Homeless Shelters: The Pertinent Issues

A day in the life

 

 

My hometown is known for the quaint, eclectic shops that line the five blocks of its downtown business district.  Fine dining, new and consignment clothing stores, antique malls, art and crafts galleries, and a few retail chains offer myriad options for the ardent shopper to peruse.  Visitors sometimes travel hundreds of miles to leisurely stroll down our main street on a sunny spring day.  There is another side to this downtown area, however—a darker, tragic side.

It is a warm Saturday afternoon.  Your family is traversing the busy sidewalks of the downtown shopping area, peering into storefront windows and absorbing the friendly, small-town ambiance.  Without warning, a man approaches.  He looks around nervously, aware that a city ordinance prohibits “aggressive” panhandling.  He is bearded and disheveled, dressed in rumpled clothing and worn tennis shoes.  He softly asks if you have any spare change.  You offer a few dimes or shake your head apologetically, and move around him.  He hesitantly approaches someone else.  That is how he will spend this afternoon, and every other day in the foreseeable future. 

In the next block, another man sits on the bench near an intersection, directly adjacent to a sculpture commissioned by the city as part of a downtown beautification project.  His scruffy exterior is in stark contrast to the fashion style of passing shoppers.  This man carries a cardboard sign with a message printed on it:  a request for money.  His method of soliciting is less intrusive but no less disturbing.  A few blocks north, a man is lying under a blanket on the sidewalk.  He doesn’t want money—he just wants to be left alone.  (In a few hours, the police will arrive to take him to safety after he has been sighted wandering aimlessly in traffic.)

Some of these tragic figures are simply down in their luck, a victim of the economic downturn.  A few are ex-convicts who found survival in captivity easier to manage than freedom.  Others are recognized as having been homeless for years—they have mastered the grim art of surviving on the streets.  Still more are victims of their own psychoses, caught in a pattern of intermittent psychological treatment that mandates their release as soon as a medicated “improvement” in their condition is noted.  It is an ongoing problem for my hometown—a sad and heart-rending problem. 

 

 

The faces of homelessness

Dinnertime for a homeless woman
Dinnertime for a homeless woman
Some folks just want to be left alone
Some folks just want to be left alone
A few manage to maintain a sense of humor
A few manage to maintain a sense of humor
Laws against panhandling create difficulties for the homeless
Laws against panhandling create difficulties for the homeless
Churches sometimes serves as emergency shelters
Churches sometimes serves as emergency shelters
While some call a teepee home
While some call a teepee home
Pen and ink on green paper
Pen and ink on green paper

The pertinent issues

 

Homelessness is a problem in every major city in the United States—not just the town I live in.  The federal definition of “homeless” describes an individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations; an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or, a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.  This definition accurately describes the situation but fails to address the inhumanity of living on the streets.

It is estimated that my hometown has approximately 320 homeless “occupants,” of which 50 to 75 live in available shelters.  Over 50 are chronically homeless, and 45 have been homeless in town for over three years.  More than 40 are reported having mental health problems.  These statistics are minuscule when compared to similar studies conducted in major U.S. cities, but this is a huge number for a town this size.  The homeless can’t be hidden or brushed aside, and we remember their faces as we pass them on the streets, time and again.

The homeless have sometimes found abandoned buildings to inhabit, or have built teepee communities near the river.  Others live under the bridge crossing the river on the north edge of town.  These solutions demonstrate the resolve of the many people living without shelter from the elements, but their solutions are fraught with danger.  Occupants of these homeless “communities” have been victims of assault, robbery, rape and even murder.  They are to be commended for trying to create a refuge for themselves, but are in need of a safer solution.

My hometown has a homeless shelter, but it is normally filled to capacity and other answers are needed.  City government and social service agencies have investigated moving it to a new site for several years, but their latest efforts have stalled out.  They are now exploring options for placing the shelter near the county jail. 

 

The pertinent issues include:

1.   The perceived effect of the homeless on business.  The downtown shopping district has historically been a haven for the homeless.  Businesses have complained about pedestrians who have been stopped or even blocked on the sidewalk by strangers begging for money, prompting the creation of local laws prohibiting “aggressive panhandling”.  Mom and Pop stores (with fewer security options) face the added burdens of the homeless inside their stores, asking for change from the register or wanting to use the rest room.  A security guard was hired to ensure the nearby public library doesn’t serve as a de facto shelter.  Police reports suggest a disproportionate number of arrests involve the homeless. 

2.  Problems have perpetually delayed approval of a new shelter.  No one can agree on a site for the shelter.  Local government persists in recommending sites on the east side of the city, but neighborhoods are fearful of strangers near their schools or in their back yards.  East side residents angrily point to the fact that shelters are never recommended in neighborhoods occupied by city officials. 

3.  Solutions are often stop-gap measures.  Shelters are intended to provide housing but nothing more, with no strategy for education or job skills training to solve the problems leading to homelessness.  A lack of funding hinders any desire to offer more than a place to sleep, but without mandated programs for education and rehabilitation, a shelter offers no lasting solutions.

4.  Standards for admittance cannot be agreed upon.  Most administrators agree that a shelter should be drug- and alcohol-free, but this decision is not unanimous.  Some advocate that staff hold alcohol for shelter occupants, returning their liquor the following day as they leave.  Many administrators are convinced that without stringent standards for admittance, shelters become a destination and actually bring more homeless into the community. 

5.  No classification system exists.  There are no mechanisms in place to separate those with mental illness and in need of treatment from the rest.  As a result, those who will never be capable of self-sufficiency are housed in the same way as those who become homeless through personal crisis but are not chronically homeless.   

 

 

Do solutions exist?


The issues facing my home town are not unique. The same problems exist everywhere. The inability to find practical solutions keep the nation’s homeless on the streets by day and sleeping on a gym floor by night (if they’re lucky). Are shelters a solution, or do they contribute to the problem of homelessness? What is the “right” thing for a city to do? Should a new shelter be built? Where? Should there be conditions for admittance? How should we help these unfortunate, desperate people?

In an ideal situation, there would in fact be two shelters; one for the homeless, another for those with emotional or mental problems that limit their ability to function in society. Both would be alcohol and drug free facilities. Requirements for the shelters would include: a limit to the duration of time one could stay there; in-house programs aimed at enhancing job and life management skills with mandatory participation; cooperation with social service agencies to diagnose physical or psychological barriers that limit one’s ability to function in society; and, participation in studies that further define issues and problems associated with homelessness.

There is no reason to believe two shelters will ever be available in my home town, or that the shelters that exist will offer more than a mat on the floor. This is better than living in a teepee or under a bridge, but is a far cry from the help men and women throughout the country need to find their way to back to a home they can truly call their own.

What can be done to help?


Comments 40 comments

Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

Yes! Great hub! Now you see why I am trying to raise "lousy dollars" for Unchained Grace's Ministry. Have you forgotten your word? :(

I know life keeps us busy-but words and promises are golden to me!


mbwalz profile image

mbwalz 6 years ago from Maine

We have, of course, a similar problem in Maine. We've got pretty good shelters and resources but it's still a grim situation, especially in the winter.

Gentrification was part of the problem here and I'm sure in many places. Affordable housing dried up and people had no place to live. It made me sick to see luxury homes with huge square footage being sold and no place where these people could rent affordably. I remember calling the police for a homeless man sleeping in the bushes behind my house. I was worried as it was in the high 90's and he was dressed in heavy clothing. I felt badly because I realized they probably just made him "move on" and didn't help him.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ghosty! Thanks for reading! I never forgot my word. It was revisiting your hubs that gave me the inspiration to address this issue, and I remain moved by your desire to make a difference.

I am very much a man of my word!

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

mbwalz, thanks for your comments.

The problems exist everywhere. Affordable housing dried up in my town also, and we have become a bedroom community in a lot of ways. We even built "luxury student apartments" for the college community, and yet so many people live on the streets in our town. It is a sad story.

I found a teenaged runaway living in my shed once, and I used to work at a Woolworth's where homeless folks would wait for the trash from the coffee shop to be brought out. They would pick through it in search of food, of course.

The problems are not easily solved, but the issues are important.

Thanks again for reading.

Mike


Susan Carter profile image

Susan Carter 6 years ago

These articles always make me so sad that human beings have to live like this and lose all respect from others that come across them. I am guilty of this myself because of fear that I might be hurt by one of them, or "catch" something. It's a frightening thing to realize that some human beings with all their riches and gold toilets and 500 foot yachts cannot remember that we are all the same, but some less fortunate. A comment was made on our local radio station after the big fund raiser for Haiti that if every one of the famous celebrities that were manning the phone banks would each give $100,000 or $1 million to the cause, then there would be no problem in Haiti. Instead, they only gave their time so that the everyday person could squeeze another $10 out of their wallet to try to impact this disaster. I'm not bitter, I just wish that the people who really could make a dramatic difference on the plight of the poor would give up one necklace, one dress, even one summer home payment to help their fellow human being. There would be a lot less pain in the world. Their "face" on a phone bank would be worth way more if they did something. Okay, I'm done bashing the rich. I just get frustrated all over again when the plight of the homeless is brought back into existance when I read a really good article. Thanks Mike for bringing it back for us to remember why we should not forget humanity.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Susan, thanks for your comments. I've made the same observations: why do wealthy people donate their time and expect working class people to offer money? I suppose some of them might donate money anonymously, but you certainly don't get a sense of that.

The plight of the homeless is indeed a tragic one. I was a college student when I worked at Woolworth's, and took the trash from the coffee shop out to the dumpster at night. One or two of the homeless folks had my schedule down, knew when I brought out the trash, and waited a discreet distance away from the dumpster for me to toss the trash bags. They would then come and search the bags for anything edible. It was very sad to see. These folks are people also, and there should be a way to allow everyone to live with respect and dignity.

I hope the day comes.

Thanks again for your comments, I appreciate your insights.

Mike


Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 6 years ago from Michigan

A great hub, with an important issue. However dark it can seem with the economy and things that go wrong, we must remember the less fortunate. Thanks Mike.


adillion 6 years ago

Very nice article!greeting from Egypt


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Difficult question to answer. As you rightly said there should be two shelters, one for mental illness and one for people with money shortage. The problem is who take care of who? I can only talk about Italy: here there aren't many shelters, the state doesn't want to take care for people with mental issues, forget about others. And do they really want to be helped? Here as an example almost everywhere there are organizations who manage panhandling and staying outside the right shop it isn't so difficult to raise 50€ a day, and without working. As a matter of fact Italy is full of Gypsies for a reason. Well, beside our legal system sweet with criminals and hard with honest people.

Anyway the point is that sometimes living on the street is easier than having a job. As an example if you give 10 $ to a panhandler how does he uses them? To eat, to drink, to buy drugs, or to get clean and find a job? We can help the first and the last one, but the other two usually just want to go on with their life as it is. And on the road it's pretty easy to spot the difference. As a matter of fact when they approach people asking for money to eat and you reply "Ok, I'll buy you a burger" the usual answer is "No thanks, I want money only".


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

How sad and heart rendering…


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Truth, how have you been? Enjoying March Madness? Thanks for reading, my friend. You are correct, there should always be room in our hearts for those less fortunate. It could easily be us someday (or at least me...).

Thanks again for reading, and I hope you are enjoying all the basketball.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

adillion, thanks for reading. Greetings in return from Kansas, and I hope all is well for you in Egypt.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

hypnodude, thanks for your comments. You raise many good points.

There are indeed the "professional" panhandlers who find it easier to beg for money than take steps toward self-sufficiency. The question about what to do for them is a difficult one. Should any use of shelters or free meals mandate participation in reintegration programs designed to guide the chronically homeless toward a more productive lifestyle? Should local laws be made stricter, making it more difficult to sustain a homeless lifestyle, guiding the homeless toward programs aimed at self-sufficiency? These are the questions that make solutions so difficult.

Those with emotional or psychological problems present totally different problems. There are some in our community that are homeless because they are not able to fend for themselves. If they are involuntarily hospitalized (because they are a threat to themselves or others), they are released when they demonstrate "progress." Progress typically comes from their medication, which is not maintained when they are released. They end up in a cycle of treatment that does no one any good.

The issues are many and complex, and you have touched on them very well. I don't have answers--I'm not certain anyone does.

And on that relatively depressing note....

Well, thanks for commenting. I appreciate your insights very much. It is a shame that the problems are not more easily solved. Take care.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

De Greek, thanks for reading. This is indeed a sad problem. Take care.

Mike


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

We have these problems in the Uk also. Even in my hometown, we have travellers who are homeless. There is a great need for social housing.

Did you know that our homeless in my town can no longer have hot soup from the homeless hot soup kitchen? Guess why? It is a health and safety issue! Dealing with hot food has issues around it... now our homeless just have to make do on cold food - no more hot drinks or anything like this.

The world has gone mad!

Thanks for writing on a subject that is close to my heartx


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Shaz, thanks for commenting. It's appalling that soup kitchens can no longer be allowed to serve hot food in your community for health or safety issues. In the United States, I would suspect the problems to be of insurance and liability issues. Is that what is at stake there? If so, you are correct, the world has gone mad. A lack of quality food is certainly a health issue....

Thanks again, I appreciate your input on this subject--it is an important one.

Mike


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Until everyone's rights are respected I think that everyone has the right to live the life he wants. That is if someone prefers to live a life of freedom on the roads and he's happy with it than it's cool for me. If, like 95% of Gypsies, you exploit or harass others to make a living then it's no more cool. Actually when someone asks for money in a polite way I usually give something. But, at that point, these "honest panhandlers" could, and some do, perform some little things in exchange for an offer; like taking away garbage, or putting back trolleys at the supermarket... What should be done is to stop harassing behaviors and criminal exploitation. But this would require a serious government who wants to do things well, an oxymoron here in Italy. That is, until they step in someone's else rights they should be free to live the life they wants.

As for mental illnesses or people addicted to drugs or alcohol it should be more or less the same; that is if they want to be helped they should, but they can't be allowed to be dangerous for themselves or others.

In Italy it's like in the USA, after some medications they are thrown back in family or on the roads: some time ago there was an old man watching the sea, a guy with mental issues approached him and in a fit of madness threw the old man on the rocks. This should not be allowed.

As you rightly said it's not an easy issue to solve, but turning the head around until it's late isn't the right answer. If we want to protect people. Even from themselves.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

hypnodude, thanks for returning. You've given this much thought, and I greatly appreciate your insights. I certainly agree that any individual should be allowed to live life the way he or she wishes--if that includes no permanent address, so be it. No one can or will be "saved" against their wishes. I do not believe homeless folks should become a burden to neighborhoods or shopping districts, but that is only a small aspect of the issue.

Folks with mental issues are a challenge because they are at risk of hurting themselves, and in some cases are not capable of making rational decisions for themselves. The circumstance you describe is quite moving and a bit scary. Because of their penchant for unpredictably, they become a problem when "lumped together" with other homeless and could even be a threat. I don't know what answers there are, though.

I suppose my ultimate concern is for the safety of the homeless, and that adequate resources exists for those that wish to utilize them. If someone does not wish to make use of shelters or reintegration programs, that is their choice to the extent no one else is harmed. It seems wrong to turn away those that do wish to make use of services because the resources or funding are not there. And, of course, I worry for folks that are victimized because they have no safe haven--whether they want it or not.

You are entirely correct, solutions would require a government that wants to do things well--can't really see that as the case in the US. It would be nice, however.

Thanks again, I appreciate the dialogue a great deal.

Mike


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

I serve occasionally at a mission house, feeding homeless people. Most of the people will not fit into a regular mold; many are hopelessly alchoholic or, sadly, treatably mentally ill but inadequately provided for.

The chronically homeless ones just can't get in the loop of normal society and stay there. The ones who have just experienced some very hard times usually get through it, find a job of sorts, and gradually get back on their feet, and are no longer homeless.

Even Christ said, "The poor are always with us", and that is so true. We could do more for these people; we could do less for these people; the biggest difference it makes is to make us better people to do more for them, and to rescue them from a dire situation.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Paradise, thanks for your comments. You are correct, many of the homeless cannot or will not conform, and ultimately there is not a lot that can be done for them. I do think it is important to have sufficient resources to assist those who do wish for help. I'm not sure I believe there should be no standards of compliance for those who make use of community resources without the intention of bettering themselves. As has been already stated, it is a complex issue.

Thanks so much for your insights--they are much appreciated.

Mike


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Sad and complex issue that is widespread. My next door neighbor introduced me to a charity that has built houses for homeless women and their children. Each house accommodates 5 families and there is a live-in house mother. The mandatory thing for them to get to live there is that they are either undertaking schooling or bettering themselves in some way so that ultimately they can become tax paying citizens who will be self sufficient. This is ideal and both my husband and I am helping with donations to help them succeed in their mission.

Naturally ones like this are far and few between. Just happy to know that some do exist!

Thought provoking hub!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Peggy, thanks for reading and offering your insights. My hometown has a transitional care shelter for women and children who have come from an abusive situation, but nothing specifically for homeless women. There is a crisis center that has a limited number of bed that served this purpose for a time.

I do think there is a benefit to mandating activities that lead toward reintegration, and it is good that the houses you reerence have expectations from those benefitting from their services. That allows folks in need a safe environmnet while encouraging them to get back on their feet. It sounds like a wonderful benefit to your community.

Thanks for sharing your information, it is encouraging.

Mike


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Oh MIke you posed a very difficult question and they are all busy with the bill health etc, hmmm, made me think before sleeping, Maita


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Maita, this is an extremely difficult question and there are no easy answers. One can only hope that things get better in general so that people have a chance to survive.

Go ahead and get some sleep now, Maita!

Mike


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

My mother use to fix plates of food for wandering souls that were homeless. We had a shed with a cot and an oil stove in it. Sometimes homeless people would stay in it. Some would help us by working for some money. I was a kid. I would sneak lunch meat from our refrigerator. Make sandwiches and bring them to people that were called bums.

I shot a bird fifty years ago and a bum bit it's head off, cooked the bird and ate it. God Bless


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

stars, thanks for your comments. The stories about feeding the homeless from your childhood are quite touching, and it sounds like your family was very kind and considerate to others less fortunate. Your story about the bird is moving as well, and shows what folks without food or shelter may do to survive.

Thanks again for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.

Mike


poetlorraine 6 years ago

i have read this before, but i declined to comment,why i am not sure..... it is a sad fact of life, hope we can do something about it, one day


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

poetlorraine, thanks for coming back and leaving a comment. I think I understand your feelings in a way--what is there to say? How can we help? These are complex issues charged with feelings and no easy solutions. But thank you very much for returning--I appreciate it.

Mike


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 6 years ago from Maui and Arizona

Thank you for your well-organized article on this huge social issue.

Many years ago, I had really wanted to get a non-profit going on Oahu modeled after the successful Delancey Street project in San Francisco. They have tested out the no alcohol, no drugs rules and have found ways for it to work. I'm not sure about now, but ten years ago a person or organization who wanted to try to model Delancey Street could go there for a week and blend in, plus attend some training. It is a first class restaurant where men and women who have earned the right to get out of prison on probation and who have applied to the program, showing they really want to make changes in their lives, can live and work in the Delancey Street project, working their way up and learning several trades while doing so.

Delancey Street only deals with a couple of aspects of the whole homelessness issue, but it was and is good to know there have been successful ventures and solutions to parts of the problem.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Pamela, thanks for your comments and insights. The problem is indeed a complex one, and it's nice to see when someone describes ways they have tried to help.

You are correct to point out that the situation can be helped by addressing part of the problem--it isn't an "all-or-nothing" situation. It is especially important to have a structure in place to help the people who truly want it. Folks that really want to make changes should be supported in doing so.

Thanks so much for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.

Mike


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

The worst about being poor and/or homeless is the loss of dignity. I've been there.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Micky, you are correct and I wish there were more services in place to help folks that wish to get off the streets. Some have learned to survive there, of course, but many others would gladly be anywhere else.

Thanks for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.

Mike


Nat Amaral profile image

Nat Amaral 5 years ago from BC Canada

Very well written. My heart does go out to those who live on the streets. I have even managed to help those find homes. My heart just bleeds for them because there is always something better for everyone out there--whether they are ex-cons trying to clean themselves up or just someone trying to make a change. God bless you in writing this. This was something that needed to be shared.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Nat, thank you for reading and offering your insights into this issue. The folks who live on the streets need our support, and hopefully solutions exist. Hope for the future rests with the kindness of people like you--people who give of themselves to help others. Thanks again for reading--I appreciate your stopping by. Take care.

Mike


RATM 5 years ago

This offends me to no end... Just cause their living in a teepee doesn't make them sad or stupid or "impoverished"! This is the exact thing we've been doing to the natives and woodsmen since we stomped our feet on this land. We've bastardized and humiliated this form of living and it looks like we will never come to our senses. We've replaced them with desperate ex-cons and those who continue to defy us are handed drugs and alcohol(just like what's happened to the natives)! Look what's happened to us! What you read above you is propaganda and nothing but propaganda, a terrible and stupid form of indoctrination written by a monkey's hand. Learn about life before you start making comments on it because all this is NO comment.

And this is how its going to be, join the system or be laughed at and beaten with sticks.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

RATM, I thank you for your comments but wonder what you read that caused you to react as you did. It was never my intention to mock or humiliate the homeless--in fact, my article was intended to show support and sympathy toward their circumstances. Homeless people are hardly stupid--their ability to survive under harsh circumstances suggests exactly the opposite. Living in a teepee doesn't make a homeless person sad or stupid, but it is sad when they find themselves in physical danger as a result of the circumstances in which they live.

I'm not sure what you are suggesting when you claim we have "replaced" the homeless with "ex-cons and those who continue to defy us", and I'm also unsure what you think that means.

As far as my writing being propaganda, well--I had no motive whatsoever in writing this except to show support for homeless people and express the hopes that solutions can be found to help them. There was no indoctrination intended by this "monkey's hand"--and nothing I wrote would suggest that I am laughing or attempting to undermine anyone.

I do thank you for taking the time to comment.

Mike


smcopywrite profile image

smcopywrite 5 years ago from all over the web

affordable housing is one of those pesky federal programs that many people want to go away. our current economics have made affordable housing more necessary than ever before. thank you for putting this together so nicely. great hub on an issue that we really need to find answers for.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

smcopywrite, thanks for reading. You are correct, the current economic climate makes it more important than ever to find answers. The homeless should have a chance to share the so-called American Dream, but they might need a little help to get there. That shouldn't be too much to ask. Thanks again.

Mike


Paul Garrett 4 years ago

Ronald Regan "deinstitutionalized" the chronically mentally ill with unfunded mandates for community based care and shelter. This country was pleased to have it be so. Is there anything that makes you think we're about to once again take up the obliga...er, burden of caring for our neighbo...er, these burdensome people some 30 years later?


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 4 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Paul, I have no illusions about the difficulties in finding solutions for the problem of homelessness. It is easier to ignore their plight, or to push the burden onto other people or programs. There may be nothing to encourage me that solutions are forthcoming, but that makes it all the more important to call attention to the problem. It is a tragedy that should not be ignored. I can hope that we as a society will do the right thing, even if I am skeptical. I do not believe in institutions and programs, but I still believe in people and hope that someday, somehow--we will do the right thing as a society and individuals.

Thank you for making your voice heard and commenting here.

Mike

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