Get off the grid

Solving Homelessness in America

Denver recently passed an “outdoor camping ban” which, in practice, is simply a law making it illegal to be homeless. This is far from a solution to the homelessness problem, it will just move the homeless to surrounding cities and states. It made me think about actual solutions to homelessness in America.

Education

The key to success in the United States is education. Given, education has to be coupled with hard work for long term success; education is the foundation for future success.

The homeless must be given a free, well-rounded education that puts them on a path for self-reliance in the future. This education should include personal finance, health, nutrition, interviewing skills, and anything needed to hold down a basic, entry level job.

Job Placement

After completing the necessary classes, the next step to getting off the street is having a job. There are plenty of jobs that a homeless individual could take on, even with minimal education, as long as they are willing to work at it.

Grocery stores need cart attendants and baggers, restaurants need dishwashers, lawn services need staff, buildings need janitors and maids, and so on. There is a long list of jobs that a homeless person is qualified for.

Success Focused Housing

To complete the class and hold down a job, the homeless will need a home. They need clothing, showers, food, and shelter. Low cost, temporary housing is another key to long term success.

To qualify for free housing, education, and job placement, the participant must follow a series of rules. The participant would be required to be both drug and alcohol free and participate in community activities to further their career and lifestyle potential.

Give Tools to Fix the Situation

At the end of the day, all of this, and anything else built into a homelessness program, should be preparing the homeless person for a self-reliant life. Medical assistance, mental health evaluations and treatment, alcohol and drug programs, housing, classes, and community involvement should be designed to help the homeless help themselves.

As the saying goes, give a man a fish and he is hungry in a day. Teach him to fish and he is set for life. If we teach the homeless to be responsible for their own life, and give them the tools and assistance to get started, they will be successful.

Don’t Give Welfare Forever

The program is not a lifetime safety net. If it is, it will fail. People need motivation to take care of themselves. The program needs a set schedule and an end date.

Society should be in the business of helping those in need, it should not be in the business of paying for people’s lives when they are fully capable of supporting themselves.

Your Thoughts

How would you work to solve the homelessness problem in America? What strategies do you think would actually solve the problem? Please share your constructive thoughts in the comments.

Photo: Rob!/flickr

4 thoughts on “Solving Homelessness in America”

  1. I think you have some great ideas (especially housing, as that is one of the biggest needs), but you fail to take in some of the causes of homelessness. Many people are homeless not just because they lack motivation or skills to keep a job, but because of severe mental illness. There needs to be some preventative work done against mental illness (in addition to just prescribing drugs to treat symptoms). If it were only as easy as solving homelessness, it would be fixed now. Unfortunately, one thing leads to another and before we know it, it’s probably linked to environmental hazards – therefore questions of green technology are also important to ask in relation to homelessness. (IMHO)

    1. Mental health issues are a tough one to cover. Providing long term, quality mental health treatment is very difficult and expensive. Coupling it with the above steps is a great start, but making it work in the long run is harder. Some of these people may not be able to work or live alone without the right support system behind them.

  2. Jenna from Adaptu

    Homelessness has multiple factors: mental health/addictions/abuse.  To solve those issues, before tackling the actual homeless issue, you need to meet the person where they are at, offer them solutions and encouragement.  Other than that you can’t force people to make them change, they need to want to do it on their own.  Providing free solutions won’t last in the long run.

  3. charles d. wilson

    iam trying to find out about how to and set up for homless people i have a small buisness in erie kansas and me and the wife have feed homeless people that come thur here and were a small town and alote dont do anything. ispent 22 yrs in service and been to alot of countrys and seen it all and just cant help some one in need,alot people around here say its thier fault but its not. i struggle alot with my buisness and work at another job and still dont ahve enough sometimes but that dont stop me from helping others. even at thanksgiving we come here to our buisness and cook alot of food and give out to people and deliver it and ask nothing in return and makes me feel so good to be able to do that and would like to do more.but dont know were to look or turn to. trying to find better ways to help people but doing on little or no help but no matter what will find way to help even if its last penny were just like that. usa for life

Comments are closed.