Treat and Support the Whole Person

Pete Unseth / Wikimedia Commons

Homelessness can be ended very easily. A template program could be used in most instances. Though in others, there may be some people who are disabled to such an extent that special housing, care and treatment might have to be employed. Some might become able to live on their own, but some might not be able to work at least at traditional jobs.

Mostly though, the format involves shelters and programs at YWCS’s and YMCA’s. The person comes in, gets a bed or a room and a locker with a key. He or she is given physical and oral exams and psychological and background interviews. Treatment begins for any illness and drug treatment assessment is made available by way of referral. Non-emergency health problems might be able to be resolved at the program or when the person returns.

During these initial intake meetings, the counselors should be required to determine the educational level and job readiness of each person. It would then be possible to later, if necessary, go to job training or adult education classes. You have to treat a person’s abilities and opportunities right alongside their health.

When the time comes to go to work, the shelter or The Y would make the job referrals. Those going to work would live in separate wings of the facility. The housing host and the potential employer would work together to try to make a successful job placement. There could even be tax incentives for an employer.

The formerly homeless person would work and live at the location for one-and-a-half years, paying very little for lodging and meals on the weekends and holidays. He or she would save to get an apartment and furnishings. The temporary home would initially provide clothing, transportation money, and spending money until the person receives their first paycheck.

The recipient of these services would agree to continue contacting the former housing provider every six months indefinitely to give updates on their situation. They would have to inform the provider immediately if there is a problem at the job site and soon if there are any other personal problems, especially if law enforcement is involved. Failure to do so would result in the inability to be readmitted to the housing provider unless it is determined that the problem was insignificant. There would be coaching on problem solving and life skills.

Lawyers could work closely with these places too.

If the problem involves criminal law issues, the individual might have to serve time, but the program’s willingness to work with the individual might result in an earlier release.

This sort of holistic early assessment and support network would determine if the person should get any help in these stages here or elsewhere.

All of this assistance requires that the rich pay their fair part of taxes.

Issues |Development|Housing|Jobs|Living Unsheltered|Shelters

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