There’s no denying that homelessness affects us all.
From paying for hospitals, jails, city services – the bill is high while only providing temporary and expensive solutions. There should be more funding for Housing First programs, communities that offer a safe space for chronically homeless individuals to get back on their feet. It has been scientifically tested and proven that it works.
It is not uncommon for programs to require individuals to get a job or attend rehab first, but how will that be possible when the individual can’t get a good night’s sleep? Doesn’t have a safe place to store their belongings? Yes, there are shelters, but these locations shove as many people as they can into a building – making the chance to catch an illness like the flu very quickly.
In June 2013, the Fresno Housing Authority was able to house 135 individuals from downtown encampment areas with a Housing First grant – with case management services in tow, these individuals are finally working toward self-sufficiency.
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With more funding towards programs like these, it would greatly benefit our community by reducing crime and costly services, to name a few benefits. While we can’t eliminate homelessness, we can help reduce the numbers.
Laura Choi, Fresno