Homelessness

Homelessness has exploded in 2020 and there’s no end in sight. 

There is a homeless crisis in New York City that Mayor Bill de Blasio has failed to address and remedy. As a matter a fact, the homeless population has exploded under his administration.

The homeless are left uncared for and make up a large percent of our mentally ill population. This does not only put them at risk, but it also puts our communities at risk.

Currently, the homeless are free to roam the streets with little-to-no help or supervision, and they’ve been allowed to accost members of the general population at will. This is dangerous and unsustainable.

Homelessness has exploded in 2020, and there is no end in sight. The United States is the only western country where the homeless members of the population are left to fend for themselves.

I regard this as a grotesque human-rights violation. We must look after the most vulnerable in our society. The measure of our success as a society is based on our ability to protect the most vulnerable.

Where is the money going, and who is accountable?

Throwing money at everything will not work, especially when the results have been disastrous. The New York local government has spent $3.2 billion on the homeless crisis from fiscal year 2014 to 2019, according to a report released by Comptroller Scott Stringer. And yet, the homeless crisis has only gotten worse. We have to ask ourselves, “how are these funds being spent?”

Solutions

Step 1- Oversight. To ensure the integrity of government-funded programs, it’s imperative that we have oversight and accountability by every agency and homeless organization funded by our local and federal government. We need every red cent accounted for.

This means that every agency and non-profit homeless-care organization has to maintain thorough bookkeeping records and disclose their expenditures publicly, on a monthly basis. Homeless-service agencies and organizations will be placed on a permanent spending watch list to ensure integrity.

Step 2- Every agency and homeless-care organization has to present monthly KPIs (key performance indicators) with a clear and precise goal, showing quantifiable results.

These agencies and organizations must present full disclosure of raw numbers, progress, change and achievement in their efforts to eradicate homelessness in our communities.

They have to maintain a reasonable budget and present a strategic operating plan. We need to have a thorough understanding of their list of projects, programs and services.

Step 3- Defund. It is necessary to defund all agencies and homeless care organizations showing a lack of progress in their ability to successfully aid the homeless population. The aim is to only spend money on high-performing agencies that have proven to have optimal success in their efforts to eradicate homelessness.

Step 4- Enlist the proper specialist. This entails staffing mental-health and drug-treatment experts to ensure that we give the homeless population the best shot at getting back on their feet.

Step 5- End the aimless Shelter Industrial Complex. Its only objective seems to be sucking money out of the system to no end, with little-to-no results. Deplorable conditions in New York City’s shelters have kept the homeless on the streets.

This is unacceptable. The spending budget for the homeless in New York City has more than doubled to $3.2 billion from fiscal year 2014 to 2019. We need government-mandated, dignified, temporary housing for the homeless that will keep them off the streets.

We have got to get back to a time when there were clean and safe facilities to house and rehabilitate the homeless population. Living on the streets is not an option and will inevitably cause the vulnerable members our homeless population to deteriorate.

Step 6- Permanent supportive housing. Shelters should only be used as a temporary measure while we help the homeless population get the help they deserve and get them back on their feet. The primary objective will be permanent, supportive housing paired with short-term to long-term supportive services.

Individuals and families with chronic illnesses, disabilities, mental-health issues or substance-abuse disorders who have experienced long-term or repeated homelessness are amongst our primary targets.

Research shows that these individuals are the first ones to fall behind, are high-risk members of our communities and make up a large portion of the homeless population.

Step 7- Supportive Housing. Under no circumstances are we to place a member of the homeless population in some supportive home with another member of the homeless population.

For example, some members of the homeless population are suffering from schizophrenia, and they are now being housed with individuals who are suffering from drug use.

This is very dangerous because you are now introducing a vulnerable schizophrenic to a drug user; the likelihood that drug use will now become a problem in that supportive home is very high. We have to keep each homeless individual in their own space.

Step 8- Wellness Check. Every homeless patient in a supportive home has to receive daily wellness checks by case managers to ensure that are being given all the right care and resources, and that they are on the right path to recovery. This means instilling in-home care services. This is crucial for the those who are chronically ill.

Step 9- Wellness-Check Workers. Wellness-check workers should be fully equipped and may not take on more than 10 clients/patients.

Dealing with individuals who are severely mentally ill (SMI) is an overwhelming job, and it is imperative that our wellness-check workers are supported as well, with proper resources.

Step 10- Rapid Re-housing: The objective is to provide short-term rental assistance and services. The goals are to help the homeless obtain housing quickly, increase self-sufficiency, stay housed and restore their dignity.

Under my administration, I will make sure that agencies can present a monthly result of how many individuals they’ve gotten off the streets during the last 30 days.

How many of these individuals are in drug- and alcohol- addiction rehabilitation programs. How many are being counseled and are now in a permanent home. And which individuals are ready to be placed in part-time or full-time work.

How much money should realistically be spent on each individual? I believe we have to do a cost-benefit analysis and look at solutions which can present results without breaking the bank.