Solving Homelessness With $500,000


Homelessness is in no way an easy issue to solve, but there are ways that at the very least those suffering can be helped.  With only five hundred thousand dollars a year, there is no way the homeless problem worldwide, let alone nationwide, could be fixed with ease.  This post will focus on the homeless problem in Des Moines, Iowa.  With the budget given, the plan is mainly program-centered when talking about short-term solutions. As that progresses, the plan will move more into creating shelters for marginalized groups, including family shelters, women shelters, and LQBTQIA+ shelters, etc.  Some medium-term solutions that would not involve building whole shelters include lobbying to attempt to raise the minimum wage while lowering the cost of living.

Short Term Solutions

For the short-term solution of programming, the focus will be on helping the homeless with their most common issues.  This would include drug addiction prevention, healthcare, mental health services, and job programs.  These are all common issues the homeless population deals with and things that keep them homeless.  One of the main issues with the homeless problem in Des Moines is that there’s no actual help being given instead they are just being put into permanent homes which is a somewhat short-term solution to a long-term problem.  

Permanent housing sounds like a long-term and logical solution, but many more factors need to be considered.  The outcome of the program-centered approach will allow for more homeless people to get actual assistance as opposed to just being put into a form of housing that doesn’t get them anywhere substantial.  These programs will give opportunities for the homeless to get off the streets permanently.  To achieve this goal, there will be a heavy focus on hiring the right people for the programs as well as for shelters.

Possible Issues and How They Will Be Resolved

  One of the main issues with any programming or staffing in shelters is that the staff seems as if they hardly care about the people they are meant to help.  Another issue with how homelessness is dealt with is that many of those homeless people feel a sense of dignity or resilience for living on the streets (Talbert, Record 2022, 16).  We will measure the success of our programs by keeping track of exactly who is in the programs and working with companies to find them jobs with livable wages.  With these companies, we would ask for employment records for those in our programs and check in every 3 months.  This will respond to the issue of homelessness because the main issue is that these people are just put into housing or homeless shelters and end up miserable while achieving nothing. 


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