For 20 years, communities throughout the country have been managing the homeless problem rather than seeking to address the root causes. The Federal Government has spent billions of dollars on homeless programs since the McKinney act of 1987. Despite this investment, there continues to be millions of people who experience homelessness nationally. Recently, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness has spearheaded a national effort to both prevent and end homelessness. But they feel that it is only through local community efforts that this type of plan will work. We want to initiate such a plan here in Central Florida.
It is actually a lot less expensive to prevent and end homelessness than to keep supporting it. We must implement prevention strategies that reduce the number of people who become homeless and increase supportive services and expedite placement into housing. The cost to provide one year of housing & supportive services to one homeless individual is approximately $9,000 a year. The cost to provide a family of four with a $300 monthly subsidy is $3,600. Waiting for at risk populations to fall into homelessness only creates more homeless specific programs, increases costs and deepens the human tragedy. The average person has only one picture of what homelessness is - but in reality, homeless people are men, women, children & families. Homelessness crosses all lines - and affects everyone.
Homeless people are not a monolith; in fact, a "one size fits all" solution does not exist. Homelessness is a societal problem that requires a partnership between private charities, government & active public support. Homelessness is a national problem with local solutions. We feel we should do everything we can to help those living in conditions unworthy of their human dignity. Together we can end this National disgrace.