Anti-Homelessness Funding Now
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Dear Congressman Swalwell:
We are students that attend The Athenian School in Danville California. For the past month, we have been learning about various social justice campaigns and we would like to share an opinion on how you should help eradicate the homeless epidemic. The homelessness epidemic has swept through the United States, causing crime rates to escalate in cities population by homeless. Through funding and strategic work, the government and charities can stop or significantly reduce the wave of homeless. According to the Coalition for Homeless, the homelessness that 564,708 people in the U.S. experience can be stopped by the usage of three methods: emergency facilities, long-term rehabilitation programs, and education of aid programs.
There is an assumption that the homelessness epidemic can simply be cured if the homeless people would simply work for money and employ their best effort to live a normal life. Simply, this not true, out of the half a million homeless the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states that more than 124,000 of the 610,000 homeless people across the USA suffer from severe mental illness. And according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, two-thirds of homeless have a primary substance disorder or other health condition. Additionally, sixteen percent of the homeless have been registered as “chronically homeless,” indicating that they are unable to support themselves whether due to drug addiction, crime, or severe mental illness. The homelessness epidemic must be stopped immediately.
Helping every homeless person with what they need is the most expensive, but best option. Homeless people should receive dental, mental, and physical counseling and help as well as adequate humane housing, away from the maliciousness of general homelessness such as drugs, prostitution, crime, etc. The homeless people should be given jobs but should be monitored closely, especially if a person is known to be a hardcore drug user, they should be on rehab and monitored closely to make sure nothing will happen. Union Rescue Mission says this is the most effective program, as 68% of their graduates from the one-year intensive long-term program enters back into normal life, which means owning a house, running a job, and socializing on a regular basis.
Furthermore, emergency aid facilities should be created and be readily available for the homeless to offer multiple services that homeless need. It is essential that it offer medical aid, provide shelter for newborn babies, pregnant woman, children or people that are incapable of taking care of themselves and deliver immediate rehabilitation for potential overdose victims. Emergency aid is required for homeless especially for those that have life threatening situations.
A key factor to the success of this program is the education of aid programs. For any aid from charities to be given to homeless, they must be notified and encouraged to receive the aid. Some homeless people do not desire to receive aid, as they believe it will put them in debt, or they will be criminalized for past actions such as prostitution or drug abuse. Connecting the government/charities with the homeless is crucial. For example, the URM hands out water bottles attached to flyers for their services every day. The flyers indicate that the programs are only there to help, not to criminalize or apprehend. Communication with the homeless community is crucial to understanding the situation fully.
The methods we hope you will enlist in your battle against homelessness have been proven by multiple studies and examples. In our local San Francisco, Kevin Fagan of the San Francisco Chronicle states that there have been numerous charity attempts to solve the homeless problem, mainly the Tipping Point Community charity which has contributed approximately $100 million to eradicate homelessness. Additionally, it is stated that chronically homeless people cost taxpayers about $80,000 a year for medical and hospital stays, and jail. This equates to approximately four times as much as purchasing affordable housing. Yet, the Coalition for the Homeless’ independent newspaper states that the $241 million annually spent by charities is simply inefficient. In order for the homelessness epidemic to end, the actions of a governmental entity are required.
Overall, the homelessness epidemic is a crucial problem that must be fixed to better everyone’s interests in the United States. By pushing for legislation of our system of three proposed programs, you are able to establish an effective method for saving lives, and improving everyday life conditions for everyone; for those without a home or not. Thank you for taking the time to read our letter and hope that you take our proposal into account as soon as possible.
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