Homelessness crisis is worse than it's ever been. It's going to take innovation and dedication to address it.
This article is an excellent overview of the current homelessness crisis. I recommend reading the whole article, but here are some bits that stood out to me.
• 151K unsheltered individuals in California (251 in Burbank, BTW)
• Most unsheltered are “invisible” to the average resident
• 70% of unsheltered live locally before becoming homeless.
• Black and Latino residents make up the highest percentage of unsheltered by far.
• The most represented age range in emergency shelters are newborns.
• Emergency shelters are the least costly to build, but are costly to maintain, and often degrade into unsafe conditions, where unsheltered feel more safe on the street.
• It’s time to reimagine emergency shelters into a hybrid model of “navigation centers” where the focus is on rehousing and 360 degree services.
• Emergency sheltering programs partnering with motels and churches, with 360 degree services, are the most effective in rehousing, most cost effective, and most likely to be safer.
• Permanent supportive housing is the expensive to build outright, and it’s the most needed. Finding innovative ways to create housing, such as converting motels, are becoming more attractive to nonprofits that serve the unsheltered.
• Of course, helping people stay in their homes is the first line of defense against homelessness.
The most needed services for the unsheltered are:
• Eviction counseling and defense
• Emergency rental assistance
• Rapid rehousing programs
• 360 services such as mental health care, physical health care, drug addiction support, children and family support, job placement, and legal assistance.