Helping the homeless

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otseng
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Helping the homeless

Post #1

Post by otseng »

Here in Atlanta, there is talk about having a law against panhandling in certain tourist areas. I don't want to debate about panhandling, but I would like to discuss the underlying problem, which is homelessness and poverty.

What can be done to address homelessness and poverty?
What should be the role of government, corporations, and individuals?
What are some of the underlying issues behind homelessness and poverty?

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Re: Helping the homeless

Post #2

Post by McCulloch »

otseng wrote:[...]I would like to discuss [...] homelessness and poverty.
What are some of the underlying issues behind homelessness and poverty?
This question must be addressed first. If it is not then well meaning but uninformed people will attempt to find solutions to the wrong problem.
  • First off, the problem is not welfare bums too lazy to work to make a living. No one chooses to live in homelessness and poverty.
  • It has been shown that a larger number of homeless have mental illnesses than the general population. Cause or effect?
  • Many of the services provided for the homeless are, in fact, dangerous to them. You are more likely to be raped or assaulted in a homeless shelter than sleeping under a bridge.
  • Homelessness presents a danger to the rest of us. There is a form of antibiotic resistant tuberculosis spreading among the homeless population in my city, Toronto.
  • Large affordable housing projects are not the answer to poverty any more than bigger jails are an answer to crime. The poor will not be helped by being shut into a corner, out of the way, where the rest of us can pretend that they don't exist. NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome has to be defeated if people in poverty can be brought back into society.

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Re: Helping the homeless

Post #3

Post by Illyricum »

McCulloch wrote:First off, the problem is not welfare bums too lazy to work to make a living. No one chooses to live in homelessness and poverty.
Sorry, but I have to disagree with you on that one. I don't want to get off the subject but I believe there is another factor that has be considered in solving this issue.

My parents used to work a lot with homeless people when we lived down town. A lot of the men had chosen to run away from home because they had (usually) started several families and they didn't want to have to pay the money for child support. So, they chose to live on the streets because they couldn't be tracked down because they didn't have an address, they didn't have to work, and they could make a living by pan handling.

So, we need to consider not only how to help those who need a job but what can be done to motivate those who don't want a job?
So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.

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Re: Helping the homeless

Post #4

Post by McCulloch »

McCulloch wrote:First off, the problem is not welfare bums too lazy to work to make a living. No one chooses to live in homelessness and poverty.
Illyricum wrote:Sorry, but I have to disagree with you on that one. I don't want to get off the subject but I believe there is another factor that has be considered in solving this issue.
My parents used to work a lot with homeless people when we lived down town. A lot of the men had chosen to run away from home because they had (usually) started several families and they didn't want to have to pay the money for child support. So, they chose to live on the streets because they couldn't be tracked down because they didn't have an address, they didn't have to work, and they could make a living by pan handling.
So, we need to consider not only how to help those who need a job but what can be done to motivate those who don't want a job?

I wonder what percentage of the homeless are in this situation. It would be very difficult to estimate.
However, it is undeniable that there are a large number of people in poverty due to "deadbeat dads". I believe that court ordered child support should be guaranteed by some level of government. That way, if the parent who has been ordered to pay support decides to evade his responsibility, then the custodial parent would not necessarily be left in poverty, waiting and wondering where the money will come from and facing the Catch-22 dilemma of having to afford more legal action just to try to enforce what the courts have already ordered. Governments would probably be a bit more successful collecting back payments than struggling poverty stricken moms.

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Re: Helping the homeless

Post #5

Post by windy »

otseng wrote:Here in Atlanta, there is talk about having a law against panhandling in certain tourist areas. I don't want to debate about panhandling, but I would like to discuss the underlying problem, which is homelessness and poverty.

What can be done to address homelessness and poverty?
What should be the role of government, corporations, and individuals?
What are some of the underlying issues behind homelessness and poverty?
One idea might be to make sure that fathers who have been displaced from their families by divorce are given shelter; as women who are in the same sistuation are.Often men are put out onto the street with nowhere to turn and to proud to ask for support.
Alot lose their jobs because of this; and try and find any way they can to support themselves.
If you doubt this I beg you men to go to the nearest city, or big town without money and no knowledge of what to do; and see how far you get.
Its easy to make judgements about people without knowing the facts behind them.
We have made wonderful strides in science and can do everything; except to stand in someone elses shoes and see how they feel.
Charles Dickens commented on social deprivation and was hounded for his
attempts to empathise with the downtrodden in his society.
Will we do the same? Turn a blind eye?
Who was it who said 'When you do this to the least of these my children you do it unto me?' :(

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Post #6

Post by otseng »

I've been thinking about this and want to throw out some ideas and perhaps brainstorm a solution.

What I'd like to explore is how to help people who are in a difficult situation and are willing to put effort into getting out of it, but just don't know how.

The minimum wage in the US will soon be $5.85/hr. Assuming 40 hours a week, that's $936 a month. This is not much to pay for housing, food, car, medical, and insurance.

It's also difficult to get a job if you don't have a home. If you have no address and no phone, you're not likely to even pass filling out an application. Or if you have no car, then it's hard to even go anywhere to find a job.

So, what are some possible solutions?

First, I notice that I rarely see homeless Mexicans. Yet they earn barely above minimum wage. How are they able to afford housing? I think that it's because they are willing to have lots of people live together. And they also have a tight community. And I think these things have to be emulated in order in address homelessness.

Also, years ago, I stumbled onto an unconventional homeless sheltor which I think has the right idea on how to address homelessness. The homeless sheltor director basically rented one unit in different apartments in a suburban area. And she had a dozen people staying in each unit. So, they were able to have cheap housing and a permanent address and a phone number. By living in the suburban area, they were out of any drug and crime environments and also be closer to the jobs. The only problem with this solution is if the apartment manager found out, they'd all get kicked out.

So, one solution to this is for a landlord to buy a small apartment and let a lot of people live in them. But, this would probably be against fire code.

Or build apartments with very small rooms. Here's one that is 62 square feet. It could be even smaller if it was like a dormitory.

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Re: Helping the homeless

Post #7

Post by Goat »

otseng wrote:Here in Atlanta, there is talk about having a law against panhandling in certain tourist areas. I don't want to debate about panhandling, but I would like to discuss the underlying problem, which is homelessness and poverty.

What can be done to address homelessness and poverty?
What should be the role of government, corporations, and individuals?
What are some of the underlying issues behind homelessness and poverty?
There are huge number of issues. One is education and the availablity of jobs. To be able to get a good job, you have to have a good education. The availablity of a good education is determined often by someones economic level. I think making it more difficult to 'offshore' jobs (yes, I know it is protectionism, but so what) would help keep job availablity in the U.S.


Many of the homeless are also mentally ill (not all, but a certain percentage). I know of several that are homeless because of schizophenia, and the refusal to
take their meds. A fair number of the homeless would have been institutionalized
in the 1950's, but those insititions were closed for lack of funding, and the inmates were allowed to be 'free' to starve on the streets.

There should be a better safety net for those who suffer though a sudden and unexpected financial loss, with a work program or something like that. .. work for an apartment and food. Then, I believe that having free public education to the college level (or at least the community college level, or some kind of votec for those who are not college material) would be good.

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Re: Helping the homeless

Post #8

Post by Confused »

otseng wrote:Here in Atlanta, there is talk about having a law against panhandling in certain tourist areas. I don't want to debate about panhandling, but I would like to discuss the underlying problem, which is homelessness and poverty.

What can be done to address homelessness and poverty?
What should be the role of government, corporations, and individuals?
What are some of the underlying issues behind homelessness and poverty?
Education is a start. But the drop out rate for the US alone is still high for high school alone. I am probably going to gain some slack for this, but in the US, I think that a person must be required to complete high school and then be required to serve at least 2 years in the service. They would grow up quick, learn some skills, and perhaps gain a sense of belonging.

For the mentally ill. This is difficult. On the one hand, we are trying to mainstream them into society because of activists going to far, yet again. They push for normalcy with the young and as they age, they find they have no sense of normalcy. We can't mainstream a schizophrenic in with the general population and expect everyone to trust him/her. The reality is, people understand so little about the mentally ill population that they don't even bother trying to learn. They label them crazy and want them gone. But human rights activists take it to far and say they have the right to live on the streets. Ok, but whose streets? Aren't government halfway houses a much better alternative? There are so few that the waiting list is endless.

Another thing is medicine needs to focus more on finding better medications for some of these individuals that don't have so many negative side effects. The most cited reason why a mentally ill person stops taking medications is because they don't like the side effects. The second reason is they believe the medications have cured them so why suffer the side effects, just stop taking them. They don't understand that most psych meds are long acting so the build a certain level in their bloodstream and if they miss a few days, they won't experience the illness. By the time they do, it is to late. Once again, education and assistance is needed.

Who should foot the bill? That is a tough one. I think each member of society would choose to be productive if they could (at least the majority would). Instead of giving jobs to illegal immigrants, why not allow some of the mentally ill contribute with the easier tasks? Governments could subsidize companies that employ them. It is a win win on many levels.
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Re: Helping the homeless

Post #9

Post by MikeH »

otseng wrote:What can be done to address homelessness and poverty?

What should be the role of government, corporations, and individuals?
There is no blanket, policy type of solution to homelessness. The entire responsibility is placed on individuals. Get organized, get out there and make a difference. Find somebody a job, a home, or get them into rehab. This type of movement will bleed into government and corporations, as these entities are made up of individuals.
What are some of the underlying issues behind homelessness and poverty?
Most of the time it is unfortunate circumstances, mental illness or addictions. There are cases where people do not want to do anything about their situation, but who's to say whether this is what got them there, or whether they just feel like they have no chance, therefore it's useless to try.

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Post #10

Post by catalyst »

I can see that this thread was started years ago and I would like to ask a question of those whom have made different "suggestions" as to what can or should be done to address the issues originally raised by otseng, if you personally have taken the time YOURSELF to fulfill or implement any of your suggestions?

My question is genuine and valid as these issues are very close to "home' for me.

I look forward to any replies.

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