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Ending Homelessness and the Value For Initiating Change

EndingHomelessness and the Value For Initiating Change


EndingHomelessness and the Value for Initiating Change

Thereare roughly a half million homeless people in the United States whosleep either in shelters or on the streets each night. Children makea quarter of this population while the chronic homeless people.Similarly, those who have not had a home for many years but rotatebetween jails, temporary shelters, and hospitals comprise of fifteenpercent of the population. The government has used various strategiesto solve the problem in the past. However, it has been difficult toarrive at a comprehensive solution in spite of the massive monetaryinput made. Several organizations have also come up with policies forsolving the issue (Austen &amp Pauly, 2012). Theintroduction of affordable houses, provision of temporary shelters,job opportunities and drug rehabilitation centers would help inending the menace of homelessness in the U.S.

Unavailabilityof Houses

Homelessnessis attributed to lack of shelter. According to Milaney (2011), theproblem can be solved through numerous approaches. One of theeffective methods includes the provision of temporary housing,especially during the cold and rainy seasons. It can be fatal tosleep with no roof over one’s head during winter. The shelters are,however, very expensive. On average, they cost $4,819 per month forone family compared to $1,162 needed for housing. Second, quality hasalso been compromised under the shelters, as several people complainof bad experiences such as theft, or other traumas in the supposedlysafe places. According to Burnes and DiLeo (2016), in New York City,826 cases of violence such as domestic conflicts and sexual assaultwere reported in the year 2015. Moreover, it is also difficult toaccumulate material things in the shelters, and the residents do nothave the feeling of permanency, which makes them sober to get jobs asit has been proven from a number of studies (Burnes &amp DiLeo,2016). The provision of affordable homes, and introducing housingpolicies requiring the destitute to receive shelter even if they donot have a job would help to reduce the number of families with noroofs over their heads.

Contributionof Ruth’s Place and Lifepath Christian Ministries in AlleviatingHomelessness

Ruth’sPlace is a faith-based organization that makes use of shelters. Itwas started in 2003 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. It and provideshousing to homelessness women. The services they provide range fromfinancial, spiritual, health to physical needs. Besides, they helptheir guests to acquire permanent shelter. Lifepath ChristianMinistries is another faith-based organization that is concerned withthe homeless. It was started in 1962, and it is based in York County,Pennsylvania. The services they provide include food, shelter,clothing, and guidance on spiritual matters, health care, training,and employment to the needy (Yeich, 2011). These institutions providecare to a part of the community that is neglected. Besides, theyoffer a solution to the victims of homelessness, which is comparableto the parable of the lost sheep. The fable presents a case whereby,the shepherd leaves ninety-nine sheep to retrieve one that hadstrayed. Similarly, the Ruth’s Place and Lifepath ChristianMinistries are good examples of organizations that are dedicated tooffering lasting solutions to the neglected people. The addicts, thementally unstable and the impoverished individuals are offered lifeskills to help them lead decent lifestyles, which, in other words,gives them fresh opportunities to establish new purposes in theirlives. Finally, I have personally resolved to volunteer in theshelter. This will give me a new meaning in life since I will have anopportunity to exercise compassion and mercy towards the people whoare uncared for in my surroundings.

ProposedApproaches to Reduce Homelessness


Milaney(2011) also proposes affordable housing as another lasting solutionto end homelessness. It is, however, difficult to access low-costresidences in the cities where the cost of purchasing land is veryhigh, and the developers aim to earn high returns from theirinvestments within the shortest time possible. Consequently, theycharge exorbitant rents to recover their capital quickly (Milaney,2011). Both the state and the federal governments have tried theaffordable housing strategy through offering tax credits in theconstruction of inexpensive houses. Second, zoning policies, whichstipulate that during the development of apartments, there should becertain units set aside for the affordable housing purposes. Theunits are charged a lower amount than the rest of the houses on themarket. Developers, nevertheless, recover the lost rent in theaffordable housing units by charging the other tenants higher amount.This leads to an increase of the rent in the market (Milaney, 2011).

Givingthe Homeless Shelter

Offeringthe homeless permanent housing, commonly known as the housing-firstapproach, has been used in some states such as Utah. It providesneedy people with housing without requiring them to be either soberor have jobs. In the homes, they are also provided with treatmentfor drug addiction and social workers are available to providedifferent services. Besides, the individuals are offered a range oftraining. The approach reduced the homeless by 72% from 2005 to 2014in the United States (Austen &amp Pauly, 2012). Opponents of thisapproach argue that the homeless should not be offered these housessince after all, many people would need housing, despite that theyare not homeless currently. Second, when the permanent housing isprovided, the impoverished people are also highly likely to beexploited in the similar way witnessed in the New York City, wherethere has been a growth of 75% of the homes, but the houses are oftencrammed with people. Subsequently, they offer poor service to thetenants. Nevertheless, the homeless should be offered shelter by allmeans. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus set an excellentexample of unconditional compassion. Personally, the allegoryencourages me to help the homeless people to secure shelter withoutexpecting anything in return. The Good Samaritan helped a person hedid not know because he felt obliged to do good even if he wasexpecting nothing in return. Similarly, some people accuse thehomeless of laziness and substance addiction. However, I remainindifferent regarding my passion and mercy to help the people with noroof over their heads, despite the allegations, since the Bible usedthe parable of the prodigal son to portray the virtue of totalforgiveness. In the same way, I pity the drug addicts and unemployedpeople living in the streets. I would do anything, including, buyingtents for them, just to ensure they have a place they can call home.

MajorFactors Causing Homelessness in the U.S

DrugAbuse, Physical and Mental Challenges

Thephysically and mentally challenged individuals, as well as those whoabuse drugs are other major groups of people who constitute thehomeless (Padgett, Henwood, &amp Tsemberis, 2015). Despite some ofthem having houses, they do not reside there because they relyheavily on the community for their upkeep. Presently, only a fewinstitutions exist where the physically challenged people can livecomfortably. In 1999, a ruling by the U.S Supreme Court prohibitedthe segregation of disabled people, citing the violation of theirrights. Housing, with both permanent and low-income residences, canhelp to create communities where people live together, as well ashelp the mentally challenged individuals (Padgett, Henwood, &ampTsemberis, 2015).


Thecost of rent has gone up over the years, and so has the expenditurefor construction. The funds that are provided by the federalgovernment for settling the homeless have however remained the sameover these years making the resources to be of help to only a fewpeople (Burnes &amp DiLeo, 2016). Experts in this area are lobbyingfor the government to increase its allocation for the homelessprograms, which would be substantial in covering a larger number ofpeople.

Lackof Reliable Means of Communicating With Potential Homeless People

Numerouschallenges are faced during the settlement. One of them includes thefollow-up of the clients. Some people do not have mobile phones orreliable means of contact. Similarly, others do not accept going intothe shelters, which necessitates arranging to meet them at specificlocations such as public parks at a particular time. It is noteworthythat others have disorders that require treatment, which needs to befollowed up. When they discontinue taking the drugs, specific stepshave to be taken to ensure the right approach is followed. Forexample, asking for assistance from the police to take them forassessment is necessary. Besides, some clients have a history ofviolence, which makes it unsafe to deal with them therefore,arrangements have to be made in the clinics in the presence of asecurity guard (Milaney, 2011).

Lackof Relevant Job Skills

Anothercommon challenge is that the staffs are also required to have wideskills to offer appropriate services. According to Burnes and DiLeo(2016), some clients come from poor backgrounds and have many issuesthat need to be addressed. This, sometimes, overwhelms the workerswhen they are supposed to do general work such as examination of themental state, monitoring of the mental states and assessment of therisks that leave them with minimal time to focus on their specificdisciplines. They are also required to be flexible and think outsidethe normal delivery of service, besides devoting a lot of time atwork, given that, they do not function at regular office hours insome cases. For the clients with related drugs and alcohol issues, itis hard to conduct appropriate assessment and subsequent referral tothe right agencies for the interventions to be made. Workerstherefore, need to have appropriate links with the essential agenciessuch as the GPs (Yeich, 2011).


Inconclusion, while the settling of the homeless might seem difficult,it can be helpful in fixing of other problems in the society such asunemployment, food insecurity and drug abuse. In the long run, theproject of offering shelters saves more money by solving these illsand enhancing the livelihoods of many people.


Austen,T., &amp Pauly, B. (2012). Homelessness outcome reporting normativeframework: Systems-level evaluation of progress in endinghomelessness. EvaluationReview,36 (1), 3-23. doi:10.1177/0193841×12439704

InBurnes, D. W., &amp In DiLeo, D. L. (2016).Endinghomelessness: Why we haven`t, how we can.

Milaney,K. (2011). The 6 dimensions of promising practice for case managedsupports to end homelessness, part 1.Professional Case Management,16 (6), 281-287. doi:10.1097/ncm.0b013e31821ee840

Padgett,D., Henwood, B. F., &amp Tsemberis, S. J.(2016). Housingfirst: Ending homelessness, transforming systems, and changing lives.Oxford New York : Oxford University Press.

Yeich,S. (2011). Thepolitics of ending homelessness.Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America.