Solution to Homelessness in Arizona
Homelessness refers to the lack of fixed, adequate, and regular night-time residence. The issue of homelessness presents numerous challenges to Arizona. The large, mobile constantly renewing population of both adults and children consist of most of Arizona’s most troubled and needy residents. They are difficult to assist, characterize and count, let alone locate. Notably, there is no inspiring public pressure to do so. This is because, for the general public of Arizona, homelessness remains a fundamentally concealed issue. However, most of the homeless people tend to live out of sight mainly in the marine and the overlooked spaces in the communities. Conversely, there are numerous factors that lead to homelessness. The main factors include social factors such as evictions and job losses and social issues such as physical and mental illnesses, drug addiction and domestic violence. On a given day, thousands of citizens of Arizona are homeless, but most of the Arizonans see them in ones or twos. Having this in mind, this paper aims at critically reviewing the seriousness of the problem of homelessness in Arizona and thereafter providing a viable solution for the problem.
Homelessness is a serious issue in Arizona. Approximately 82,000 Arizonans receive emergency food boxes (Hedberg and William 74). There are more than 14,000 Arizonans who experience homelessness every day. In a period of one year the poor working population in Arizona experiences an increase of 10% in the costs of maintenance of basic living necessities namely food shelter, and clothing. Notably, more or less 50% of the homeless are children, women or families. In Arizona, the fastest growing section of the homeless population is the families who have children. However, 43% of these children living among the homeless families are mainly under the age of six years. In addition to this, 16% of the single adults suffer from persistent or severe mental illnesses and almost 40% of the homeless adults have addiction disorders (Hedberg and William 75). Apart from the families, 23% of the homeless men in Arizona are USA veterans.
Conversely, families facing homelessness frequently move between shelters, temporary arrangements with friends or relatives, and overcrowded apartments. This high mobility is stressful, predominantly for youth and children. Lack of routines, safety, consistency, sense of community, uninterrupted schooling and health care makes it difficult for both youth and children to grow emotionally, academically and socially (Zazworsky and Nancy 181). However, youth and children experiencing homelessness in Arizona are twice as likely to have severe chronic health problems, repeat a grade in school, and experience hunger. Moreover, homeless children and youth are venerable to depression, psychosomatic illnesses, loneliness, delinquency and withdrawal behavior. This combination of stress implicit in the daily life of the homeless children and youth lead to abuse of drugs and alcohol. Notably, homeless people especially the youth are vulnerable to engaging in risky sexual behavior caused by the lack of basic needs (Zazworsky and Nancy 181). Defined as exchange of sex for anything needed, including food, clothes, a place to stay, drugs or money, survival sex is the result of homelessness in Arizona. These risky sexual behaviors lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
The process of solving the problem of homelessness in Arizona is not a mystery at all. The process of dealing with homelessness in Arizona should not just involve getting people out of the streets but also finding a permanent solution to stop the people of Arizona from becoming homeless in the first place. According to Donna Zazworsky and Johnson Nancy, the aspect of homelessness in Arizona is generally a result of economic circumstances even though drug addiction and domestic violence also play a role in causing the problem (180). Therefore, the solution to this problem has to involve the improvement of the overall economy of Arizona. The improvement of the economy will combine the improvement of job searching skills and establishment of employment opportunities to the homeless. Additionally, apart from assistance with employment, income, and housing, families experience homelessness in Arizona need school enrollment, recreation, support with child care, parenting, and transportation.
In order to solve this issue, first, the state government of Arizona should form at least ten nonprofit organizations. The main objective of these organizations should be moving the homeless people in the street to the productive society of Arizona. The first step of these nonprofit organizations is to take the homeless people and then refer them to places such as Arizona State Hospital. In these hospitals, the nonprofit organizations house the people. Both the hospitals and the organizations have to ensure these people stay away from drugs since most of them are drug addicts. Additionally, the hospitals can assist with child care and parenting. They also have to ensure that the homeless follow a schedule. After this, the organizations will provide jobs for starters. The jobs may include cleaning up trash around Arizona for a particular duration of time that may be one to two months.
After that, the organizations give them some classes in specific job training and life skills. They can choose from various skills ranging from building maintenance, catering, pest control, and other specialties. These classes can go on for about six to eight months. The organizations can provide mock job interviews in order to get the training right. After this, the organizations send them out to find a job. The organizations can go the extra mile by recommending them to some of the job opportunities as per their skills. When they find a job, the organization finds them a place to live. Conversely, the government has to provide a place where these people will live as they work. This means that the state government of Arizona has to adopt the federal housing assistance policy. As per Kenneth Kyle, the federal housing assistance is one of the most successful policies when addressing the issue of homelessness (172). The federal housing policy allows low-income households to rent modest houses. The policy does provide a flexible appropriation that adjusts with the family’s or the individual’s income over time.
So as to form appropriate and functional non-profit organizations, the state government will require $200,000 for the formation of each organization. This means that for the formation of the ten groups, the state government will require $2,000,000. Additionally, the hospitals will also require funding so as to ensure that all the patients do require funding. Each patient should have an insurance cover which will only be used for treatment during rehabilitation. For every patient, the state government can ensure that they have a $3,000 insurance cover. For all of these organizations to work, all the workers and the homeless have to be dedicated and focused on the end goal.
When it comes to the youth, the organizations have to take a different path. Youth aged eighteen and below cannot work a permanent job. They can only work a part time job. Therefore, when forming the nonprofit organizations, the government can set aside two organizations that will deal with the youth who are age eighteen and below. Even though they can train them for different skills, they have to ensure that there is the enrollment of these youths and children to schools. These youths and children have a right to get education. Thus, the organizations can enroll these youths to some of the public schools in Arizona. Most of these youths do not have parents or families to take care of theme. As a result, the organizations can find suitable families to adopt these children. This can be done after they have gone through rehabilitation since most of them are drug addicts, and they are disconnected emotionally and socially. The adoption agency in Arizona has to ensure that these children are in stable families. The state government can provide some funding to these families. The funding is for the upkeep.
However, the nonprofit organizations have to do this process for several times. This is because, due to the high number of the homeless in Arizona, the organizations cannot handle all of them. Therefore, the organizations have to select a certain number of the homeless whereby they will be helping them in groups. This solution may take some time since only a certain number of people are enrolled into the program by the organization. In relation to the adopted children, the state government can occasionally perform checkups to ensure that the children under this program do not end up in the streets again. The problems that this solution is solving are not the problems that can get better on their own. However, the state government has to increase its investments in affordable rental houses for the homeless. There should be strict rent regulations which will protect tenants and preserve affordable housing, allowing the tenants to keep their homes.
In order to ensure that the problem of homelessness does not continue to occur in Arizona, the state government can raise the state and federal minimum wages to a suitable level. The government can also create more job opportunities for the people who do not have enough skills for the top rated jobs. Additionally, the state government can set up strict laws towards domestic violence and drug abuse since these factors also contribute to homelessness in Arizona. Moreover, the state government of Arizona can regularly conduct research in the mainstream systems such as health, education and child protection. This will help the state government identify the groups at risk of becoming homeless and then finding a viable solution to help them.
In conclusion, the issue of homelessness in Arizona is a serious problem. The issue is serious since it does have different effects on to the people and the society at large. Homelessness leads to depression, psychosomatic illnesses, loneliness, delinquency and withdrawal behavior towards youth and children. Apart from this, homelessness leads to drug addiction and spread of sexually transmitted diseases. However, through the adoption of the above strategy, the state government of Arizona can deal with this issue. Even though the strategy may take some time, the issue of homelessness in Arizona can come to an end. For the strategy to work, there is a requirement of a dedicated team whose sole mission is to solve this issue that is largely affecting the society of Arizona.
Hedberg, Eric Christopher, and William Hart. A New Look: A Survey of Arizona’s HomelessPopulation. Morrison Institute for Public Policy, Arizona State University, 2013.
Kyle, Kenneth. Contextualizing Homelessness: Critical Theory, Homelessness, and FederalPolicy Addressing the Homeless. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013
Zazworsky, Donna, and Nancy Johnson. “It Takes a Village: A Community Partnership Model inCaring for the Homeless.” Nursing administration quarterly 38.2 (2014): 179-185.