After 20 years, the work of ending homelessness is much more difficult. The people we help are much more chronically homeless than before. Our supporters are more jaded. Our community is less compassionate for people who have been on their streets for decades.
Tag Archives: affordable housing
Back home in Los Angeles, where homelessness has increased by 12 percent, the sprawling tent cities of America’s homeless remind me of the desperate refugees half a world away. Exhausted, sick, and somber people residing in tents on sidewalks, many of whom have given up hoping to escape the streets.
In Los Angeles today, those 1970s families would need to earn almost $70,000 per year just to rent an apartment. I can’t picture the Brady household – two parents, six kids, a housekeeper and dog – all living in an apartment in San Fernando Valley.
It is truly wonderful that several cities have ended veteran homelessness. However, homelessness has increased in many major jurisdictions – and homelessness encampments continue to appear across our landscape.
An empty apartment is not a home. When students go to college, their parents usually buy them bedding, cooking utensils, clothes, and food—so they can focus on their studies. When formerly homeless persons move into an apartment, just like those students starting on a new path, their home needs to be fully furnished; in turn, they can focus on looking for work and rebuilding their lives.
Four years after my homeless count blog post, sadly, we are still counting individuals and families living out on the streets that have fallen through the cracks of society.
What if each of these super-rich families tithe 10% of their wealth for one year to build homes for people who are homeless? That amount would be $900 billion, far more than what the federal government invests. If one affordable housing unit costs $300,000, this dollar amount would be able to build 3 million homes.
In America, our homeless population is found on the dirty streets of our city. In Asia, homelessness is perched near the sky.
For those of us fighting to end homelessness in America, the year 2014 actually gives us hope that strategic ideas and initiatives are working, albeit slowly. Here are our top highlights of 2014:
If that homeless agency partners with housing developers—or becomes a housing developer—in order to promote a true “Housing First” approach, then perhaps communities will embrace the idea that permanent supportive housing is good for their neighborhood.