequent users of emergency departments. On average, they visit the emergency room five times per year. The highest users of emergency departments visit weekly. Each visit costs $3,700; that's $18,500 spent per year for the average person and $44,400 spent per year for the highest users of emergency departments”. Less homeless people doing this means we as a country save money.
-Homeless people are more likely to leave waste and trash in public places “In 2014, the Santa Clara Water District released a report showing that it, with the City of San Jose, spent $275,542 last year and removed 2,011 cubic yards of debris from homeless encampments along creeks and rivers in Santa Clara County. When the Story Road Encampment in San Jose, colloquially known as the “Jungle Encampment,” closed on December 4, 2014, city officials removed 600 tons of trash and over 1,500 pounds of human waste. While the Jungle is an extreme example, it speaks to the severe impact trash and human waste have on our environment". Less homeless people doing this means we have a cleaner country & environment.
-Homeless people are more likely to spread diseases due to being in close proximity to one another. “Homelessness, long recognized as a risk factor for tuberculosis, can also complicate treatment, as this case report demonstrates. HIV coinfection increases the risk of progression from latent TB infection to active tuberculosis. Clinicians experienced in the care of homeless persons stress the importance of maintaining communication with these patients, even during medical confinement, and recommend close collaboration among public health, hospital, and primary care providers during treatment”. Less homeless people living on the streets means a healthier population.
Housing is a great start but mental health care is crucial to helping decrease and also prevent homelessness. However it seems like the Federal government today is not paying much attention to this issue let alone the states themselves. Facts:
According to US News, “...Congress did not pass mental health care reforms and states slowed in their response to the issue, shows a study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness” (US NEWS, 2014).
“From 2009 to 2012, states had cut mental health budgets by a collective $4.35 billion and cut more than 3,222 psychiatric beds” (US NEWS, 2014).
The federal government can meet the health care AND housing needs of the homeless population in America by redirecting of 5% of military funding into social programs like The Prevention Program, has three prevention systems for the homeless, people could avoid being homeless or reduce the amount of time they spent in the streets. The first factor is that the program keeps a close eye on groups who are likely to become homeless. The second factor is detection the early stages of people that are about to become homeless, and lastly, in the event where they do become homeless and later on get a house, they will get ongoing support until they can get their footing back into life. Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Prevention. Primary Prevention is an “upstream” approach that targets groups who are at risk of becoming homeless due to factors such as abuse, addiction, and unemployment. This model minimizes entry into homelessness by offering targeted awareness campaigns and support. Secondary Prevention addresses the early stages of homelessness by helping people retain their housing or find new accommodations. This is generally done through mediation with landlords and families. Tertiary Prevention prevents recurring homelessness by offering ongoing support once housing has been established.
These programs should:
Housing with access to the the following:
Rehabilitation services for those with drug abuse
Mental health services & prevention programs
Mentors and social workers
All we ask if for you to sign this petition and share it to 5-10 other people and have them sign it. It is time congress steps it up and helps the homeless.
Thank you for you time and consideration.
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