The Most Brilliant Solution to Eradicate Homelessness [It’s Really Quite Simple]

eradicate-homelessness-housing-first

You know it’s a crazy world we live in when more and more states are basically making it illegal to be homeless. And to make matters even worse, many states are also making it illegal to give food to the homeless. This is totally whacked and somewhat infuriating and it’s time we change that, don’t you think?

The simple concept?

GIVE THE HOMELESS HOMES!!! HOUSING FIRST!

You may be thinking, ‘That is a ridiculous plan! We could never afford to do that!’ Well, consider this: Have you heard about what Utah has been doing to eradicate homelessness? It’s a simple, brilliant, common sense plan that has proven to be effective AND it saves the state money! Seriously! Watch this short video:

Utah realized it was costing them more to provide services for the homeless than it would cost to give them homes. Brilliant! They figured they were spending around $20,000 per year per chronic homeless person to provide them with services and care. They also determined it would only cost them around $7,800 per year to give them a home and a social worker.

Utah started their ‘Housing First’ program back in 2005. Since then they have seen a 74% drop in homelessness in their state, simply by giving the homeless homes with no strings attached. This is simply awesome and everyone should know about and advocate for this program.

From wikipedia: “Housing First, which is distinct and separate from ‘rapid re-housing’, is a relatively recent innovation in human service programs and social policy regarding treatment of the homeless and is an alternative to a system of emergency shelter/transitional housing progressions. Rather than moving homeless individuals through different “levels” of housing, known as the Continuum of Care, whereby each level moves them closer to “independent housing” (for example: from the streets to a public shelter, and from a public shelter to a transitional housing program, and from there to their own apartment in the community) Housing First moves the homeless individual or household immediately from the streets or homeless shelters into their own apartments.”

The concept first began as a test by psychologist Sam Tsemberis of New York University in 1992. Tsemberis says: “I thought, they’re schizophrenic, alcoholic, traumatized, brain damaged. Why not just give them a place to live and offer them free counseling and therapy, healthcare, and let them decide if they want to participate?”

And that is what he did. Tsemberis gave homes to 242 chronically homeless people in New York City. Fast forward 5 years and 88% were still living in their homes, and at a lower cost to taxpayers than if they were still homeless. The idea caught on and other cities like Seattle, Denver, and Massachusetts have been testing this concept. The experiment in Utah is likely the most successful Housing First program and I feel it should be emulated everywhere!

Here is a TedTalks video of Sam Tsemberis about homelessness:

So how about this… Let’s stop treating the homeless like criminals and treat them like decent human beings who just need a hand up and a little love and support to help them flourish back into being productive members of the community? Ok?? Please???

Seems simple enough to me. To you too? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, then like and share this page. This simple, proven concept to eradicate homelessness is effective & brilliant! Share the love.

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