Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ending Homelessness: The Basic Structure

Over the world, there are three general paths to helping the poor:
A. Relief-- This is help with the intent of helping the poor survive, day to day, like soup kitchens or emergency weather shelters. This is essential, but doesn't lead to ending poverty.
B. Opportunities-- This is giving someone a step up but with the responsibility equal upon them, like giving someone a job or an apartment. Not all the poor are ready for opportunities, but for those who are, it is a great boon, life-changing.
C. Development-- This is organizing a community of the poor to create their own solutions, with their own leadership, and then providing the funds for them to accomplish these goals.
This third method is the one that best works among the poor throughout the world. Community development is seen as the most effective way to end poverty. Yet it is the method never used by local governments in the United States among the homeless. Because the local governments aren't aware of homeless communities or leadership. So when tent cities pop up, led and organized by homeless communities, local governments are unpleasantly surprised and want to force their plans upon the homeless who already created their own plans.
Does the United States really want to "end homelessness"? Then stop planning and start asking. Stop telling the homeless what you will do for them and start asking what the homeless can do for themselves with a little help.

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