Thirty years ago, PATH was created because a group of local people noticed an increase in homelessness on the Westside of Los Angeles. They founded an agency that would temporarily provide food and shelter, believing that homelessness would be resolved within five years.
That didn’t happen.
Thirty years later, instead of homelessness-free streets, the opposite has occurred. Streets, parks, hills, beaches, sidewalks, alleys, and rivers are inundated with people who are homeless.
In recent years, experts have blamed traditional homeless service providers for only offering temporary solutions instead of permanent housing. Much of the criticism is warranted. Blaming these compassionate agencies for the rise in homelessness over the last few decades, however, is not.
Approaches to ending homelessness in this country have changed dramatically since the early days of setting up shelters. Strategies like Housing First, rapid re-housing, and homelessness prevention are the new solutions to this long-standing problem.
For homeless agencies that have traditionally centered their services around rehabilitation, transitional housing, shelters, and food, these newfangled solutions run contrary to the belief that people need to be rehabilitated before moving into permanent housing. Read More »