Housing is healthcare, but it is not enough on its own

Our city is rushing too quickly to house our most vulnerable people.  

That may sound strange coming from someone who was on the streets and now has a voucher. I am happy that I have an apartment, although I still struggle to maintain it without a [pay?]check coming in every month.   

But most of the friends that I met when we were both homeless died months after getting an apartment. The only reason they received apartments was because they were so sick.   

It’s great that the system recognized their need and put them first. But they should have received the healthcare they needed through a hospital or a crisis bed, rather than being left on their own in a new place. Housing helps, but when people have been hurting for so long, they need a supervised place to rest and recuperate.  

Some of these women and men have been on the street for a long time, which grinds down both the body and spirit. And some sick people lose their place in line because they are taking drugs. 

Others need training in order to relearn how to live in their own place. When you are on the street so long that you’ve forgotten how to take care of yourself, it is difficult to take care of other needs.   

People try to improve themselves, but where to begin? You need someone in your corner to guide you. Any wrong decision makes it even harder to get off the streets.  

Joseph Jackson is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media. 

Issues |Housing

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We believe ending homelessness begins with listening to the stories of those who have experienced it.