In my tenure as the leader of a community based organization in Southern California, I have seen dozens of small agencies go out of business. Some of these charities performed amazing services for the most needy people in our society. They provided shelter for people living on the streets, counselling for women fleeing abuse, food […]
Tag Archives: economy
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.
I wonder how the 650,000 people in New York and New Jersey who lost their homes during Hurricane Sandy would have responded if government officials had told them to wait a half a year, while they figure out a plan to help them?
But here in Los Angeles, where 44,000 of our neighbors have lost homes and live on our streets, the political power of these people we call “homeless” is so weak that it is okay for our community to put on hold any idea of a “state of emergency.”
What does it say when the United States—which has enough funds to build a house for every single person in the country, never mind every person who is homeless in New York City and Los Angeles—allows its citizens to languish on the streets?
It seems to me that if average American wages are not high enough to pay for the average rent—in the long run, all of our efforts to house those who are currently homeless will not end homelessness. We will simply be treading water.
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.
“Anyone can be homeless. Homelessness is like a prison without the keys. Society needs to care enough to come up with those keys.”
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: