Brooks Roberts 5th Period Holt 12/6/11 Homelessness: Helping the Cause Today, homelessness is a tragic problem that the world has to deal with. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless not just in America, but the whole world is filled with victims of homelessness. There are countless numbers of men, women, and children of many different ages and races are homeless all over the world. Thankfully, there are many organizations and methods used to prevent and help the cause of homelessness. Although it is a huge problem, there are many people dedicated to solving or aiding those who have fallen victim to homelessness. Homes with Hope are a non-profit organization that helps aid the homeless. It is a local working class action to help the tragedy of homelessness. With a loving staff and the help of more than 400 volunteers, Homes with Hope helps out the homeless. Homes with Hope was formally known as as the Interfaith Housing Association of Westport & Weston. According to Homes with Hope, their main goal is to provide shelters and services in a safe environment that help out homeless people in a certain community so they can live normal lives. For example, Homes with Hope can accomplish this through permanent supportive housing, casework and supportive services, emergency shelter, meals and the life skills training that help people avoid being homeless from reoccurring in shelters. This will help the homeless by giving them a chance to live normal lives. According to estimates of the NLCHP (or the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty), 700,000 to 2 million people are homeless in America. The 2000 report of the US Brooks Roberts 5th Period Holt 12/6/11 Conference of Mayors states that single men comprise 44%, single women 13%, families with children make up 36%, and unaccompanied minors make up 7%. 50% of the homeless people are African-American, 35% Caucasian, 12% Hispanic, 2% Native American and 1% are Asian. The 1996 National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients, or NSHAPC statistics show that in 1996 single homeless people got an average income of $348 during the last 30 days. Nearly 51% of the 1996 federal poverty level was $680/month for one person. 28 % admit to sometimes or often don’t get enough food, compared with 12 percent of poor American adults. 44% got money from doing small jobs. 21% get money from friends and family. 66% of the homeless have drug, alcohol, or mental illnesses. 22% have been physically beaten. 7% have been sexually abused. 38% say someone stole either their money or possessions. 30% have been homeless for 2+ years. According to The Continuum of Services (provided by Homes with Hope) provides many services for homeless people across the U.S. There are many different types of help provided, but some examples include the Gillespie Center (provided by Homes with Hope), which is a local emergency center that aids homeless victims. Local food pantry funded by Homes with Hope keeps 15 beds for men in an emergency shelter. The shelter usually operates at 100% capacity. Homes with Hope also provide social services and casework for the homeless. It is a 24 hour facility. Hoskins’ Place (provided by Homes with Hope) is another emergency shelter for women is next door to the men’s facility and offers the same services. The Bacharach Community (provided by Homes with Hope) helps provide emergency shelter for up to four Brooks Roberts 5th Period Holt 12/6/11 families. Mothers and their children are in need of safe emergency housing and caseworker help. Homes with Hope expanded this program to add the Linxweiler House on the Post Road in April 2009, sheltering one to two additional families. Food is also provided for homeless victims. Homes with Hope operate the Community Kitchen at the Gillespie Center and serve 30,000 meals every year. Volunteers from other organizations take turns preparing lunches and dinners; breakfast is always available through the resources of the food pantries provided by Homes with Hope. In Homes with Hope, there is a lot of corporal involvement that deals with helping homeless victims. For example, Castles in the Sand (provided by Homes with Hope) is an event in which every year a fund-raising event allows a kindhearted opportunity to meet outside the office. This helps an employee a chance help the 60 + homeless people that we house each night. Lots are accessible for $100 - $300 and give a "blank canvas" for employees to express themselves for a good cause. You could also help when you leverage your corporate giving. People can speak to us about the Neighborhood Assistance Act (provided by Homes with Hope). Through the charity of the state of Connecticut (where the program is located), you might be able to get a 60% tax credit for donations made to Homes with Hope. Employee fundraising also helps a lot. Having your employees raise money for Homes with Hope is a great way of motivating team work and helps out your company's corporate social responsibility. The Matching Gift Program (provided by Homes with Hope) increases support to Homes with Hope through the help of a company’s support. You can also organize a food drive at you office. Brooks Roberts 5th Period Holt 12/6/11 Preventing homelessness in America is important to do. Permanent housing projects provide a foundation for people to get off of the streets. Many organizations that dealt with the issue of homeless and the homeless population have started to focus from emergency shelter to prevention. In part this change is a result of the McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, the federal law that provides money for programs that help homeless victims. The law emphasizes “continuums of care”—regional systems that offer services and housing for an entire range of needs, from medical needs to employment. Research shows that organizations that want to direct their resources on preventative efforts should get involved with local governments. Because the homeless usually are able to get various kinds of public help, public agencies need to be caught up in coordinating services and referring the victims to homeless programs. They think about forming a local interagency coordinating body to get all of the employment players who might be included in one big group. They should also perform a “gap analysis” to see if the character of the homeless and potentially homeless people in the community can have services that would help the most, and how best to provide those services in a coordinated manner. They can hire staff that is good at coordinating various funding streams, especially federal grants. They can train people who advertize mainstream services such as health clinics, public assistance offices, and food pantries, how to address homeless alertness into their usual dealings. This takes a lot of outreach by homeless programs to service providers that may not be used to addressing the issue. One last thing people can do is provide rural homeless families with temporary shelter and rental help money, because homeless people who live in rural areas are often homeless for only short Brooks Roberts 5th Period Holt 12/6/11 amounts of time. Rural shelters, however, must take on tougher outreach tactics to find these families and provide for them. Homeless veterans need help, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs helps them. Their prevention plans include the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, the Veteran Justice Outreach Program, and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program. Their Housing Support services deals with information and resources to aid permanent or temporary shelters and ongoing case management and treatment services for homeless Veterans. Their treatment helps with healthcare for homeless Veterans. Healthcare and other services for Veterans who are leaving prison get information on Veteran Stand Downs, Drop-In Centers, and VA’s Homeless Veteran Dental Assistance Program. They also need employment and job training. This includes information on VA’s Compensated Work Therapy program where homeless Veterans get money while learning how to job skills, getting re-educated on successful work habits, and getting back their sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Benefits come with the help for the homeless veterans. Veterans gain knowledge about being homeless and programs such as the Veteran Benefit Assistance which provide necessary services to homeless Veterans. In conclusion, people should appreciate the many organizations, such as Homes with Hope, etc, for aiding the homeless. They allow them to live normal lives and carry out their daily routines. They provide everyday essentials such as food, water, and shelter for them. They also Brooks Roberts 5th Period Holt 12/6/11 help the homeless function like the average, everyday citizen. Homelessness is definitely a major problem, but there are many organizations and people who are helping those on the streets one step at a time.