Want to make our world a better place? Think hard about treating our neighbors without homes like living, breathing, human beings. You either treat them humanely, or you don’t.
Don’t say this isn’t your responsibility, or the problem is too complicated to fix. Bureaucracies create the intricacies perpetuating the “too complicated to fix” message. That’s the bureaucratic way. Someone else is responsible; that’s not in our mission statement; another department handles that; the solution takes far too much time and money to research, much less solve.
Sorry. You fix homelessness with shelter, even if that shelter is temporary. Not the perfect solution, but it will provide some comfort, and folks won’t be suffering.
There is plenty of research concerning everything one would ever want to know about homelessness but will never ask. Here are two statistics from the 2018 Southern Nevada Point-in-Time Homeless Census and Survey: an estimated 3,884 people go unsheltered in the area on any given night. The survey states 2,199 were sheltered. Why can’t we offer shelter instead of streets for nearly 4,000 flesh and blood, feeling individuals?
Is it a matter of caring, feeling this is an important issue to solve and putting our money where our mouth is? Do communities have no heart? Saying the homeless shouldn’t be near us makes no sense. When folks have shelter, even a temporary home, they are not in the street, nor are they homeless.
Give folks shelter and services could be brought to them, instead of pretending these folks are going to contact the “We Help You Company” via computer or cell phone or drive to the main location of some office building. Shelter folks. Go to them. Provide them with what all people need.
There are teams of caring individuals who go to those without homes and work hard to develop relationships with them. These folks are part of a real solution, but there are far too few of them to make a dent in the current situation.
Like the song says, “You gotta have heart, all you really need is heart.” What have you got? Stay tuned.