Letters to the Editor: Ending homelessness will take decades, not years.
Jan 28, 2010 at 12:00 PM
In the last few days, I’ve received quite a few letters to the editor complaining that ending homelessness will take decades, not years. I have a few responses to these complaints, but first I would like to address the misconceptions. First, the argument about the time frame is incorrect. Homelessness in this country is a national problem that is growing worse.
The number of persons experiencing homelessness has increased from 4.1 million in 1993 to 8.8 million in 2007. The number of families experiencing homelessness has increased from 3.8 million in 1993 to 5.3 million in 2007. The number of homeless veterans has increased from 5,000 in 1993 to 9,600 in 2007. The number of homeless persons per hundred thousand in California has increased from 18.2 in 1993 to 19.0 in 2007. The number of homeless persons per thousand in the United States has increased from 3.5 in 1993 to 3.9 in 2007.
The number of homeless persons in this country has increased over the last 25 years. The number of homeless persons in the U.S. per year has increased from 3.5 in 1993 to 3.9 in 2007.
That’s an increase of only four percent.
It is a matter of opinion whether or not people should stay in their homes. The general public does not care about the time frame for ending homelessness. The number of homeless persons in the community is what matters. Homelessness is a national problem and, given the growth in homeless persons, the time frame is irrelevant. It’s also true that the process of creating a new policy is long and drawn out, but that takes time, not months.
The issue is whether homelessness can be ended in the next five years (or 10 years, or 25 years) or whether the homeless problem will take decades to resolve. The number of homeless persons is increasing, and so is the need for increased services and more money for homeless services