Every year as many as 3.5 million are homeless across the United States. The city with one of the highest rates of homelessness is Los Angeles. Homelessness is chronic here, with an increase by 55%, registered since 2013 (Sanburn par. 5). Homeless people face a severe social stigma, as scholars have found. In other words, the homeless are in a situation, “when large segments of the general public agree with the negative stereotypes” about them (Phillips 2). Apart from facing a public stigma, the homeless suffer from low quality of life. To make matters worse, homelessness is associated with many other problems including substance abuse, disability, domestic violence, and unemployment (Hess par. 8). Since the homeless in Los Angeles live in the city, the problem should be solved by the city council.
Possible decision alternatives range from preventative to hands-on measures. Firstly, the city council may focus on prevention. According to Hess, “It is not enough to simply take homeless people off the streets and hide them. The real solution is to address the reasons why they become homeless in the first place” (Hess par. 9). A simple way to do this is to provide the homeless with a minimal income/wage that will help them meet their basic needs. Secondly, the city council may run a Housing First program, where the homeless will be given homes. Thirdly, the city council can address the problems that lead to homelessness including illicit drug use and mental illnesses, by providing treatments to these segments of the homeless population. Fourthly, research should be done into how the homeless would like to have their problems solved and relevant measures should be taken then. Fifthly, the city council could make efforts to reduce the social distance between the homeless and the community, in order to make the community more supportive.
When opting for a good decision, the decision maker should keep in mind the goals that need to be achieved. The goals are as follows: preventing homelessness, managing homelessness, and helping people return to normal life.
- Hess, Robert. “Helping People Off the Streets: Real Solutions to Urban Homelessness.” USA Today Magazine, vol. 128, no. 2656.
- Phillips, Lindsay. “Homelessness: Perception of Causes and Solutions.” Journal of Poverty, vol. 19, 2015, pp. 1-19.
- Sanburn, Josh. “The Radically Simple Solution to Homelessness.” Time, vol. 187, no.9, 2016, pp. 19-20.