Homelessness


Homelessness costs the community in more ways that the obvious ones.
We all see how it can affect businesses when people who have no homes reside in doorways and on the sidewalks.
We all see how it affects families when they are fearful of the people that are homeless and are anxious about being pressured for money.
We all see how it affects the environment with people living in the woods leave their belongings and they get trashed in bad weather.
But what we tend to forget is who are the homeless people we try not to look at or walk across the street to avoid.
They are us. We are 1 bad choice or bad luck event away from being them.  Bad luck in having an accident and losing your job, or medical bills that bankrupt you, or an eviction because your child acted out.  How about homeless because you lived with friends and they moved away and you can't afford a place. Or you are in an abusive relationship and the streets are better than your home.  How many of us have addictions but because we have homes, nobody judges us.  Well, we are all potentially homeless and it costs all of us no matter if we are or not.
Bellingham just spent $300,000 cleaning up homeless sites. 
A study in Hawaii showed that the state spends 42% less on medical care for a person who has been in a home for 6 months. 
Homeless people are more apt to be arrested than someone who has a home, which costs the taxpayers up to $100 a day for incarceration and the related expenses.

What can we do to change this ever growing trend? We have to think outside the box.
I propose we use some of our vast Law and Order budget (55%+ of our county dollars go to Law and Order) and shift it to what will really make the community safer, homes and services for the mentally ill and people with addictions.  After living in The Netherlands for a almost 5 years I saw how housing and stability results in less crime, less violence and more social cohesion. If you have your basic needs met, you are less likely to act out towards others. Basic needs are food, clothing and shelter.

What I want to do is develop programs where the homeless help build their own tiny homes: While learning a trade, people will build their own homes and will have a safe place to live without the confines of group home and shelter rules.  Adults should be able to what they want as long they do not harm others.  Small communities of 6-8 homes with a Service building on the property where residents can have group meetings, see providers, cook group meals and stay connected to each other and the community.