HOW TO BEAT HOMELESSNESS ONCE AND FOR ALL
News sources have been stating that the end of the rent-subsidy program Advantage is largely to blame for the rise in homelessness. The state covered $65 million of this subsidy program (nearly half of the funds), and then pulled out.
So the city has its back against the wall. I don't blame it for opening up more shelters at this point. The situation is awful and we need answers now. But we also need a fundamental shift in how we view solving homelessness. A big reason we got into this problem in the first place seems to be a short-sighted mentality and the reliance on programs like Advantage which can't last forever. It was only a matter of time that the state was going to run out of funds or cut them. So what happens to those families once the subsidies run out?
In my mind, a housing-first approach is only a band-aid solution. It works for a few months, or even a couple of years. But the real solution to homelessness needs to be built around a self-sufficiency mindset. The real solution is work. Providing training, work opportunities, and job placement in the workforce for individuals so they can support themselves and their families.
Yes, easier said than done. But the thing is, it's already being done by The Doe Fund. The approach makes sense. Think about it. Do you continue to throw more money at stop-gap measures, or do you invest in people's lives and give them an opportunity to succeed on their own?