Homeless programmes alone are not enough to solve the problem

Homelessness is an indicator of whether education systems are working, whether criminal-justice systems are working, and whether foster-care systems are working, says an Editorial in the Seattle Times of September 30 2012.

“as successful as we have been, our homeless programs cannot alone end homelessness”.

“People become homeless when medical costs and the lack of insurance drive them into bankruptcy; when the lack of mental-health treatment leads to a helpless spiral and into jail; when, for many, the only affordable housing on minimum wage is the back seat of the car.’

The Committee to End Homelessness in King County has “proved that stable housing can break the cycle of jail, emergency rooms and detox centers for single adults struggling with mental illness and addiction. We have shown that stable housing means children do better in school, improving their lifelong prospects. We have learned that addressing the needs of homeless youth prevents them from becoming chronically homeless adults.”

Despite these efforts, an estimated 5,000 people remain homeless in Seattle.

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