During my A Roof for Raleigh panel discussion on homelessness and food insecurity, I was struck by two things: how deep-seated some of the causes are and how simple some of the solutions are.
These may seem like wildly divergent thoughts, but it is largely true. Systemic inequality and persistent unemployment are driving forces behind issues like homelessness and food insecurity, yet we often have relatively simple solutions available.
For example, the City of New Orleans eliminated homelessness among veterans in part by converting an abandoned school to a housing structure. Phoenix and Salt Lake City are taking a similar “Housing First” approach and have ended chronic homelessness among their cities’ veterans. By providing housing to veterans experiencing homelessness and integrating this initiative with job training and health programs, these cities are helping people get back on their feet. In fact, there is solid evidence that providing housing for the homeless actually saves taxpayers money in the long term.
I’ll be looking for solutions here in Raleigh and I hope that you will get involved, too. If you would like to help, check out the organizations our panelists work with here. They can help focus your efforts to ensure you have the most impact.
I’ve always thought that where there’s a will, there’s a way. I know you have the will, so let’s find a way.