Once you’ve arrived to the Airport in Honolulu and drive East towards the hotels in Wakiki one of the first thing you’ll notice in a sea of homeless people. Hawaii (Population 1.4 million) has one of the highest rates of homelessness of any state in the country. Estimages range from 6500 to 6800 homeless in the state with over 4500 alone on the Island of Oahu.
The challenge for Cities are overwheming. In 2018, the Federal Court ruled, law enforcement cannot cite or arrest a homeless person for sleeping on public property if the city or county doesn’t have enough shelter beds.
People have stong feelings about the homeless and many believe the goverment has responsiblity to provide shelter. In Cailfornia, there is an statewide housing shortage, this isn’t new. The shortage began two decades ago. 39.78 million people currently live in the Golden State. Last year 136,000 people left the state and 22,000 moved to California. More people are leaving California than moving here, continuing a trend that coupled with fewer births has slowed the growth rate in the nation’s most populous state to a record low amid a pandemic that is reshaping its future.
The housing issue is extremly complex, its more than creating housing . Many of the homeless are actively employed,some earning more than one hundred thousand who are priced out of the housing market. The average rent in San Jose is $2500, to qualify the prospective renter, would need an income of $10,000 a month or $120,000 year. In addition, there are many other issues including location, and acclimation. There are hundreds of thousands of homeless people who have been homeless for four years or more.
A low minumiam wage and living wage plays a major role in the Nations Homelessness
Here is a sample of average Monthly Rent for a one bedroom Apartment in some of America’s Cities. From Apartment Guide.com April 2021and the current Minumum Wages in those cities.
Austin,Tx $1318 PM/ MW $7.25 Baton Rouge, La $970 PM/ MW $7.25 Buffalo, NY $1415PM/ MW $12.50 Kansas City, Ms $1435PM/ MW $7.25 Orlando, Fl $1492 PM/MW $7.25 Sacramento, Ca $2035 PM/MW $15.00 Virginia Beach, Va $1412PM/ $7.25MW Wichita,Ks $815PM/ MW $7.25
The issue for many individuals is more than housing. Its psycological.
For some the transition from living outdoors to living indoors is too difficult. After years of living on the street, find indoors too confining. Many states do not offer mental health facilities to assist homeless with the transition. Mental health facilities would be benificial in assisting a section of the homelesss community to e cope with society, learning to interact with the public after years or months of social isolation from of living a life of survival, where you always on defense.
While most people feel strongly about the homeless, they dont want the homeless in their neigherhood. Not In My Back Yard. Issues of the poor often fall on low income communities. The quick solution for many city leaders is placing temporary housing or housing projects in low income areas. Those projects more often than not, have a negative affect on property values and crime in these neighborhoods. Large housing projects for the poor have failed all over the United States. However there has resistence to building affordable market rate housing throughout the city.
The Housing shortage has several pieces. The first is the need for immediate nightly shelter. Then, short term transitional housing, and then long term. The cities could create ordinances that would require 10% of apartment to be permanent market rate.
How do people become homeless?
Top reasons people become homeless:
42.5% Lost job or economic issues
20% drugs or alcohol use
17% divorce or separation
15% an argument with a family member who asked them to leave
10% mental health or physical health issues
What are the largest barriers to obtaining permanent housing?
63% Can’t afford rent
37% Do not have an income
19% Do not have the funds for moving costs
18% Say the housing process is too difficult
15% Cite no available housing
What could prevent homelessness?
When asked what would have prevented their homelessness, respondents reported:
34% employment assistance
31% rental assistance
28% drug or alcohol counseling
19% mental health services
Recently, attention has been focused on the ecological impact of homelessness. Trash, human waste and other refuse from homeless encampments pollute waterways and our public city spaces. Since public restrooms and trash receptacles are limited, and because many businesses prohibit the homeless from accessing restrooms, People Experiencing Homelessness are forced to use whatever location they can find to dispose of their trash and other waste. This phenomenon results in a public health hazard and contributes to additional city costs. StreetTeam.org
The cost to manage the homeless in america is in the millions.