Friday, December 27, 2013

Two Approaches to Shelter for the Homeless

One approach I just learned about from DailyKos, which linked to the original story in a Madison, Wisconsin TV report. It's about tiny homes for the homeless. I've been fascinated by tiny homes for years, wondering if I could ever shrink my footprint so small.

 You can view the report here. This approach makes sense to me because of the safety and dignity of it. Cramming the homeless into gym-like settings with no privacy and mats on the floor won't attract or keep the homeless for long. This solution might work, though I can see problems ahead, such as where do you find the land, what if they're abandoned, etc. I'd like to see more and follow the progress of this venture.

Then there's the progress they're making in Phoenix, Arizona, with homeless veterans. They've housed them all. Read this report on it.

Two points stick out. One, I didn't know that Barack Obama and VA head Eric Shinseki had set a goal of eliminating homeless veterans by 2015 or that they're 24% of the way there. And, two, Phoenix is eliminating the requirement that one be clean and sober to get housing. Studies have proven that giving the homeless the stability of a home -- when coupled with counseling -- makes it easier to win the battle against alcoholism and drug abuse and also lowers the taxpayer burden of paying for trips by the homeless to the ER and rehab facilities.

Kudos to these efforts. I might point out, too, that federal funds are critical in paying for these efforts. Government help is often essential for reaching societal goals.

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