Homelessness in the United States
|December 31, 2003||Posted by Staff under The Progress Report|
Is This Plan Best?
“Bring America Home”
Here is a guest article suggesting a government-based approach to the problem of homelessness. Will Americans prefer this expensive, superficial solution to the problem, or might some of us choose an approach that removes the artificial distortions in our economy that are responsible for the dramatic inflation of residential land prices?
by Richard Troxell
House the Homeless, Inc. of Austin, Texas.
In the United States, 3.5 million people- almost 40% of them children- experience homelessness each year. Many of these individuals work, but due to high rents, tight rental markets, and low paying jobs, they have found themselves living on the streets, in cars, in shelters, in abandoned buildings, in motels, or in overcrowded, temporary accommodations with others.
The current economic downturn puts millions of Americans one paycheck, one illness, or one rent hike away from homelessness. Today, a worker making minimum wage cannot afford housing at fair market rent anywhere in the United states, Today, over a million children are without housing. Today, access to health care is out of reach for many. Today, approximately 40% of men who are homeless have served in the armed forces.
People experiencing homelessness are working mothers and fathers, older adults who are unable to make ends meet with their social security benefits, children trying to succeed despite their circumstances, teenagers escaping dangerous situations, and veterans who fought for this country.
As the economy worsens, layoffs loom, and state deficits increase, the federal government is diverting funding away from social service programs. As a result, the homeless population continues to grow and taxpayers pick up the tab in communities like Austin where we are forced to pay for additional services.
Therefore, we strongly urge support of the “Bringing America Home Act.” This Act is about to be introduced in Congress by Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Julia Carson (D-IN). When passed, the legislation will provide affordable housing, job training, civil rights protections, vouchers for child care and public transportation, emergency funds for families facing eviction, increased access to health care, and Congressional support for living incomes. The Bringing America Home Act also provides the critically needed resources to make local and state efforts to end homelessness a reality.
This legislation is crucial in assisting people who are homeless or are facing homelessness. For many families and individuals, it will end the disgrace of the worst form of poverty in the richest nation in the world.
It’s time for Americans to take a stand to help the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. It’s time to Bring America Home.
For more information on the Bringing America Home Act, please call (202) 737-6444 ext. 14 or visit BringingAmericaHome.org.
How would this legislation be paid for? What unexpected side effects might this legislation have if passed? Does the bill address why housing is so expensive in the first place? Would it make more sense to work on the root cause of homelessness? Speak your opinion to The Progress Report!