What is it going to take to end homelessness in the US?
Jean-Michel Giraud, Executive Director of Friendship Place, recently published a great blog post in the Huffington Post that stressed the importance of working together to make positive changes in the world. He realistically states that homelessness is not likely to become extinct, and that the focus should not be to end homelessness, but rather to strengthen the system to shorten the period of homelessness. How? By offering a strong support system that can get people back into housing that they can stay in. Giraud stresses:
This should start at home — right here in Washington, D.C., where more than 220 homeless families were housed in motel rooms at the peak of hypothermia season this past winter. [...]
So the solution is to build strong homeless services networks. One of the things I like about the notion of “building” is that you can do it one brick at a time. This means that, even in hard times, you can lay a brick down — no matter how small — and grow the system at large toward a better day for people on the street. At the risk of overdoing the whole brick metaphor, another thing I like about it is that the bricks don’t all have to look the same and it’s really up to each one of us and each community empowering homeless people to find new and effective ways to solve homelessness, even if we have to split our bricks and rub our pennies together to do so.
Great words that are applicable for any problem. We are all part of the solution. Every little bit helps, whether it’s donating towels and toothbrushes to GMC, attending a Help the Homeless fundraiser, or lobbying against budget cuts to homeless services.