Is There an Answer?
Permanent solutions to homelessness must address its fundamental cause: the inability to pay for housing. Permanent solutions
to homelessness must address both the shortage of affordable housing and the inadequacy of income to meet basic needs. Permanent
solutions must also address the additional need for treatment for people suffering from disabilities.
* Ensure Affordable Housing. Provide subsidies to make existing housing affordable; create additional
affordable housing through rehabilitation and, where needed, new construction.
* Ensure Adequate Income. Ensure
that working men and women earn enough to meet basic needs, including housing; ensure that those able to work have access
to jobs and job training; ensure that those not able to work are provided assistance adequate to meet basic needs, including
* Ensure Social Services. Ensure access to social services, including health care, child care, mental
health care and substance abuse treatment.
* Prohibit Discrimination. Prohibit laws that discriminate against
homeless people, including laws that specifically target them or activities they must engage in because they are homeless.
Permanent solutions must also prevent people from becoming homeless. New policies that address the underlying structural
causes of homelessness -- by addressing housing, income and treatment problems -- must coincide with specific prevention policies
to stem the rising tide of homelessness. Increasingly, homelessness affects not only the very poor, but also working and middle
class Americans. Middle class families are increasingly unable to afford to buy, or even rent, their own homes. Middle class
workers are now facing rising unemployment, coupled with declining assistance from "safety net" programs. Permanent
solutions to homelessness reintegrate homeless people into society and foster self-empowerment. Policies that produce affordable
housing by employing homeless people are among the necessary policies that strengthen the economy while also helping to end
homelessness. Despite recent media reports to the contrary, polls consistently reveal that the majority of the American public
supports aid to the homeless. According to the polls, the majority of the public understands the underlying causes of homelessness,
and 81% would pay additional taxes to fund increased aid.