Opinion: Homelessness in the U.S needs better solutions

The government isn’t taking the correct actions to prevent homelessness nationwide

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Kaitlyn Burke, JagWire reporter/photographer

The United States Government is not taking the correct actions to prevent homelessness throughout the country. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, being homeless is defined as having no home or permanent place of residence. As of January 2019, in the U.S., according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, you could fill five football stadiums with the homeless population in the U.S. To put this in perspective, the average football stadium holds roughly 69,444 people. That is an astonishing amount of people combating homelessness every day.

 Our government rarely chooses to acknowledge this prevalent issue and has so far failed to establish an effective solution. While the government has taken action in certain states, they have been proven to be more harmful than beneficial to the homeless population. Seen from an outside view, homeless shelters are portrayed as a safe place to get help, but according to an article in The Atlantic, homeless people often fear going to shelters because of their reputation for theft, uncleanliness and hostile environments. 

Another ineffective solution often seen is anti-homeless architecture. This architecture is typically found in populous cities with abundant homeless populations such as Portland, New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Examples of anti-homeless architecture include benches with armrests, street dividers, boulders under bridges, and fenced grates. This is not an effective way to prevent homelessness but rather forces homeless people to take refuge elsewhere. As written in Interesting Engineering, anti-homeless architecture is hostile architecture put in place to prevent the homeless from sleeping and residing on streets, benches and sidewalks. The money spent on anti-homeless architecture should be reallocated to more beneficial solutions. Locally, teens can help out the Kansas City homeless community by donating and attending events that support more beneficial solutions to homelessness. 

Due to a lack of funds and support from the government, the youth homeless population has increased, and unfortunately, has been harder to record over recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing discrepancy among schools and their ability to keep track of the number of students. According to KMBC 9 News, here in Kansas City, non-profit groups are taking action to prevent youth-homelessness in an attempt to limit the amount of homeless youths in their areas. Youth 4 Change is one of the local, non-profit groups that are aiming to help homeless youth get off the streets, and providing them with the education and tools they need to better their future. More transitional housing for youth in the area includes ReStart, Hillcrest, Pride Haven and Avenue of Life Youth House. Within the Kansas City community, youth are taking action to prevent homeless teens from continuing the cycle. Events are often held in KCMO and the easiest way to take action is to donate or find local events at Youth 4 Change’s fundraising website. Homelessness is an ongoing vicious cycle that in order to improve, requires attention and effort from the government and its citizens.

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