Things I wish Would Happen to End Homelessness

#fb. These steps would solve the problem. If only I could snap my fingers and make it happen.

  1. Create affordable housing  that a single parent of one child who earns minimum wage can afford to rent. Do this by increasing the amount of housing available – ie: step 2
  2. Convert half of the empty downtown buildings into apartments and affordable housing.
  3. Move major chain grocery stores and locally owned eateries and hardware stores to impoverished neighborhoods so make the neighborhoods more “livable”.
  4.  Re-open and repurpose older factories for jobs to be “re-captured” from outsourcing. ie: if you want to be an American Company – 60% of your product and employees must be based Stateside. Force the companies to return to the states and hire directly from the Unemployment and Welfare pools.
  5. Build mandatory therapy and “tenet education” into Housing First programs.  Having a ceiling and a door that locks is surprisingly stressful to a chronically homeless person and being a tenant is a LEARNED skill, not an instinct.
  6. Create outreach programs to landlords and property managers to reduce their risk in renting to low income formerly homeless people. ala   the Landlord Liaison Project, which guarantees  rent will be paid and damage covered .
  7. Make High School Diplomas mandatory for all students and something that must be earned when moving into the states.
  8. Ensure that students are “Job Ready” by their Junior year of High School. “In general, adults need more than just basic skills to become successful in the labor market. This is especially true if persons wish to find higher quality jobs and better earnings.  Employers today expect employees to have good verbal and social skills. Even low-paying jobs require more than basic reading, writing, and Numeracy is the ability to understand and use numbers, especially the numbers encountered in everyday life. skills. Many jobs require a certain level of skill, for example: Reading and writing paragraphs, Dealing with customers, Solving math problems Using computers (Holzer, as cited in Martinson & Strawn, 2003).
  9. Put Vocational Training back into the High School Curriculum – seriously, the number of your tax dollars that are going to give basic vocational training to Welfare Recipients is staggering – especially since they could have been served in High School but dropped because they knew they did not want to be on “a College Tract”
  10. Remove the stigma from being homeless and place the issue on the Social Menu. Most Americans see assisting the homeless as a once a year trip to their local Skid Row to serve a holiday meal.

Other ideas:

  • Private and public companies can have “Job Shadow” programs that last 2 weeks to 2 months to give the unemployed a chance to experience employment and freshen their work skills – to learn Peachtree Accounting, Quickbook, Microsoft Office etc so that the skills can be legitimately placed on a resume. At the same time, the “Worker’s ” self-image will change and they will be able to interact with other adults
  • Make it mandatory for parents receiving public assistance to volunteer at least one hour a week at their child’s school. When a parent doesn’t work and is low-income , the child is more likely to fail in school. Keep all three parts of the equation working together (Parent – Teacher – Student)
  • Stop thinking of non-custodial fathers as Sperm Donors to Dollar Donors. Involve the fathers. Our citizens deserve as much parenting and as many involved adults as we can give them.
  • We don’t need a Guest worker program. We have thousands of parents on Welfare in the same regions we hire migrant workers. No, picking crops is not fun – but it is honest work with pay! In the Great Depression fathers went to work and had to stay away from their families and sent the money home; we can do it again. Or, since we offer subsidized child care: mothers have time in the day to do the work of migrant workers and other jobs that are commonly referred to as positions that American’s refuse to fill. If we worked with the farmers and everywhere that illegal immigrants typically work and offer them access to our people in need of work – we could reduce poverty and homelessness.

3 thoughts on “Things I wish Would Happen to End Homelessness

  1. You’re suggesting that CalWORKS recipients should be uprooted and moved to an area where they can pick crops? Or were you planning on busing them daily? The associated costs (housing [tenement camps?], long-term 24hr child care [since the parents would effectively be gone], administration [which private farms is going to do this sort of partnership? Is it going to resemble SEP, which is out of funding?] , insurance claims for work injuries, etc) would be staggering, and the long term gain is negligible at best as it isn’t an upward position with any capacity for training. The last point is probably the most salient and likely the most reasonable. Anyway, nice blog. I work at an agency in Orange County.

  2. we pay for work insuramnce for the Transitional Employment programs (TSE) (PWEX) as it – and we pay milage and bus fare to jobs. I am not saying to move people from Irvine to the central Valley – but Welfare Recipients in Irvine could travel to the Strawberry farms etc actually in the area.

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