Homelessness Problem in LA
Homelessness in LA is not an isolated case in U.S but rather public issue from 1980s since represents a huge problem for several cities as well as for largely populated states. People are facing this problem in daily basis; every time we are waiting by the traffic lights on the street, homeless people approaches to us and ask us either for a food or a change. Homeless people are people who are without a home and therefore living on the streets; reasons for this kind of state being varies from person to person. However, most of these people are having issues such as substance abuse and mental illness. The most critical location currently is so called Skid Row; concentrated are of homeless people where they can access all services such as meals, shelters and even housing if they qualify at one place (McEvers). While we have enormous number of homeless people with no place to stay on one side, we have developers on the other side that are trying to wreck homes and build new, luxurious and therefore expensive condos that are going to lead towards even greater homelessness. As a result significant amount of homeless people are living either on the streets, cars, tents or under bridges. Especially vulnerable are women and children, which section has been increasing the most while at the same time racial minorities represent the largest part of homeless people (Cousineau and Lozier 857). Homelessness in LA is ongoing process that have negative impacts on people that land on a street and on other residents; therefore we need to provide appropriate and supportive services in stable environment in order to prevent further increased rates of homelessness in LA.
Homelessness in LA increased for 42% from 2010 to 2017 and even though there is several factors that contributed to this number, housing issue is certainly one of them (KCET 2018). Most of homeless people live in cars, tents and lean-tos because they cannot afford apartment’s rent (Holland). According to Gary Blasi homelessness is mainly caused by the imbalance of extremely poor people and their numbers and the price of housing (McEvers). Over the years the price of housing has increased significantly and so has the rate of homeless people. There is no doubt that these two factors are correlated. Joryelle Marage is one of the many homeless people in LA that end up on a street because they were no longer able to pay a rent. Few years back she was paying 800$ for a one-room apartment while now she would not be able to get this kind of room for that amount of money since the prices went up. Therefore, there is no way that people like Joryelle, who were already struggling to pay 800$ for apartment’s rent, will be able to pay even more (McEvers). In order to decreased the number of homeless people authorities needs to provide housing subsidies, which are preventing overall problem from increasing. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority already started with investments in housing for veterans and homeless families; statistically looking we have noticed percentage decreases in numbers. An 18% drop in homeless families and a 30% decrease for veterans (Nagourney).
After homeless people will be settled in housing we need to provide supportive services for them like rehab. First of all we need to ensure that we are able to afford rehab facilities otherwise there is no point of helping homeless people with housing if later on they will need to pay for the rehab because they will end up on the street again due to lack of money (Czarnecki 41). In order to provide certain amount of money everybody needs to help and do whatever is in their power. For example, that could be done even with a simple vote by each LA residents. According to Gary Blasi LA residents already did their job with approving a sales tax that is going to bring additional $350 million per year for numerous different services. At the same time they have also approved a bond, which means extra $1.2 billion money for building supportive housing over the next 10 years (McEvers). Substance abuse often reflects in social and mental problems, which could also be one of the reasons for homelessness (Czarnecki 41). There is number of rehab centers around LA, which happens to attract certain amount of people that are trying to wean themselves off drugs. Therefore, this is one of the factors that contributed to higher number of homeless people. Since we have several rehab treatments here in LA people are coming even from other states to cure their addiction; in many cases they end up on the streets of LA because they either ran out of money to continually paying for the rehab or are simply unsuccessful. As a result they end up homeless in LA since they cannot even afford to go home (Jordan).
So far we were listing different reasons that leads to homelessness but with health problems we have both cause and consequence of homelessness. If people are having minimum wage they probably do not have health insurance, which could results in unemployment. For example, if they get up sick or injured it is likely that they would avoid an appointment with a doctor; in case this health problem develops this means giving up even more money for health care than it would be necessary at first, which could potentially leads to running out of money for primary goods as food and therefore to an unemployment. On the other side homeless people are in deficiency of having ability to access primary health care (Cousineau and Lozier 857). Homeless people need care management because their health status is worse than the one from general population. According to the World Health Organization, primary health care is essential care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community (Jego 2). Therefore, we need to provide homeless people a primary care program that would be efficient and effective as well for homeless people as in terms of versatility. In order to achieve this goal we should combine together several services such as mental health care, primary health care, social support and other related services. According to numerous study it has been proved that diagnosis of homeless people that have been treated by primary health care program improved significantly. They perceived positive outcomes in the change of the social status, the housing status and the access and use of health care services (Jego 2).
In order to help homeless people to keep at least their subsidies housing if not regular one we need to provide employment services. If homeless people will have a chance of employment opportunities it is more likely that they will stay clean since this is going to be their reason and motivation to continue on with new lifestyle. Before it would come to an employment itself we should administer managers that would help homeless people to prepare for an employment. Through the workface development centers homeless people would have training, work uniforms and all other work support they would want and need (Burt 210). However, it is not enough to provide homeless people all mentioned services but rather offering employment at early stage and encourage them in order to gain their trust, hope and motivation. It is obvious that housing facilities and primary health care are necessary but unfortunately they are not sufficient enough in terms of ending or stopping the homelessness. Employment assistance is our solution for homelessness; sooner we engage homeless people the. Better because they are prepare and willing to work (Shaheen and Rio 341 43). For example, there has been a study about certain number of homeless people who were part of a program called LA’s HOPE. Within this program homeless people were provided by housing, health care and employment. One of the important things is that we need to support homeless people through their process of change in order to provide positive outcomes. If we will devote appropriate and adequate resources for clients in need, who are homeless people in our case, we can look forward to have great results (Burt 209).
There has been various articles about different programs suggesting what should we do and how to approach on the homelessness issue in order to stop it if not even end it. Each program offers varied answer for the same issue. However, writing about potential possibilities that could help resolve an issue or actually being able to implement them are two different things. Unfortunately, actions are not being taken immediately as they should be, which in longer period time means increased percentage of homeless people. We are missing another perspective in this case, which is how other residents of larger cities like LA and other people in general, who do not have these kind of problems, see this issue of homelessness or rather look on homeless people. People are usually susceptible to presume certain things about certain issue. Nothing is different with homelessness or to be exact with homeless people. People tend to believe that homeless people ended up on the streets because they were not willing to work, were too careless to maintain their social, work and health life. Unfortunately, not everything is black and white as it seems. Instead of being a person who believes in stereotypes and applies in daily conversation and behavior we should be a person who is going to make a change. A simple smile, conversation or some food would bring a homeless person so much joy that we cannot imagine. Still, there are always going to be people who believe that homeless people are not worth even our breath.
To sum up, homelessness has increased during the last 30 years in numerous cities and states. Indeed it represents a public issue, which affects other residents that are living in this city or state. Since Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in U.S.A it is not surprising that, according to number of homeless people, it is at the top of the list. Instead of taking care of this issue constantly it seems that Mayor’s office kind of forget about that problem especially in the last few years. However, the homelessness became such a huge obstacle that they could not neglect it anymore. Therefore, there has been already adopted certain laws that are going to contribute to funding for homeless people. In order to provide better conditions and stable environment for homeless people we should follow certain steps. Firstly, we need to provide housing or so called housing subsidies; after that we need to make sure that all homeless people are going to wean themselves off either drugs, alcohol or any other substance and that they stay clean after rehab. Final two steps should include appropriate primary health care services and options of employment. As it was shown in LA’s HOPE program homeless people will more l likely tend to preserve their new lifestyle’ if they will receive help regarding the housing, rehab, health care and employment opportunities. We need to ask ourselves why USA has so high percentage of homeless people? Is it possible that this has something to do with college tuitions that usually lead to the fact that people are paying off their loan till their 50s or even more. It is time for USA to look at European school system and see if they can learn something from them and implicate it since this would help reduce overall homelessness because a number of homeless people end up on the streets cause they cannot keep up with their debt and current living expenses.