Providing Affordable Housing in the USA to reduce Homelessness.
ENGL135 Advanced Composition
October 7, 2023
Providing Affordable Housing in the USA to Reduce Homelessness
More than half a million people in the U.S. do experience homelessness, highlighting a humanitarian crisis that demands immediate attention. The issue of homelessness and lack of affordable housing presents both a national concern and a pressing issue that impacts our communities. Although the number of homeless individuals declined by 8 percent in 2021, the outbreak and fear of COVID-19 spreading caused more homelessness (Staff, 2022). Several things can lead to individuals being homeless, including substance use, mental illness, and rising housing costs. Practical solutions are nееdеd to address this crisis. This paper explores the issue of homelessness, offers an overview of its current state, and strategies that can be adopted to realize affordable housing. The thorough examination of the complexities of homelessness seeks to resolve the escalating crisis of affordable housing in the United States to promote a more compassionate and inclusive society.
The shortage of affordable housing in the United States has contributed to the growing rate of homelessness in the country. Individuals from socio economically disadvantaged backgrounds can no longer afford houses as the housing costs keep rising. The number of Americans struggling to secure stable shelter keeps rising. The article by Giving Compass (2022) describes homelessness as a multidimensional issue that entails factors such as increased levels of poverty, especially among marginalized groups, physical constraints, and lack of affordable housing. In addition, this article notes that specific demographics, including families with children accounting for 30 percent of the country’s homeless population, and 6 percent adults aged below 25 years (Giving Compass, 2022). Equally, historical structural racial continues to affect many minority communities characterized by greater racial disparities in housing. The situation is further aggravated by the higher costs of living with the fast rise in housing costs with more than 40 percent of renters having to spend more than 30 percent of their income to cater to housing costs (Giving Compass, 2022). It presents the housing crisis as non-isolated, but rather a complex web of interlinked factors.
There have been tremendous efforts to address the issue of homelessness but criminalizing it by dome states has deteriorated the problem. The article by Forbes (2022) shows that the cycle of instability for homeless individuals has been perpetuated by laws restricting individuals from sitting, sleeping, or residing in public places such as parks or streets. The people of color bear the greatest pinch of this punitive approach, especially those who are chronically homeless. There is a need to shift resources toward providing the chronically affected populations with permanent housing and supportive services as stressed by the current state of homelessness. This paradigm shift is vital in the proactive tackling of homelessness in the United States.
Permanent Supportive Housing
Implementing permanent supportive housing is one promising strategy to prevent homelessness. This strategy combines secure, reasonably priced housing with essential support services, like mental health care, addiction counseling, and career development. People who are homeless can address the underlying problems that lead to their housing instability by offering a thorough support system in addition to a stable living environment (Giving Compass, 2022). The advantage of this approach is that it offers a holistic approach to permanent supportive housing, acknowledging that homelessness is entrenched in an intricate interplay of factors, such as addiction, mental health challenges, and other personal crises (Ross, n.d.). Long-term housing stability can be achieved by addressing these underlying issues.
Furthermore, this approach is cost effective in the long term, although significant costs are involved in the initial investment in permanent supportive housing. Initial investment may focus on decreasing incarceration rates, reduced emergency room visits, and other public service expenses (Giving Compass, 2022). However, the significant demand of these services due to the significant number of individuals struggling with homelessness, it may encounter challenges to availability. Such a situation could leave a significant proportion of these individuals lacking access to affordable housing. Besides, implementing permanent supportive housing necessitates a significant commitment of resources. It includes funding for renovating or constructing housing units and ongoing operational costs for supporting services.
Another compelling approach is the Housing First initiative, which gives priority to stable housing for individuals experiencing homelessness (Forbes, 2022). This notion recognizes safe housing as a vital human right and offers a basis for addressing other problems individuals may encounter. Its framework ensures quicker provision of safe and stable homes for those battling homelessness. This quick response helps to alleviate suffering and trauma associated with homelessness. The long-term cost-effectiveness of the Housing First strategy aligns with that of permanent supportive housing. The initial expenditure is offset by decreased public service consumption (PBS NewsHour, 2021). However, this approach has drawbacks, such as social resistance and limited availability of affordable housing units. Sections of society may oppose this strategy as it gives resources to individuals who do not qualify for assistance (Forbes, 2022). Securing units for the Housing First project can be extremely difficult in areas with high housing costs and a lack of supply. These potential solutions highlight the need for a multifaceted approach to addressing homelessness through affordable housing. Whereas each option presents benefits, they come with challenges that must be considered and addressed for their long-term viability.
The Permanent Supportive Housing concept and the Housing First program are combined to create the most potent strategy for ending homelessness through affordable housing. These strategies can address the underlying issues contributing to homelessness by offering a thorough framework that encompasses job training, mental health care, and addiction therapy. This approach recognizes the importance of adopting a holistic approach to addressing homelessness that goes beyond just secure housing. Ensuring a strong support network will ensure achievement of long-term housing stability. The Housing First initiative seeks to provide constant help and prioritizes unrestricted access to safe homes, ensuring as many as possible homeless individuals receive the aid. It offers an integrated approach that supports a more robust system for tackling the diverse needs of those experiencing homelessness.
Overall, the homelessness crisis in the United States necessitates more proactive strategies that particularly targets those affected and those at risk. Lack of affordable housing and underlying challenges continue to leave several Americans grapple with rising housing costs, escalated by high costs of living. A multifaceted approach that integrates the Permanent Supportive Housing Modal and the Housing First initiative to address the current crisis of homelessness in the country. This approach should be implemented at multispectral levels to ensure various stakeholders, including communities, legislators, and stakeholders collaborate to ensure feasible solutions that give those affected the needed assistance and stability to reconstruct their lives.
Forbes (2022, Jan 1).
How The U.S. Criminalizes Homelessness?
Giving Compass (2022, Feb 18).
Homelessness: What to Know and How to Help.
PBS NewsHour (2021, Dec 28).
What’s behind rising homelessness in America?
Ross, H. (n.d.).
Shelters can help homeless people by providing quiet and privacy, not just a bunk and a meal. The Conversation.
Staff, W. (2022, May 1).
Understanding America’s homelessness crisis. The week.
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