Blue Core

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” - the Buddha. Over 2% of the world’s population is homeless, living without a roof over their heads. In 2015, the estimated amount of homeless people was 150 million. That’s more than 5 times the population of Australia! Most people that walk by homeless people, ignore them because they think they are criminals, drug addicts, or alcoholics, but that’s not the case for most people. Homeless people end up on the streets due to unemployment, rejection due to being LGBTQ+, personal or family crisis, mental health, not affordable housing, or abuse. All homeless people should be granted the opportunity of housing because it provides and stabilizes their ability to help themselves and it creates a better life for the homeless and for the society around them. Some people might argue against this because some people think that giving the homeless doesn’t solve anything and creates more problems. However, this claim is incorrect and homeless people should be given the opportunity of housing.

Giving homeless housing provides and stabilizes their ability to help themselves. Savannah Barker says, “Studies have found that, on average, people struggling with homelessness use the emergency room five times a year. Each visit costs around $3,700. When given housing, health care costs drop dramatically.” This shows that when homeless people try to help themselves, it’s not helping them financially because they don’t have houses; the price of going to the hospital or the ER is much higher because of it and they can’t afford it. When you are in custody of a house, health care costs are reduced by 59%, emergency room costs are decreased by 61%, and general inpatient hospitalizations are cut back by 77%. Giving homeless housing lowers medical costs dramatically. Most people that are homeless and live on the streets are suffering from an addiction or mental illness. People are unable to help themselves get better because they can’t afford the treatment. Being homeless makes their medical bills much higher and they can’t help themselves get back on their feet and going steadily back into their lives. Experts, like Dr. Sam Tsemberis, a clinical psychologist who founded Pathways to Housing in New York City in 1992, says, "I began to walk past people that I recognized, people I had treated when I was working on the inpatient service at the hospital. They had gotten discharged and were on the street, sometimes literally in the pajamas that they had been discharged with from the hospital. It was quite disturbing. Many of them told me over and over again, 'I need a place to stay, a simple, decent, affordable place of my own like I had before I became homeless.” Dr. Tsemberis had said that he had treated some of these people in the hospital, and now because of that medical bill, it might have been the reason why they are now forced to living on the streets. People should give the homeless housing because it allows them to help themselves. 

Housing the homeless creates a better life for the homeless and the society around them. Jim Reid, a candidate in the 1999 San Francisco election for mayor, “Homelessness is bad for our tourist industry, business in general, and the quality of life of our citizens who live and sleep on the street and those of us who do not. Our Political leaders have failed to diligently work to develop solutions to this growing problem and there is no excuse for this. Arresting the homeless is not a solution.” This man was recognizing that homeless people living on the streets is bad for the city, the people around them, and the aspect of the life of the people living on the streets. By housing them, it improves the city, society and the lives of the homeless. In 2018, the estimated count of the number of people in San Francisco was 6,857. “It’s not a matter of whether we know how to fix the problem. Homelessness is not a disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s where we don’t yet have a cure. We have the cure for homelessness—it’s housing. What we lack is political will,” says Dr. Sam Tsemberis. Homelessness is becoming an epidemic, a virus, but it isn’t incurable. The cure to homelessness is housing, it’s simple, but most people aren’t looking at the ability to cure it, they’re waiting for other people to do it. If no one does something, the problem won’t be solved. Homeless people should be given housing because it improves their lives and the community around them.

However, people can argue that homeless people should not be given housing. This is because they think that giving homeless housing isn’t helping them fix the problems that made them homeless in the first place. Kevin C. Corinth, a professor at the University of Chicago, and homelessness expert says, “In new research, however, I find no evidence that permanent housing for the homeless has reduced the number of homeless people. Communities that increased housing saw small immediate reductions in their homeless populations, but these reductions were wiped out after one year.” This evidence states that even though given the homeless people the right to housing, doesn’t mean that all their problems will be fixed. Even when they are given the opportunity to help, they might decline or go back to what caused them homelessness, like a drinking problem or an addiction. This might cause the government to lose money because some people might just keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Homeless activist Savannah Barker says, “Giving people homes doesn't solve the larger problems that lead to homelessness, like rising housing costs and underfunded support systems. Housing First may not be the ‘common sense solution’ many had hoped.” This quote shows that even with housing, homeless people still might have the problems that lead them to homelessness in the first place, like addiction, or mental illness. Also, giving the homeless free housing in places like San Francisco or New York is harder because there is a housing shorting. Organizations, like Housing First, is helpful when it comes to long term homelessness, but is not the solution for most homeless people because there isn’t enough free housing allowing the excessive amount of homeless people in the U.S. However, all human beings should be able to live with a roof over their heads. Some homeless people have an addiction problem and can’t help themselves because they can’t afford to have therapy, and results in them losing their shelters, and forcing themselves to a life on the streets. All people should have the right to housing, just as all people should be given the right to education and free speech. 

All homeless people should be granted the opportunity of housing. This is because it provides and stabilizes their ability to help themselves and it creates a better life for the homeless and for the society around them. So many people in the world are living on the streets every night, not having a warm place to go to sleep at night. All people should be allowed housing because all human beings are worthy of all the same rights, housing being one of them.