Essay on The Homeless Crisis

The homeless crisis in today’s America is a serious issue that may seem to have no solution. Walking in a downtown area is like an obstacle course, avoiding stepping on used needles or and stepping over a homeless man bundled up on the sidewalk. It feels like every day it gets worse and worse. According to, The Daily Signal, as of late 2019, there are 14,000 homeless people living in Portland. Creating a productive foster care system that better prepares the children for a bright future, creating more affordable housing, and better access for the homeless to work are a few ways to help end the homeless crisis. 

According to Foster Focus, “Nationally, 50% of the homeless population spent time in foster care”(Shalita O’Neale). Foster care seems to be the problem for most homeless because a large portion of them begin their life there. A way to solve this issue is to strengthen family origin. A lot of times, siblings get separated in the foster care system and they have no loved one with them. Having a strong bond with a sibling or caretaker is proven to be an effective solution and better prepares these children for the real world, Trish Bent from Howard University claims. However, Foster care and adoption have been funded at significantly higher rates. The training for the workers at the foster homes is also an issue. “A good portion [of the workforce] on the front line across the country doesn’t have professional training,” says Carol Spigner of the University of Pennsylvania. edx A foster care in Salem, Oregon, was accused of neglecting children and abuse. "I wouldn't have experienced the trauma I have today if I wasn't in foster care," one child from the Salem foster home says. If the workers are not prepared to care for these children and make the right decisions, how should we expect the kids in the foster system to be prepared once they leave the system. There needs to be more supervision and training for these workers so they are more capable of caring and providing for the children.

The reason why people are living on the streets is because they do not have a reliable source of income. The big question is, “how do we put them to work.” In 2018, San Diego began a new work program called Wheels For Change. The homeless are picked up in vans  and driven to the streets of San Diego where they clean up trash. This teaches the homeless hard work and the importance of earning a paycheck. Each worker is paid $11.50 an hour. Edwin Fisk, a worker for the program who had been homeless for 6 months says, “It’s better than sitting in a tent all day. It gives us something to do, you know? And you make money. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” If enough people have the mindset like Fisk, the amount of homeless on the streets would be reduced. Similar programs are starting to pop up in other cities as well. Austin, Chicago, Denver, Lexington, Portland and Seattle are all starting these new programs. Hopefully even more cities will learn about these programs, because they make a difference in putting the homeless to work.

The cost of housing is a well known problem and is a large reason why there are so many homeless people on the streets. The average cost of a house in Portland is $485,00. That is almost double the U.S. average. Kurt Creager, the Vice President of BRIDGE Housing in Portland thinks that he has the solution to helping the affordable housing issue. BRIDGE Housing has partnered up with the government to use unused public land and public finance to produce permanently affordable housing. He believes that the abandoned land in the city should be put to use. He also thinks that the local and state governments should waste no time to fund his plan. As of 2016, Bridge Housing has purchased many abandoned buildings, and planned to build 61 units of family housing. Creager wants other cities around the nation to support his plan as well, and get the homeless off the streets and into homes.

The homeless crisis is one of the many large problems in America today, and may seem like an unsolvable problem. However, there are ways to reduce the issue. Creating better foster care systems and funding work programs are just a few of the many steps we need to take to help this crisis. 


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