We can solve homelessness. We have university solutions informed by science that need to be implemented. Homelessness is no longer a local or state issue. It is a national crisis that needs federal attention and a national platform. Homelessness will not be solved without bold initiatives for mental health care. We must commit to building mental health hospitals with up to 1000 beds near our major metropolitan centers that will serve all Americans who need help.
One in 500 Americans is now homeless.
650,000 Americans are homeless.
Homelessness is affecting our cities, businesses, and safety.
Homelessness affects all of us and has not been solved despite billions spent by the government. We must work to solve homelessness without additional burden to taxpayers by coordinating efforts, eliminating wasteful inefficiencies, and implementing solutions proposed by advocates and researchers on homelessness.
Preventing homelessness is the first step. Because homelessness is now a national issue, not only state funding but also federal funding must be allocated for programs that are easily accessible to anyone who is moments away from losing their home. Some families are many months behind on rent or have a sudden expense or illness that was not expected. Sudden life changes can put families who are on the verge of losing their home in danger. Having an easily accessible crisis center to help families and individuals on the verge of homelessness with the resources they need would greatly help prevent homelessness.
Homelessness is affecting our cities, our safety, and our businesses. Temporary housing, close to where the homeless currently reside, would give the homeless individuals a chance to stabilize. Many groups already provide temporary housing and coordination between the groups will help reduce taxpayer expenses. This can be done by providing a national platform where all groups that currently offer help can share the services that they provide and the openings that they currently have.
Transitioning from temporary housing to permanent housing is essential. With the help of professionals who can address medical, housing, and social needs, the previously homeless can find all the resources they need to get back on their feet again. This housing would also be an environment to receive care and training for a new job. This housing and training would be located anywhere in the US.
Some homeless people cannot live independently. Because mental health and substance use is a crisis in the United States, we need more psychiatric beds to provide care for those who need help. We don't have enough psychiatric beds, while our neighbors to the north, in Canada, have dedicated psychiatric hospital beds to help patients. For example, the city of Toronto has 493 psychiatric beds. We have few dedicated psychiatric hospitals. We lost most of our psychiatric hospitals in California during the Reagan administration. Since then people who were previously able to get help have been left to fend for themselves on the streets.
Campaigns such as my bid for US Senate will help bring Federal dollars to house, rehabilitate and heal our homeless by coordinating efforts of groups, charities, veterans groups and others who are already helping the homeless. Much private funding is already being used and many groups are independently and tirelessly working on homelessness. California has spent billions of dollars in the last few years, but this has not decreased our rapidly expanding homeless population. The Department of Housing and Urban Development had a budget of 61 billion dollars in 2021 ($60,000,000,000) Most of the funds are spent on temporary measures rather than long term and coordinated planning for the future.
Many university groups have studied the reasons for homelessness and have proposed solutions for homelessness. Just like in medical research, where different treatments are tested to find out which one is best, the same needs to be done for homeless programs. Each of the proposed solutions need to be tried in order to find out how to spend the least while still getting the most effective and long lasting outcome for this national crisis, while helping our most vulnerable Americans.
It’s time to show kindness to our most vulnerable fellow Americans who are living on our streets, most of whom suffer from mental health conditions. Of the homeless, 82% report having a mental health condition interfering with their ability to work or to be creative about securing housing. Without addressing mental health care, homelessness cannot be solved. Solutions for mental health demand a long-term approach and thoughtful planning. We therefore need to secure federal government funding for dedicated mental health centers with as many as 1000 beds outside every major metropolitan center. These centers would serve all Americans, ranging the full spectrum of citizens including the disadvantaged to celebrities, who struggle with substance abuse, mental health stressors, hopelessness, and suicide. Such an approach at a federal level has yet to be formulated. We need to rethink the mental health care center of the past and make centers where all the expertise needed to heal the mind are present in a pleasant and inviting atmosphere that is welcoming to all of our children, adolescents, and adults regardless of socioeconomic status.