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Old 11-18-2014, 01:49 PM
 
4,367 posts, read 3,548,061 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texdav View Post
Many have more problems than just not having a job such as drugs; alcohol and mental problems. We at one time had mental hospitals but they were shutdown by courts. They thought it better to release them into freedom on the streets. Last I knew there were places to stay but also many of those people on drugs; alcohol or mental causes problem meaning they are not allowed to benefit those that are just homeless. But then perhaps the question arises as to why governments are expected to do it and fund it also. Once government gets involved it complicates things by regulations and those who do it add cost not spent on homeless.
A pretty significant portion of the homeless population are not on drugs or mentally ill. I think it makes sense to at least try to help those people instead of lumping them all into one big category. How would you like it if your job cut your hours and you lost your apartment and someone put you into the same category with the mentally ill and drug addicts just because you needed help?

Homeless shelters should not be impromptu mental institutions or makeshift drug houses. They should fulfill their intended role of providing shelter to sound individuals who do not have access to clean safe shelter. By allowing homeless people who are mentally ill or addicted to drugs, the modern shelters create a potentially unsafe and inhospitable environment for the people who are able to transition out of homelessness and encourage people to avoid and have a negative opinion of the shelters. The mentally ill and drug addicted should have a place to go, but it should not be the homeless shelters. The shelters and systems for the homeless should be reserved for mentally and physically healthy individuals who are able to work or otherwise support themselves without turning to illegal activity. That's what I would like to propose.

I think local government could handle this task. There's no need to get Washington involved, unless we're talking about better care for those addicted to drugs and the mentally ill. Then, perhaps the federal government should get involved and allocate funds for more mental institutions, rehabilitation centers, and group homes.

Last edited by krmb; 11-18-2014 at 01:58 PM..
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,414 posts, read 11,913,851 times
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For the able-bodied, non-insane, clean and sober poor, it's almost certainly much cheaper to provide money to individuals to then purchase housing, rather than spend money building shelters (or even re-purposing existing buildings into shelters).

There are of course exceptions - homeless street kids, like I mentioned, or women running away from abusive spouses. But we already have systems set up for these people.
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:25 PM
 
9,701 posts, read 7,244,373 times
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Homelessness has nothing to do with lack of housing. The terms is actually an unfortunate one, because it describes the resulting condition, not really the diagnosis.

If you built a bajillion units of housing in, say, SF, you would still have the same homeless on Market Street. The reason they're there is complex, but not really related to lack of housing.
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Old 11-18-2014, 03:05 PM
 
Location: St. George, Utah
756 posts, read 883,053 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOLA101 View Post
Homelessness has nothing to do with lack of housing. The terms is actually an unfortunate one, because it describes the resulting condition, not really the diagnosis.

If you built a bajillion units of housing in, say, SF, you would still have the same homeless on Market Street. The reason they're there is complex, but not really related to lack of housing.
This. For the VAST majority of chronically/long-term homeless, the homelessness is a symptom of whatever the main problem is (most often mental illness and/or substance abuse, but not only those two), it is NOT the main problem.

I agree with the concept of providing the housing before trying to address the other problems in theory, but in practice it becomes impossible to maintain the housing in a safe comfortable manner for all residents if a significant portion of the residents are creating problems related to their illness/addiction. I am very interested in seeing how it works out. How do keep the meth addict from smoking in the little house, thus requiring its destruction? How do you keep an addict from prostituting him/herself for drugs or money? The amount of oversight and security involved would be the greatest expense and a losing battle as the projects indeed illustrate.

But my main concern about the "solutions" proposed in this thread is this: We tend so easily to turn to government to solve these problems, to say, "Hey, it would be easy for local/state/federal governments to do this, this, and this." And if I vote for the right people, that makes me a generous and empathetic person. (I read a study on this phenomenon, of people feeling they have "done" an act of charity by believing certain things or voting a certain way, and it's very concerning to me.) If I want to do something for the homeless, I really need to do it. I need to present my ideas, or write a check, or get my hands dirty.

Most of the boots on the ground helping what we're calling here the "sound" homeless to get into housing quickly; most of the boots on the ground dealing with the addicts and crazies day-in and day-out are private, non profit programs that rely on volunteers to get dirty and gritty and deal with those people face to face. These are people who work their butts off to make sure a homeless family has a place to sleep tonight, and is able to access the available private or government programs for longer term housing.

There are MANY programs available to help the "sound" homeless find their way out. It isn't easy by any means, but anyone who finds themselves homeless who doesn't want to be and is willing to do what it takes to get back on track can find programs that will help them do so. These people actively seek solutions to the problem of finding themselves homeless. The fact is that in most communities, these "sound", temporarily homeless are in the minority. That doesn't make them less important, and we do need ways to creatively help these people find shelter, both temporary and permanent. I'd agree with other posters here who say that the "permanent" shelter is most likely to stick when a person has worked to achieve it.

That's how we know that not having a physical home isn't the problem, but rather just a symptom--if you really want to find shelter, you can--but you have to follow certain rules and do certain things that simply aren't as important as the addiction, or the reason can't get through the fog of the illness.

Heck, even for the "sound" homeless it's often the result of a rather long series of poor choices at the least (I'm not judging--we all screw up!), and the underlying decision making needs to be addressed in company with finding shelter. That can be hard work. Some are willing to do it, and some aren't. For the second group, I reiterate that homelessness per se is not the primary problem.

So, tent cities, tiny houses, Housing First, urban projects....all are rooted in the idea that getting a "home" will solve the other problems. The facts just don't bear that out.

I do think that deinstitutionalizing the mentally ill has been very problematic. (But institutionalizing them is too!) People running shelters are often not equipped to deal with these issues on top of the basic mechanics of providing people food and shelter.

I do not believe that homelessness is a problem with a permanent solution. The people I know personally who slog away day after day in shelters and other non-profits don't see it as a search for a solution, just hoping to do what they can to ease the ongoing troubles of some of our community members. A few success stories a year are enough to hearten them and keep them at it. Their batting average is awful, and they know it going in. It's just the nature of it.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:13 PM
 
4,367 posts, read 3,548,061 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montanama View Post
This. For the VAST majority of chronically/long-term homeless, the homelessness is a symptom of whatever the main problem is (most often mental illness and/or substance abuse, but not only those two), it is NOT the main problem.

I agree with the concept of providing the housing before trying to address the other problems in theory, but in practice it becomes impossible to maintain the housing in a safe comfortable manner for all residents if a significant portion of the residents are creating problems related to their illness/addiction. I am very interested in seeing how it works out. How do keep the meth addict from smoking in the little house, thus requiring its destruction? How do you keep an addict from prostituting him/herself for drugs or money? The amount of oversight and security involved would be the greatest expense and a losing battle as the projects indeed illustrate.

But my main concern about the "solutions" proposed in this thread is this: We tend so easily to turn to government to solve these problems, to say, "Hey, it would be easy for local/state/federal governments to do this, this, and this." And if I vote for the right people, that makes me a generous and empathetic person. (I read a study on this phenomenon, of people feeling they have "done" an act of charity by believing certain things or voting a certain way, and it's very concerning to me.) If I want to do something for the homeless, I really need to do it. I need to present my ideas, or write a check, or get my hands dirty.

Most of the boots on the ground helping what we're calling here the "sound" homeless to get into housing quickly; most of the boots on the ground dealing with the addicts and crazies day-in and day-out are private, non profit programs that rely on volunteers to get dirty and gritty and deal with those people face to face. These are people who work their butts off to make sure a homeless family has a place to sleep tonight, and is able to access the available private or government programs for longer term housing.

There are MANY programs available to help the "sound" homeless find their way out. It isn't easy by any means, but anyone who finds themselves homeless who doesn't want to be and is willing to do what it takes to get back on track can find programs that will help them do so. These people actively seek solutions to the problem of finding themselves homeless. The fact is that in most communities, these "sound", temporarily homeless are in the minority. That doesn't make them less important, and we do need ways to creatively help these people find shelter, both temporary and permanent. I'd agree with other posters here who say that the "permanent" shelter is most likely to stick when a person has worked to achieve it.

That's how we know that not having a physical home isn't the problem, but rather just a symptom--if you really want to find shelter, you can--but you have to follow certain rules and do certain things that simply aren't as important as the addiction, or the reason can't get through the fog of the illness.

Heck, even for the "sound" homeless it's often the result of a rather long series of poor choices at the least (I'm not judging--we all screw up!), and the underlying decision making needs to be addressed in company with finding shelter. That can be hard work. Some are willing to do it, and some aren't. For the second group, I reiterate that homelessness per se is not the primary problem.

So, tent cities, tiny houses, Housing First, urban projects....all are rooted in the idea that getting a "home" will solve the other problems. The facts just don't bear that out.

I do think that deinstitutionalizing the mentally ill has been very problematic. (But institutionalizing them is too!) People running shelters are often not equipped to deal with these issues on top of the basic mechanics of providing people food and shelter.

I do not believe that homelessness is a problem with a permanent solution. The people I know personally who slog away day after day in shelters and other non-profits don't see it as a search for a solution, just hoping to do what they can to ease the ongoing troubles of some of our community members. A few success stories a year are enough to hearten them and keep them at it. Their batting average is awful, and they know it going in. It's just the nature of it.
I'm only interested in finding solutions for the sound homeless, because a house fire put me among those ranks for a very short time. I never stayed in the shelter, but I was reduced to couch surfing, and it was not at all fun. I jumped at the chance to move into anything else, even a bad neighborhood, because I could not stand the stigma of being "homeless" and the shame it brought upon its sufferers. I didn't want to go to the soup kitchens or anywhere that would identify me as homeless for fear of continued discrimination. People at my job noticed my dirty clothes and probably smelled that I hadn't had a bath in a little while. It was a wonder the diner where I was working didn't fire me, but they didn't right away. I was able to continue my charade of working night shift and then coming to a friend's house to "visit" until I got into a cheap little apartment. I decided that I didn't know how to make it in life, though, so I enrolled in one of the local universities to get a better shot at working once I got a good education. I made other mistakes once I got there, like borrowing way too much money (partially because I eventually lost my job at the diner but still had to support myself), but it was a lot better than being considered vagrant trash. People hated me before I started going to college, cleaning up, and working at a better job.
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
4,761 posts, read 6,433,910 times
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OP, if you sit down and crunch the numbers, you'll realize there are not many municipalities that could afford to do such a thing.

For starters, you must acquire the land (unless you approve of them taking it via eminent domain), then you have to build the place. Next comes staffing the place. Then comes screening, leasing, maintenance (daily upkeep and regular repairs), and so on and so forth.

10-20 occupants at $100/month won't keep anything going. If you cheap out on labor, you'll have a terrible looking building. You can't even hire a good manager for $2,000/month. And you still haven't even addressed maintenance staff, repairs, power bills and other utilities. As an example, I manage a 24-unit apartment building where we take care of the water bill. Last month, our water bill was over $700. With $2,000 income each month, you have $1300 left. You have to have power to maintain hallway and staircase lighting. Even using LEDs, your power bill will eat into that substnatially. We haven't even got to climate control in common areas, assuming we are talking about an enclosed complex.

$100/month won't do anything other than get the building so far into the red that it isn't even feasible to go past this being an idea.

If you want it to work, it needs to be privately run, with a great incentive for the owners. But, if you do that, the government is still paying for it. Short of buying older motels and converting them into a halfway house, so to speak, there aren't too many financially sound ways to make something like this work.

After all of that, you run into the real problem when it comes to homelessness. NIMBY. Not In My Back Yard. Whether you'll admit it here or not, you know 99% of us don't want a homeless shelter in their neighborhood. I know I don't. Is it mean? Probably. But, I have an investment in my home and a facility like the OP wants would destroy property values. A perfect example is an old raggedy motel that was widely known for drugs and prostitution here in town. No one would build anything near it until it was torn down. It's not the same thing, but I think it kind of helps make the point.

Cliff's Notes: Too expensive, too unattractive in just about any area of most towns, a political hand grenade with the pin pulled.
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:59 PM
 
770 posts, read 731,998 times
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most homeless people are drug/alcohol dependant and or mentally ill.

many don't have the common sense or will power to maintain a homestead.

you could end up with fires, vermin, decay, more drug use, and starvation inside of said low rent structures.

just look at how many of the NYCHA section 8 teneants behave inside of their buildings.

most refuse to work and look at their housng situation as prison.

China's approach to housing the poor is much more conservative, make them work for it.

they simply allow the poor to squat on certain parcels of land, and eventually they get their act together and contruct shelters and farm their own food or they die.

no sucking off the liberal government's *******.

work or starve to death..
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmb501 View Post
I was thinking more in terms of those hopelessly addicted to dangerous drugs like crack cocaine and meth amphetamine. The image I have of the drunk is the chronic drunk who would sell his day labor for an alcohol binge. When I was thinking about the mentally ill, I was envisioning schizophrenics, who have no business living on their own anyway. If I still have the wrong impression, enlighten me. I think those with problems and those without should be separated.To me, it makes no sense to put the sound homeless with the deranged. There should at least be a separate shelter for the sick, and the government should see to that.
"Housing first" isn't generally an institutional setting with other people, it is based on apartments or at least something like an SRO hotel, where the individual has a room and maybe shared kitchen/bath facilities. Institutional settings have their uses, such as temporary shelters for short-term occupancy, but the chronic homeless--those on the streets for a long time, with issues like addiction etc., are the ones who can benefit most from the "housing first" approach. And it separates them from the temporarily homeless, since they aren't clogging up the shelters and using up the lion's share of services.

Alcohol is a drug as dangerous as crack or meth, it kills more people per year than all illegal drugs combined (but not as many as prescription drugs.) So I'd consider the drunk and the addict in the same boat--and in either case, addressing addiction is a whole lot easier if you have a place to rest your head, escape from the drug-infested environment of the street, and a living situation that doesn't make you want to have as little awareness of how screwed up your situation is as possible. People use drugs to pretend they're escaping intolerable situations--such as living on the street and digging through trash cans for food! "Hopelessly addicted" also applies just as much to alcohol as it does to illegal drugs--it's the same mechanism, just a different substance.

Not sure how much you know about schizophrenia or mental illness in general, but many forms of mental illness can be managed in many people with medication and counseling, and they can live on their own. But on the street, med management is much more difficult, and the dramatically higher degree of stress is much more likely to trigger symptoms that can turn someone with manageable symptoms into one of those folks you see screaming at trees.

Also, to respond to another poster who gave an example of a homeless person just given a house and left to his own devices, "housing first" really does mean more than just housing--you just do the housing first, THEN the case management and treatment for other issues. They're just easier, less expensive and more likely to succeed for a housed person than a homeless person. The counseling is intended to address the other issues--and one of the skills that people often lose after a long time on the street is general life skills, like maintaining a house or apartment, a household budget, etcetera.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:29 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,556,250 times
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Originally Posted by ughhnyc View Post
China's approach to housing the poor is much more conservative, make them work for it.
If we're going to follow other countries' examples, I'm not sure if a Communist country with notoriously poor human rights record is going to provide the best model.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:48 PM
 
Location: I am right here.
4,914 posts, read 4,061,135 times
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Cabrini Green

Huge disaster.

Many people are homeless by choice.

Quote:
I'm only interested in finding solutions for the sound homeless, because a house fire put me among those ranks for a very short time. I never stayed in the shelter, but I was reduced to couch surfing, and it was not at all fun.
You did not have insurance? Because insurance would have covered some of your costs...all of them, if you had a quality policy.
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