Navigating Homelessness in New Hampshire and Beyond
Homelessness in New Hampshire
For my research paper, I have chosen the topic of homelessness. More specifically, the homeless problem in the state of New Hampshire and the issues that are currently unresolved regarding the matter. I’ve always found it alarming that although we live in one of the richest countries in the world, homelessness and poverty continue to be a very legitimate issues. I am aiming to get a comprehensive picture of what is being offered to the homeless in our area and country at this time. Prior to learning more about how our state and country are dealing with this issue, I have always been sure there are things that we could be doing differently. I aim to identify some areas of improvement on this topic by gathering as much information as possible.
Discrepancies in Addressing the Issue
Through doing a small amount of research thus far, I stumbled upon an interesting fact. In the early to late 2000s, there were several calls to arms to end homelessness on a state and national level. Despite the fact that these calls to arms were made and presumably some sort of an action plan was put into place, the number of homeless has increased. (Kenny). It seems as though an important factor that will need to be touched upon is money. After all, money is at the root of what this issue and its lack of an easy solution comes down to.
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Someone who is developing a housing complex would generally prefer to turn them into apartments for rent-paying customers rather than voluntarily turning them into shelters for the homeless. What it may come down to is that people who have the capital to do such things are generally unwilling to volunteer their money and resources for such a cause. Perhaps we may need to be allocating more tax dollars to this effort.
Likely, there would be many taxpayers upset by this concept, but it is certainly an idea. I did, however, come upon some interesting info, “Cost studies have demonstrated that it is more expensive to keep people on the streets, incurring the high costs of crisis intervention, emergency room health care, and revolving-door intervention programs than it is to provide permanent supported housing that produces much better outcomes.” With this knowledge, it makes you want to take a deeper look at the real reasons why we have yet to make much-needed improvements on this issue.
Underlying Causes and Solutions
Off the top of my head, I am aware that two major causes of homelessness are mental illness and substance abuse. Being that these factors are a root cause of homelessness for many people, I believe it is necessary to provide the homeless with help regarding these areas, which could, in turn, help get them back on their feet. This would once again cost money, but if the help that is being provided to the homeless is effective, it could prevent the continuous costs that were mentioned in the quote I provided earlier.
Personal Reflection and Action
After putting some thought into this issue and its need for improvement, it made me consider what I could possibly do to help aid this matter. A couple of years back, I was required to volunteer at a soup kitchen when I was at a drug and alcohol treatment center in New Haven, Connecticut. The homeless problem there is very abundant, but from what I saw, there were a good number of soup kitchens located throughout the city. Nevertheless, it seems like we need to be doing more to tackle the root of the problem. It felt good to be helping out there, and it is definitely something I would like to revisit in the near future.
- Kenny, Jack. “The Nagging Problem of Homelessness in New Hampshire.” New Hampshire Business Review, 2018, www.nhbr.com/March-16-2018/Homeless-in-New-Hampshire/.