It seems counterintuitive, but providing homes for the homeless actually saves taxpayers money all while showing kindness and returning dignity to those who are most in need. One Canadian city has already pretty much ended homelessness...
Mayor Ted Clugson of Medicine Hat, Alberta has seen homelessness nearly vanish completely in his city thanks to the Housing First initiative. At first, Clugson wasn't a supporter of the policy, which provides independent, permanent homes to those without them. But now, after six years in operation he has seen both the financial and social benefits of such a program.
The program has moved homeless persons off of the street under the philosophy of providing 'housing first' and other services like counseling, health, and employment later. The goal is to get persons off the streets or out of shelters within ten days of discovering that they have no home.
According to Mic.Com,
"Providing a homeless person with housing and then services to help them get back on their feet costs money, but keeping them alive while they scrape by on the streets often costs more.
People who are chronically homeless are often afflicted by some kind of mental or physical health issue, which likely gave rise to their homelessness in the first place. People debilitated by these kinds of issues aren't only going to have trouble scraping together the money needed to live in a home, they're also going to be a constant drain on the funds for the emergency services they rely on as they weather the vulnerability of life on the streets. If someone is sick and doesn't have the money for an apartment or a car or a doctor, they rely on shelters, ambulances and emergency rooms — all of which drain city coffers."
By year's end, the city of Medicine Hat is expected to have housed all of its homeless people, making it the first city in Canada to end chronic homelessness. Clugson says the next step will be to end food insecurity.
I would love to see a service like this implemented in Los Angeles where homelessness is a huge problem. Wouldn't you? For a guide on how you can get your city moving on the right path, click here. And as always, #StayVigilant.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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