Author: Alfonso Holland
The rise of Homelessness in prominent cities across America has sent waves of disbelief through our country. How can we be surprised by this outcome. Although there have been funds allocated to the affordable infrastructures built for human habitation throughout this nation, there has not been enough emphasis put on the the prevention of homelessness or the importance of self-sufficiency. Where are these individuals coming into homelessness stepping out from? These are working class Americans! People working our registers at Walmart, packaging our orders at Amazon, and bagging our groceries at Stop and Shop. Measure H sales tax in LA has allocated $355 Million dollars annually for 10 years to combat homelessness. The federally mandated Annual Point-In-Time survey for 2019 has shown a 12% rise in homelessness from 2018 in Los Angeles.
Yes, the chronically homeless are being helped and housed with supports to help sustain a life with less obstacles and more treatment. “Yet as thousands of people were permanently housed, thousands more fell into homelessness due to economic forces and the interlocking systems of foster care, mental health, criminal justice, and the housing market, outpacing the results. Our ability to reach, serve, and house people experiencing homelessness has risen enormously since voters made unprecedented investments in our homeless services system in 2016 and 2017,” said Peter Lynn, executive director of LAHSA. “And at the same time our regional housing affordability crisis continues to drive thousands into homelessness.”
Homelessness has declined by 11% nationwide between 2012 and 2018, but at the same time many large cities have seen surges like 26% in Seattle, 47% in New York City and 75% in Los Angeles. (Huffpost)
Connecticut is on a steady decline for homelessness. Let's CLAP for our great state doing something right. The 'Coordinated Access Network' aka CAN has been instrumental in getting this monumental feat accomplished. Although the finish line is miles away we've made great strides to getting closer than ever before. This year's statistics have shown that we have 10% less people experiencing homelessness at the time this survey was taken. The CAN has streamlined access to homeless services and housing assistance for people who fall into a housing crisis or homelessness.
Even with all of this praise given we must step back and see the bigger picture. The number of single adults make up 2/3 of the homeless population. These people have not had the amount of help that should be allocated to them. Don't be hard on our people they are someone's family and could possibly be yours. Take a stand and grab a hand. We are in this together, this is our community. Everyone deserves some sort of permenent housing, so we must band together to and come up with solutions to prevent these situations from occurring.
Our business leaders must join this fight. There are so many skills not being utilized because many homeless aren't properly equipped to secure and ace an interview. The unemployment rate for America as a whole has been steady at 3.6%, a 50-year low. Unemployment for black Americans is at 6.7% and about 4.2% for Hispanics. It is hard enough to make ends meet with a job, but without one it is almost impossible. Those experiencing Homelessness have many faces. In other words, homelessness is no longer just a symbol of decline. It is a product of prosperity. We are in a time that the cost of living outpaces the set wages and people are a paycheck away from being homeless. A job doesn't secure a home, a livable wage does.
Families and individuals alike must be educated as well. Financial Education is key as well as Employment Development. Helping our people advance through the knowledge of self-awareness will in turn allow for a Collaborative Growth Initiative that will benefit all involved.
This is going to take all of us to end homelessness. We can no longer criminalize people holding signs looking for a sign of hope.