How to end homelessness — for good

How to end homelessness — for good

During a balmy 60ºF December morning, Rene Zepeda is driving a Volunteers of America minivan through Salt Lake City, Utah, looking for the homeless who may be camping by the railroad tracks or over by the river, sometimes in the foothills. Cold weather is on its way, so the van is packed with sleeping bags, thermal clothing, coats, sock, boots, hats, protein bars, nutrition drinks and canned goods. According to Rene, once the day is finished, everything will be gone. “I want to get them into homes,” he says. “I tell them, ‘I’m working for you. I want to get you out of the homeless situation.’”

Rene works for a program called Housing First. It has decreased the number of homeless by an extraordinary 72% — mainly by providing permanent free housing. Critics bemoan the expense, but once the numbers were thoroughly crunched, it was discovered the program actually costs the state far less than if people were left on the street. Moreover, in a nation where a large proportion of the homeless population are military veterans, adopting such a program is not only a social or financial imperative but a moral one…


Read the whole article by Carolanne Wright in Wake up world.