Resolving Poverty

  • Bright highlights in shades of orange green yellow pink point to insights and pro/for statements concurrent with the opinion(s) of experts on the topic homelessness and the means of it's resolution.
  • Red highlight signifies refusal, non-acceptance, dismissal, dogmatism, challenges, negation, and/or moot points opposing the conclusive notions of the methods, attitudes, and facts pertaining to resolving homelessness (via the Housing First framework).
  • Gray highlight signifies additional and tangential information and knowledge of the primary points articulated within the text.
  • Bold text signifies a degree of importance and assertion in statement, or heading / title.
  • Underline signifies context, importance, and validity of facts and theory.

*One is suggested to read as many articles as one wishes to, in direct relation to one's yearning to wholesomely understand the topic at hand. Each article touches upon the topic of homelessness as articulated by experts and the research studies conducted. Detailed specifics, analysis, and conclusive evaluations are elaborated furthermore in the longer articles toward the middle-end of the web-page, providing analysis, inferences, and specific notions therein.
*The embedded videos and article links serve as primary sources, and have been included for the purpose of (optional) viewership and for evidence-based observing, and/or a fuller articulation of the information already provided within the text.
*The purpose of this website is not to persuade but to provide a multi-faceted synopsis of modern-day research by experts (ranging from professors to social workers, entrepreneurs to academicians and writers, to publishers and others) regarding homelessness and it's history - present, past, and future - in terms of the variables and theories at play and most relevant, for alleviating it's effects and impact upon individuals, families, communities, and the world at large.

All 100+ sources were published between the years of 2011 and 2019.
2011 = one source
2012 = three sources
2013 = twelve sources
2014 = fifteen sources
2015 = nineteen sources
2016 = twenty-one sources
2017 = twenty-three sources
2018 = ten sources
2019 = three sources
Total sources = 107
‘We can’t continue putting Band-Aids on the issue’: Addressing Charlottesville’s rising homeless population during the affordable housing crisis (March 2019)

The Haven serves as a shelter for the homeless population of Charlottesville, who may otherwise have nowhere else to turn to for assistance.

Being more than simply a physical space to congregate, The Haven also hosts the offices of Peoples and Congregations Engaged in Ministry — a shelter that utilizes local churches a place to sleep in colder months — and the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless — a non-profit coalition of local organizations who work together to end homelessness in the region.
These services — along with laundry services, showers, mailing addresses and storage — exist to aid the homeless and fill gaps that may exist. The central focus of The Haven is to serve as a launchpad for guests’ transformation from homelessness to sustainable living.
The number of people in this metropolitan region who were served for homelessness rose from 283 to 440 between 2013 and 2018.
This rapid uptick is due to the rapid increase of the region’s affordable housing crisis in recent years. The region is in need of over 4,000 affordable units.
“I think that the housing needs in the community are more significant now, and that is contributing to the rise in the number of people who fall into homelessness,” Haro said.
The homeless population in Charlottesville is largely comprised of adults between 25 and 54.
“There’s different needs that exist in the homeless population,” Haro said. “It’s not a homogenous population, if you will. It’s often just people like you and I who fall on hard times and there’s different needs across the whole spectrum.” 
Thirty-four percent of homeless adults in the Charlottesville area are women, and 25 percent of homeless adults in the area were victims of domestic violence at some point in their past. 
From Haro’s perspective, all forms of homelessness are a prevailing issue that cannot be resolved by temporary efforts, but rather by long-term work that involves generating an adequate and affordable housing stock for the area’s homeless population to transition into. 
“Housing solutions are the answer to homelessness,” Haro said. “We can’t continue putting Band-Aids on the issue. We need to deal with the issue by addressing the ultimate solution, which is increased housing resources.”
Stephen Hitchcock, executive director at The Haven, said services such as Region Ten — which assists those struggling with mental health, disability or substance abuse — and the Departments of Social Services and Veterans Affairs connect with guests as part of the organization’s “Housing First” mission, acknowledging homelessness as a housing crisis. Hitchcock said the shelter-based approach does not adequately address the sheer lack of affordable housing at the root of homelessness.
The lack of affordable housing and the high cost of living in Charlottesville leave many in need of The Haven’s assistance.
“That is the main thing in Charlottesville, is housing,” James said. “The cost of living is sky high, and low income housing’s very rare … Charlottesville’s not that big, so most of the people that’s homeless would be here [at The Haven].
From October through mid-April, guests at The Haven in need of shelter for the night are taken in by PACEM. A rotation of 80 local congregations and community groups provide respite for those without sufficient protection from inclement weather.
Next column

PACEM executive director Jayson Whitehead said the need for these services has been increasing in recent years. During operations, PACEM hosts an average of 42 men and 13 women. Whitehead, like the city’s other experts on the subject, said the high demand is most directly related to Charlottesville’s shortage of affordable housing units. 
The City has struggled to address the affordable housing crisis in recent years. 
A proposal for a $50 million bond to rectify the crisis was never directly addressed by City Council, and it is unclear why councilors chose not to publicly address it. Additionally, the key determinants of where high-density and affordable housing units can be developed in the City — is expected to take up to three years to complete.
Habitat, TJACH, the Charlottesville Redevelopment Housing Association and a number of other organizations in the area have recently taken action under the umbrella of the Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition; a centralized housing hub for individuals and families who need housing assistance.
“[What] we are really pushing and focusing on is the development of what we call a centralized housing hub,” Kawachi said. “We’re trying to create a hub where folks can come, because that is one of the primary things we’ve heard from individuals who are having housing issues or are experiencing homelessness is that they have nowhere to go.”

The University has done little in recent years to help the City alleviate the problem — however, the Brandon Avenue on-Grounds housing complex is slated to open in August 2019, creating space for 500 students and shifting some of the demand away from off-Grounds. University President Jim Ryan’s community working group named affordable housing as their number two priority area behind jobs and wages in a report released last week, saying that University officials and administration “should partner with housing providers to help ensure there is safe, quality, affordable housing for all residents in the region.”

Grant Duffield, the executive director of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, says a partnership between the City and the University could help streamline valuable resources to aid in the creation of more affordable units and the generation of a living wage.
while local organizations are doing what their resources permit them to in order to care for and support the local homeless population, their leaders agree that affordable housing is the solution to Charlottesville’s dynamic homelessness problem, with both strong social and fiscal implications in balance. 
“It’s actually cheaper to house individuals and families than it is to just manage their homelessness,” Hitchcock said. “There’s also this fiscal component…. Most people think ‘oh, housing people that’s gotta be so expensive,’ instead of keeping them in a shelter. But it’s the opposite.”
We can end poverty, but this is why we haven't | Teva Sienicki (December 2016)

We aim to help families attain self-sufficiency. 
The stresses of growing up in poverty permanently alter the wiring and the brains of developing children, lowering their resilience and increasing their chances for a number of serious physical and emotional problems.
Studies tell us that kids in poverty fall behind early, and that by the time they're 4 years old, they're already a year and a half behind their middle class peers. And when they aren't reading proficiently by third grade, they're six times less likely to finish high school. It's almost impossible for them to catch up.
There are 16 million children living in poverty in the USA.

We spend over a trillion dollars on poverty in America, and yet our poverty rate is far higher than most of the developed world, and is more than double that of our biggest global competitor - China.

Main ways we're getting things wrong:
1) we've relegated poverty work to the realm of the heart (to the Mother Theresa's, to the do-gooders, to the charities and the churches). And heart is absolutely essential, but my beef with leaving poverty there is that it's dismissive of the seriousness and the complexity of the problem we're trying to address. No matter how many cans of soup or warm beds we provide, we will not solve poverty without our brains as well. Too often we focus on the immediate human needs without addressing the issues that create them.

2) we need to stop placing the burden of escaping poverty on the individuals experiencing it, and start breaking down the crushing systems that keep people there. Like when we try to help people escape poverty by achieving self sufficiency, when in fact what we have is a structural problem. There are far too many jobs in our economy that just don't pay a living wage. Presumably, we need all these jobs, so let's think of a way to structure it so that parents who are working full-time or more earn enough to support their families. 

There's a causal relationship between the county you live in as a kid and your future earnings as an adult. Our goal is to impact these communities in which they live. We are social creatures urged toward progress by our social networks. We go with the trend, we join along. #SheepleStatusIsReal

Rather than merely providing direct services, we aim to build equity in our community by reforming systems and policies.
We began by going door to door to see how they saw their community and to ask what help they needed. It is about doing things, not for people, but with people. This is a small-scale approach to ending systemic poverty.
Early childhood intervention -- if we can prepare a child to learn and stay on that path until 3rd grade, then they are on the path toward success. We are saving money on future spending on these individuals as well.
The critical need to build affordable housing!

(Next column)
Teva Sienicki has experienced first-hand the devastating, cyclical nature of inter-generational poverty. In this inspiring talk, she argues that in order to end poverty once and for all, we need to treat the root causes of the problem, not just the symptoms. Teva is passionate about building equity and closing the achievement gap for low-income kids. She transformed Growing Home, which began as a small shelter, into an anti-poverty organization that serves over 4,600 families annually. Winner of the Livingston Fellowship, her approach emphasizes innovation, analysis, and teamwork.

We need to solve poverty nationally. And we can. We can do this the way we've achieved other historical accomplishments. When we set out to cure Polio or put a man on the moon, we started by setting an audacious goal, and committing to a long process of trial and error, dedicating resources and research to the problem, and utilizing our experts. We can do this again, for this problem (homelessness). We must pledge that we will not allow this cycle to continue, not in the biggest economy the world has ever known. We all have a role to play. Not just non-profits and churches, but businesses and government too. Poverty is a complicated problem with a complicated history, impacted by complicated systems, and so it's easy to get overwhelmed and just go back to doing what we've always done, or worst yet, do nothing at all. 

Let's acknowledge these tough truths and move forward. Let's stop blaming those homeless for being born poor, and growing up poor and ending up poor as if it's somehow their fault. Instead, let's look at systemic underpinnings of inequity that perpetuates cycles of poverty. Let's commit our hearts, and our heads to solving this as a nation and not just in small communities. And let's invite the experts to the table, in this case - members of the communities that are impacted. We set out as one small non-profit to end poverty in our community; let's commit our vast resources to creating a tipping-point as a nation so that we can stop treating the symptoms of poverty and end it once and for all.

Homelessness is a continuing challenge for many cities.
Our homeless population falls into three major categories:
1) those that are temporarily homeless (about 75%)
2) those that are episodically homeless (about 10%)
3) those that are chronically homeless (about 15%)
Chronic homelessness is defined as an unaccompanied adult who has been continuously homeless for a year or more or more than four times homeless in three years [365 days].
This small 15% of the homeless population can consume 50 to 60 percent of the homeless resources available in a community, and can cost the community $20,000 to $45,000 dollars a year per person in emergency services costs (EMT runs, emergency room visits, addictions, interactions with the police, jail time).
Simply put, this small population costs a lot.

The US government began an initiative in 2003 inviting states and cities and counties to develop a plan to end chronic homelessness in a 10-year period. 
The state of Utah accepted this invitation, and I was asked to lead this effort. 
In 2005, we approved a 10-year plan, and 10 years later, in 2015, we reported a reduction in our chronic homeless population of 91 percent statewide.

When I began this process, I realized that I had a limited understanding of homelessness and the factors that impacted it, and that I needed a fairly major change in my belief, in my thinking, because I had been raised with the theory of rugged individualism and "pull yourself up by the bootstraps." 
That philosophy came from being raised on our family's cattle ranch in the western desert of Utah. On the ranch, you learned that nothing takes priority over caring for the cattle, something always needs fixing and most importantly, hard work makes the world right. It was through that lens that I would see homeless people.
When I was a teenager, our family would go into Salt Lake City, and I would see these homeless people -- "hobos" we called them then -- sitting around on the street, and I would think, "You lazy bums, get a job. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps."

I had the opportunity to be loaned out to the state's largest homeless shelter to assist them in developing and improving their financial and management capabilities. While there, I became aware of a new approach to dealing with homeless individuals and drug addicts. It was called the harm reduction model, and it consisted of passing out clean needles and condoms. And I thought, "Now that is one stupid idea." (Laughter) "That's just going to encourage them to continue that behavior. Just tell them to stop." Several years later, I read some of the early 10-year plans to end chronic homelessness promoted by the federal government. As I read through those plans, and I thought, "Pfft! This is unrealistic. You can't end homelessness. There's too many personal choices and factors beyond our control."

My perspective changed, however, when I attended a conference in 2003, where I learned the reason behind the 10-year plan.
The first insight was this small population of the homeless group that was 15% were very expensive. That made sense for a conservative state like Utah.

The second insight was learning about this Housing First, or low-barrier housing.
There had been an agency in New York City that had been inviting mentally ill homeless individuals to move directly from the street into housing. And they were also allowed to continue to use drugs and to drink, just like we can in our homes.
In addition, they offered services -- not required to use them -- by on-site case managers to assist them to adjust to their new living arrangements and to stabilize their lives. They were using the harm reduction model. And despite my initial low expectations about hearing about this model, they were having an astonishing success rate: 85 percent were still housed after 12 months.

The third insight was the importance of developing a trusting relationship. Because of the abuse these individuals have had throughout most of their lives, they hardly trust anybody, and the clean needles and condoms and low-barrier housing was a means to begin to develop a relationship of trust. Vital.

So as I flew home from this conference, sitting in the plane looking out the window, I realized that my understanding and perspective about homelessness was shifting.

This very strong feeling and thought came to me that if there's any state in the union that could end chronic homelessness, it was the state of Utah, because there's an underlying feeling and desire and willingness to collaborate to serve our neighbors, including those who are homeless. A new vision was becoming clear to me how this could be done.

Now, those of us that attended the conference said, "Yeah, these models will work in Utah." But when we got back home, there were many who said, "No, those aren't going to work. They won't succeed here." But there was, however, an affordable housing organization who was willing to build our first 100 units. But they had concerns about having 100 chronically homeless people in one location. To address that concern, we decided to create a pilot to test that idea while we built the first 100 units. We would use existing units scattered throughout Salt Lake City.

(Next column)
Lloyd Pendleton wants to eliminate chronic homelessness. (November 2017)

What do you think would happen if you invited an individual with mental health issues who had been homeless for many years to move directly from the street into housing? Loyd Pendleton shares how he went from skeptic to believer in the Housing First approach to homelessness -- providing the displaced with short-term assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions -- and how it led to a 91 percent reduction in chronic homelessness over a ten-year period in Utah.

Then we debated: Should we select fairly high-functioning homeless persons or the most challenging ones we could find? And this is where my background on the ranch came into play.

Back then, my mother cooked our meals and heated the water for our weekly bath on a wood-burning and coal-burning stove. And after chopping wood for that stove all those years, I'd learned to chop the big end of the log first, when I had the most energy.

We decided to use the "big end of the log first" approach and selected 17 of the most challenging, difficult, chronically homeless people we could find, because we knew we would learn the most from them. 
Twenty-two months later, all 17 were still housed, including Keta, who today, 11 years later, is sleeping in her own bed and is sober.

At the end of this pilot, one of the young case managers said, "We used to debate up at our university classes which theory of case management was the most effective. Now our theory of case management is: anything necessary to keep them housed."
We became believers, and built hundreds of units over those next 10 years, leading to the reduction of our statewide chronic homeless population of 91 percent.

Now, who are homeless people? Many people just want them to go away, to disappear, not disrupt our lives.
Through this 10-year, 11-year process, I gained many insights of why people become homeless. One of those insights came to me a few years ago when I was visiting with our medical outreach team. 
These are our front-line workers that go out and visit the street homeless and the prostitutes to check on their medical health.
One of the team members mentioned that eight of the prostitutes had given birth to 31 children that had become wards of the state. They also shared that some of the pimps were their husbands, and worse yet, their parents.
These prostitutes, in their late teens, 20s, early 30s, were expected to earn enough money a day to support a hundred-dollar-a-day heroin addiction, their living expenses and their pimp.
And with unprotected sex, they were paid more, and predictably, this would lead to a pregnancy. Children born under these circumstances many times end up becoming homeless.
And it's not helpful to look at those born under those circumstances, or a parent that makes their child a drug addict at age seven, or a generation of babies born through drug addiction, and not feel some despair. 
For me, I believe every person is of value, no matter who you are. And it's not helpful to look at somebody with this start in life and blame them for where they are.

No one grows up saying, "My goal in life is to become homeless." And that's the beauty of the harm reduction and Housing First model. It recognizes the complexities of the different factors that can shape a human life. These models meet people where they are, not where we are or where we think they should be.

The pilot we did with our 17 taught us many lessons. When people have been living on the street for many years, moving back into housing requires lots of things to learn.
And Donald taught us some of these transition lessons. His case manager asked him why he had not turned up the heat in his cold apartment. Donald said, "How do you do that?" He was shown how to use a thermostat. 
The case manager also observed that he was heating the beans in the can on the stove, like he had done over the campfires for many years. He was shown how to use pots and pans.
We also learned that he had a sister that he had not seen in 25 years, who thought he was dead. She was happy to learn otherwise, and they were soon reconnected.
Hundreds of people like Keta and Donald are now housed and reconnecting with their families. Also, many of our communities are incurring fewer emergency services costs.

I have learned over and over again that when you listen to somebody's story with an open heart, walk in their shoes with them, you can't help but love and care for them and want to serve them.
This is why I'm committed to continuing to bring hope and support to our homeless citizens, who I consider to be my brothers and sisters.
Homelessness | Amanda Ridgway | TEDxComoxValley (June 2015)

Homelessness is a direct result of disconnection with each other and our communities.

Homelessness is not new.
We are in a thirty-year period of homelessness that began in the 1980s. The previous period of homelessness was during the Great Depression.
Many people who are homeless are actually hidden -- staying on couches, staying with friends, staying in cars, and places that are not fit for human habitation. For every 1 person you see homeless on the street, more than likely there's 4 other people who are homeless (hidden from view).
What's the #1 reason for homelessness? POVERTY.

Wealth inequality in Canada - 70% is owned by the top 20% of population. The richest 86 families own more than the bottom 11 million Canadians. 
The federal government in the 1990's withdrew their investment for affordable housing. So alongside rising rents and declining wages, Canada remains the only G8 country that doesn't have a national housing strategy. So here we are with growing poverty.

If you're aboriginal. If you have a disability. If you've just been released from an institution (mental health institute, or prison), or maybe you don't have any social network in your community - you're going to be more at risk for homelessness. So take that, and add to it that you just lost your job, or you just got a divorce. Or consider that you have mental cognitive impairments that relate to mental health or addictions or a brain injury. So when these individual factors collide with those big social factors -- all of a sudden you're homeless. 
Increasingly, anyone can become vulnerable to losing their housing.

Homelessness is not a choice.
A rare individual may choose not to be a part of our social structures or not choose to be a part of the loops in place by our politicians, but they're not choosing homelessness.
Public perception is that we have safety nets to help our most vulnerable citizens - but unfortunately, if you do need assistance, and if you do not have a permanent address, you're likely to experience barriers.

Many people fall into homelessness and are trapped in such state because of the failings of our government, our support services, and our health systems. Due to lack of resources? Yes. Policy directives and funding requirements impose constraints and limitations. 

Social organizations and non-profits have been setup to compete with each other (for funding), thus they do not even have the capacity to do the job they want to do. And neither can they broadcast helpful information. #PARADOX
As demand increases and problems continue, so do the experiences of learned HELPLESSNESS. We see more disconnects at community and social networks. Without a community plan and resources to implement it, we see a diffusion of responsibility and a lack of accountability. Inaction also occurs because of personal biases and prejudices: "get a good job! keep up with the Jones's!" 
Add to this, the stigma of alcohol and drug addiction and mental health issues - and this translates into deep fears and threats of personal identity. It plays out as misinterpretation of homelessness as a moral and ethical issue - when in reality it is a health and human rights issue. It's been out most vulnerable citizens who have felt the full force of such.

One of the insidious disconnects really is reflected in our own discomfort when we face someone living in homelessness. What causes us to look away and to avoid eye contact? I'd suggest it's a lack of self respect. Because as we look away, we deny and disconnect from that very part of us - because it's our humanity which calls us to act, to offer some assistance, or to simply acknowledge the presence of another. Fortunately, our culture is becoming increasingly conscious - we're raising our awareness. We're rethinking how we relate to our environment, our material goods, and how we relate to each other. We've come out of the illusion of superiority, out of the spell of consumerism; we are reacquainting ourselves with our humanity and inter-connectedness with our natural world, and thus balance in our lives. 

People in communities across Canada are taking advantage of our more conscious viewpoints to go beyond limits and our previous beliefs (to thus end homelessness!) - they let go of judgments and the burden of past mistakes and learned helplessness. We are all opening ourselves to questions that shift our perception, change our minds, and therefore our actions. And it's from this place that we can answer that question: what is the best thing that I/we can do to help?

We must make the shift from "managing homelessness", to ending it. A shift to focusing all efforts by creating access to safe and secure affordable housing. Affordable housing income. Connecting people with information, resources, and opportunities needed most.

The best approach (suggested by research and evidence) to end homelessness, is the Housing First approach. And it basically states that a person needs housing first, before they can even consider other things like learning how to read or holding down a job. 
This talk translates our society’s increasingly global conscience to understanding the challenges of homelessness and realizing the innovative community problem solving making a difference in communities across the nation.  Amanda sees our acceptance of homelessness as a pathology of our disconnection with ourselves, each other and our planet.  Amanda presents a vision of community where everyone is at home and invites our participation in tangible actions we all can take to end homelessness. 

A consultant and entrepreneur, Amanda Ridgway, Ignite Consultancy, facilitates redesigning the necessary holistic systems that support healthy communities.  She brings international experience strategizing community development to the challenges of affordable housing and homelessness. Presently she is engaging the Port Alberni community working with non-profits, municipalities and health services in completing an evidence-based homelessness prevention plan.  Previously she worked in the Comox Valley to devise a model for more effective service provision.  With a unique blend of psychology, performance coaching and mindfulness of the spirit, Amanda reframes real community challenges in a way that invigorates citizens to reconnect with their best selves and discover creative solutions.  

Rethinking affordable housing | Adam Walls | TEDxGrantPark  (August 2016)

Why does the "hood" exist?
How can we be qualified to come up with strategies to fight a problem to when we don't understand the underlying causes of it? Is it OK for us to be ignorant to the causes of the problem? Are we willing to accept easy explanations - that the people of these communities, are lazy, foolish, or perhaps created the problems themselves.


THE GREAT MIGRATION: 6 million blacks moved from the south to the rest of the country to escape Jim Crow segregation. Over 1 million blacks moved to Chicago between 1910 - 1960. They moved to only 3-4 specific districts because they were only allowed to move there. Therefore, banks were unwilling to lend in those neighborhoods. There were restrictions in these districts made up of 90% of blacks. Home-ownership was nearly impossible. A real estate practice known as "blockbusting". 

Blockbusting: the practice of persuading owners to sell property cheaply because of the fear of people of another race or class moving into the neighborhood, and thus profiting by reselling at a higher price.

It's estimated that between 1940 - 1970, the practice of blockbusting and contract selling cost the black population $500 Million.

The dilapidated communities, the housing stock being in dis-repair, and combined with the economic realities -- created a real need for affordable housing in these communities.

"Affordable housing" is defined as affordable if you're not paying more than 30% of your income in rent. In Chicago, there are 300k households making less than $30,000 a year. Clearly, we have a problem with a lot of rent-burdened families in the city of Chicago.

Looking at the history (the maps; the policies), combined with the economic realities -- what I concluded was that these communities are suffering from dis-investment (and there's a need for affordable housing). What if we could bring real scalable investment to the communities by providing affordable housing. The 280,000 families applying for housing assistance is evidence alone that the government alone cannot keep up with the demand of affordable housing. We need scale efficiencies - to then possibly offer affordable housing for an entire portfolio of people -- but we need investors (who yes, want to make money) and we need banks who are willing to lend in these neighborhoods (not an easy task, i might add!)
(Next column)

I quit my job to put slum-lords out of business. If we accomplish our goal to create the highest quality housing experience in the country regardless of zip code, the market's going to do it for me. We were met by resistance from investments consistently saying "you seem like you have a lot of passion and you're smart, and this idea seems interesting - but man those neighborhoods are crazy!. why don't you go ahead and get it started, call me when it's working". 

The city of Chicago has a residential tenant ordinance to protect tenants from slum-lords -- allowing for a tenant to sue a landlord. 

The barriers to entry are almost endless to providing affordable housing to under-resourced communities. And what that results in is smart people staying away from the business. It's taken 5 long years to get a little tiny piece of what feels like some bit of success. We have 26 buildings, 700 apartment units, all of which are 100% affordable. We employ 25 full time people and independent contractors and attorneys. But the point is not to promote one particular idea or company - the point is that I feel like other entrepreneurs would join me in taking a look at perhaps large-scale social challenges. Understand the underlying cause for those challenges, and not be afraid to ask "why is it this way", and ask more importantly, "does it have to stay this way" ... 

A different approach to sustainable housing | Craig Jarvis | TEDxChristchurch (November 2015)

Energy Efficient Homes: Scott Bergford at TEDxTheEvergreenStateCollege (May 2013)

Sustainable Apartments – A New Model for the Future | Jeremy McLeod | TEDxStKilda (June 2015)

Co-housing—Community at its Best | Erica Elliott | TEDxABQ (October 2015)

Tiny homes of the future | Lara Nobel | TEDxSouthBank (June 2016)
Innovative housing for the urban poor | Rhea Silva | TEDxGSMC 
(July 2017)

Affordable housing is a challenge globally faced today, with about 235 million households worldwide suffering with housing poverty. Watch as she ends up disapproving the widely held perception that social businesses have to choose between profitability and purpose.

Coming from a family immersed in real estate, Rhea Silva has seen land, finance and a lot more. But her vision is bigger, and by starting Chototel, she took her first steps in social enterprise. Chototel provides affordable housing for low-income families, and is making small steps in reducing homelessness, with expansions into the Indian market. She maybe young, but her ideas have surely taken flight, and have impressed many.
5 Game Changing Homeless Programs and Developments from Around the World (July 2017)

There are so many dedicated professionals working on the homeless issue around the world that we can sometimes forget to stop and appreciate the hard work and innovation. 

1. Hyper Aggressive Housing First in Finland:  Finland as a country made housing first a national policy.  Since 2008, the federal, state and local governments have worked together using the model.  Some of the more interesting features of this change include investing in building more affordable housing and changing shelters into housing units.  Finland has almost eliminated homelessness in its country while other European countries have seen homelessness increase.

2. Skid Row: Star Apartments: Los Angeles, California: This is actually a building to support formerly homeless persons. The building uses modular pre-fabricated units that are then Star Apartments provides permanent supportive housing to 100 formerly homeless individuals.  The building includes a health center, community kitchen, art rooms and other spaces that are there to assist residents.

(Next column)

3. Hidden City Tours- Barcelona, Spain: The owner hires formerly homeless and trains them to be city tour guides.  The tours are both normal city tours and city tours that focus on issues around being homeless.  I saw where my guide used to go to find free food or where many people live 20-25 to a room.  The job and income has allowed most of the guides to find a place to live and raised their skill sets in an industry that is valuable in Spain.

4. Street Bean Coffee-Seattle, Washington: This cafe hires homeless youth.  “A dedicated group of people came together and thought that a coffee shop had the most opportunity for success, with a broad appeal to a diverse group of young people, a real consumer need, and the opportunity for young people to learn a variety of job skills.” 

5. Access Bladerunner- Vancouver, Canada: This is an interesting program to help aboriginal youth who are either at risk or already homeless in Canada, between the ages of 15 and 30 through a comprehensive training and support program that focuses on creating pathways to jobs in the construction industry. The core goal of the program is to provide young people with the support and resources they need to overcome the difficulties and barriers in their lives that prevent them from obtaining, and maintaining, meaningful long-term employment.”
Here's how Finland solved its homelessness problem (February 2018)

In the last year in the UK, the number of people sleeping rough rose by 7%.
In Germany, the last two years saw a 35% increase in the number of homeless, while in France there has been an increase of 50% in the last 11 years.

These are Europe’s three biggest economies, and yet they haven’t solved their housing problem. Across Europe, the picture is much the same.

Except in Finland.

In Finland, the number of homeless is steadily decreasing. So what have they been doing differently?

There can be a number of reasons as to why someone ends up homeless, including sudden job loss or family breakdown, severe substance abuse or mental health problems. But most homelessness policies work on the premise that the homeless person has to sort those problems out first before they can get permanent accommodation.

Finland does the opposite - it gives them a home first.
The scheme, introduced in 2007, is called Housing First. It is built on the principle that having a permanent home can make solving health and social problems much easier.

The homeless are given permanent housing on a normal lease. That can range from a self-contained apartment to a housing block with round-the-clock support. Tenants pay rent and are entitled to receive housing benefits. Depending on their income, they may contribute to the cost of the support services they receive. The rest is covered by local government.
Since the scheme started, thousands have benefited.

At the same time as being given a home, they receive individually tailored support services. For instance, anyone can reserve an appointment with a housing adviser and receive advice in things like problems with paying the rent or applying for other government benefits.

There are also financial and debt counselling services to help people manage their finances and debts. Much of the support can be provided in their own home.

Housing First works so well because it is a mainstream national homelessness policy with a common framework, according to Juha Kaakinen, Chief executive of Y-Foundation, a social enterprise that provides housing to Housing First. It involves a wide partnership of people: the state, volunteers, municipalities and NGOs.

Chronic housing shortages contribute to homelessness. In Finland, increasing the supply of affordable rental housing was a critical part of the approach.
Finland used its existing social housing, but also bought flats from the private market and built new housing blocks in order to provide homes.
There are no more homeless shelters in Finland. They have all been turned into supported housing.

(Next column)

It all costs money, but it saves more
“All this costs money,” admits Kaakinen. “But there is ample evidence from many countries that shows it is always more cost-effective to aim to end homelessness instead of simply trying to manage it. Investment in ending homelessness always pays back, to say nothing of the human and ethical reasons.”

The savings in terms of the services needed by one person can be up to 9,600 euros a year when compared to the costs that would result from that person being homeless, he adds.

Not everyone in Finland was happy with the new policy.
Firstly, many of those working with the homeless objected to the idea that they should receive a home first, without having to sort out any of their problems first.

But Housing First argues that it’s much more difficult to solve any problems without having a roof over your head. In the words of one person who benefited from the scheme: “Homelessness also meant daily alcohol use. It was not so much about getting drunk, but a way to pass the time. When I’ve had an apartment, I’ve spent several months without drinking. You can’t get sober when you’re homeless, no one can.”

And in residential areas where new housing blocks were established, many residents were unhappy. They were worried that it would adversely affect their neighborhood.

Part of the approach of Housing First is that a sense of community is very important. For instance, when a new housing block is built, much work is done in the local neighborhood at the same time.

That includes keeping the local community informed through open house events, encouraging residents to interact openly with the local community as well as working in the local community picking up litter and taking care of the neighborhood's green spaces.

When a new supported housing unit opens, it typically takes about two years for the area to get accustomed to the unit and its residents. It takes about the same amount of time for the unit’s residents to adjust well to the environment.

Another issue with the policy was that it didn’t seem to be reaching women. Women’s homelessness has not decreased, even though homelessness and long-term homelessness in general has. Consequently, closer attention has been paid to solving and finding solutions to women’s homelessness.

Can this work abroad?
The Y-Foundation believes that the model can be replicated in Europe, even though housing conditions vary.

In the UK, a study by the homeless charity Crisis found that a policy of this kind in the UK could be more than five times as effective and nearly five times more cost-effective than existing services.

But a recent Government report concluded that, whilst the work of Housing First in Finland was to be commended, “we believe that resources should be focused on supporting more mainstream efforts to tackle homelessness and prevent instances of entrenched homelessness.”

Kaakinen says: “There is no quick fix to all life situations but a solid base provides the foundations upon which to improve the welfare of the homeless. The first step in change is the change in attitudes.”
Finland is the only EU state not in the midst of a housing crisis (March 2017)

What is Housing First?
Housing First means ending homelessness instead of managing it. The basic idea is to offer permanent housing and needs-based support for homeless people instead of temporary accommodation in hostels or in emergency shelters. Permanent housing means an independent rental flat with own rental contract.

In Housing First, people do not have to earn their right to housing by proving their capability to manage their lives. Instead, they are provided with a stable home and individually tailored support.

How has it worked in Finland?
Since 2008 the national homelessness strategy in Finland has been based on the Housing First model, as a result of dedicated cooperation between the state, municipalities and NGOs.
Investments have been made to provide affordable housing, and shelters have been converted into supported housing units. New services and methods of help have been developed to match the multiple needs of individual tenants.
Finland has all but eradicated rough sleeping and sustainably housed a significant number of long-term homeless people. Finland is the only country in Europe where the number of homeless people has declined in recent years.

What has the public response to Housing First been? Was there any backlash?
There was a strong political will to find new solutions for homelessness. There were a few local reactions concerning the location of new service facilities. However, those were mainly overcome by open interaction with the neighborhoods.

(Next column)

Financially, how does Housing First work?
The key things are affordable housing and support. Extra funding that the state has allocated for flats and services has been an incentive for the municipalities to implement Housing First.
Tenants pay rent and are entitled to receive housing benefits. Depending on their income, they may contribute to the cost of the services. The rest is covered by the municipalities. They provide the support themselves or buy support from other service providers, mainly from the NGOs.
Stable living conditions enable the use of mainstream services instead of using expensive emergency services. This will save money in a long term.

Where there any initial problems that needed to be ironed out?
The focus of the national strategy was clear from the start. The city specific implementation plans included concrete objectives and resources to meet them. Therefore, no major problems were encountered.
There was, however, some work to be done on attitudes. For example, the unconditional housing was hard to accept by some people in NGOs which had previously been working with a different set of values.

How easily can the model be replicated in other European countries?
The Housing First model can be replicated even though housing conditions may vary from country to country in Europe. Providing permanent homes for the homeless should be a target instead of temporary solutions.

How much interest have you had in the scheme? Who seems most supportive?
In Finland this has been a national strategy, not a local project. This new approach and convincing results have raised broad interest internationally.
The Shockingly Simple, Surprisingly Cost-Effective Way to End Homelessness (February 2015)

In the past nine years, Utah has decreased the number of homeless by 72 percent—largely by finding and building apartments where they can live, permanently, with no strings attached. It’s a program, or more accurately a philosophy, called Housing First.

We could, as a country, look at the root causes of homelessness and try to fix them. One of the main causes is that a lot of people can’t afford a place to live. They don’t have enough money to pay rent, even for the cheapest dives available. Prices are rising, inventory is extremely tight, and the upshot is, as a new report by the Urban Institute finds, that there’s only 29 affordable units available for every 100 extremely low-income households. So we could create more jobs, redistribute the wealth, improve education, socialize health care basically redesign our political and economic systems to make sure everybody can afford a roof over their heads.

To understand how the state did that it helps to know that homeless-service advocates roughly divide their clients into two groups: those who will be homeless for only a few weeks or a couple of months, and those who are “chronically homeless,” meaning they have been without a place to live for more than a year, and have other problems—mental illness or substance abuse or other debilitating damage. The vast majority, 85 percent, of the nation’s estimated 580,000 homeless are of the temporary variety, mainly men but also women and whole families who spend relatively short periods of time sleeping in shelters or cars, then get their lives together and, despite an economy increasingly stacked against them, find a place to live, somehow.

However, the remaining 15 percent, the chronically homeless, fill up the shelters night after night and spend a lot of time in emergency rooms and jails. This is expensive—costing between $30,000 and $50,000 per person per year according to the Interagency Council on Homelessness. And there are a few people in every city, like Reno’s infamous “Million-Dollar Murray,” who really bust the bank. So in recent years, both local and federal efforts to solve the homelessness epidemic have concentrated on the chronic population, currently about 84,000 nationwide.

The model for dealing with the chronically homeless at that time, both here and in most places across the nation, was to get them “ready” for housing by guiding them through drug rehabilitation programs or mental-health counseling, or both. If and when they stopped drinking or doing drugs or acting crazy, they were given heavily subsidized housing on the condition that they stay clean and relatively sane. This model, sometimes called “linear residential treatment” or “continuum of care,” seemed to be a good idea, but it didn’t work very well because relatively few chronically homeless people ever completed the work required to become “ready,” and those who did often could not stay clean or stop having mental episodes, so they lost their apartments and became homeless again.

In 1992, a psychologist at NYU named Sam Tsemberis decided to test a new model. His idea was to just give the chronically homeless a place to live, on a permanent basis, without making them pass any tests or attend any programs or fill out any forms.

“Okay,” Tsemberis recalls thinking, “they’re schizophrenic, alcoholic, traumatized, brain damaged. What if we don’t make them pass any tests or fill out any forms? They aren’t any good at that stuff. Inability to pass tests and fill out forms was a large part of how they ended up homeless in the first place. Why not just give them a place to live and offer them free counseling and therapy, health care, and let them decide if they want to participate? Why not treat chronically homeless people as human beings and members of our community who have a basic right to housing and health care?”

Tsemberis and his associates, a group called Pathways to Housing, ran a large test in which they provided apartments to 242 chronically homeless individuals, no questions asked. In their apartments they could drink, take drugs, and suffer mental breakdowns, as long as they didn’t hurt anyone or bother their neighbors. If they needed and wanted to go to rehab or detox, these services were provided. If they needed and wanted medical care, it was also provided. But it was up to the client to decide what services and care to participate in.

The results were remarkable. After five years, 88 percent of the clients were still in their apartments, and the cost of caring for them in their own homes was less than what it would have cost to take care of them on the street. 
A subsequent study of 4,670+ New York City homeless with severe mental illness found that each cost an average of $40,449 a year in emergency room, shelter, and other expenses to the system, and that getting those individuals in supportive housing saved an average of $16,282. 
Soon other cities such as Seattle and Portland, Maine, as well as states like Rhode Island and Illinois, ran their own tests with similar results. 
Denver found that emergency-service costs alone went down 73 percent for people put in Housing First, for a savings of $31,545 per person; detox visits went down 82 percent, for an additional savings of $8,732. By 2003, Housing First had been embraced by the Bush administration.

Still, the new paradigm was slow to catch on. Old practices are sometimes hard to give up, even when they don’t work. When Housing First was initially proposed in Salt Lake City, some homeless advocates thought the new model would be a disaster. Also, it would be hard to sell the ultra-conservative Utah Legislature on giving free homes to drug addicts and alcoholics. And the Legislature would have to back the idea because even though most of the funding for new construction would come from the federal government, the state would have to pick up the balance and find ways to plan, build, and manage the new units. And where are you going to put them? Not in my backyard.

(Next column)

“The old model was well-intentioned but misinformed. You actually need housing to achieve sobriety and stability, not the other way around.”

“Going from homelessness into a home changes a person’s psychological identity from outcast to member of the community,” Tsemberis says. 
The old model “was well-intentioned but misinformed. It is a long stairway that required sobriety and required stability in order to get into housing. So many people could never achieve that while on the street. You actually need housing to achieve sobriety and stability, not the other way around. But that was the system that was there. Some people called it a housing readiness industry, because all these programs were in business to improve people to get them ready for housing. Improve their character, improve their behavior, improve their moral standing. There is also this attitude about poor people, like somehow they brought this upon themselves by not behaving right.” By contrast, he adds, “Housing First provides a new sense of belonging that is reinforced in every interaction with new neighbors and other community members. We operate with the belief that housing is a basic right. Everyone on the streets deserves a home. He or she should not have to earn it, or prove they are ready or worthy.”

Utah found that giving people supportive housing cost the system about half as much as leaving the homeless to live on the street.

Can Housing First scale to areas where land and services are expensive [...], and where data about the benefits of offering the homeless a permanent residence might not withstand the whims of politicians?

In New York City, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg rolled out a well-regarded Housing First program focusing on mentally ill individuals. But he then gutted housing subsidies for the general homeless population, including families, after saying he thought they promoted passivity instead of “client responsibility.”
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg slashed housing subsidies after saying he thought they promoted passivity instead of “client responsibility.” Today, 60,000 New Yorkers are homeless.

Today, homelessness is the highest since the Great Depression, with 60,000 New Yorkers—including 26,000 children—on the streets, in the subway tunnels, and in the city’s sprawling network of 255 shelters, conveniently located far from the playgrounds of the 1 percent.
Every month I get a paper from Welfare saying how much they just paid for me and my two kids to stay in our one room in this shelter. $3,444! Every month!” one exasperated mom told The New Yorker. “Give me $900 and I’ll find me and my kids an apartment, I promise you.” 
The new mayor, Bill de Blasio, has pledged to reinvest in supportive and affordable housing, but 1 in 5 residents now live below the poverty line, and demand is high.

But the real test case might be California, where 20 percent of the nation’s homeless live. 
Los Angeles has 34,393 homeless people, more than a quarter of whom are chronically so. 
San Francisco has 6,408 homeless,
Santa Clara County—home to San Jose and the greater Silicon Valley—has 7,567, and housing costs are among the highest in the nation. 
It takes three minimum-wage jobs to pay for an average one-bedroom apartment there. Tax credits for construction and Section 8 vouchers for rent don’t come close to the actual costs.

New housing needs to be found, or built, but with the market so tight, finding housing—any housing—is a huge challenge, one made worse when Gov. Jerry Brown slashed all $1.7 billion of the state’s redevelopment funds during the 2011 budget crisis. (Those funds have not rematerialized now that California has a huge budget surplus.) So they’re getting creative—”tiny homes, pod housing, stackable—we’re looking at it all,” Loving says. 
And they’re employing creative financing efforts, like “pay-for-success” bonds, in which investors (mostly foundations) would stake the construction funds and get a small return if the savings materialize for the county.

Advocates estimate it could take up to a billion dollars, half from grants and philanthropy, the other half in the form of county land and services (for the state of California). “The work we’re going to be doing in the next year,” Loving says, “is determining where and how to create new units and how much they are going to cost and where we can get the resources from—whether it’s private or public money. The money is all here. 
We have eBay, Adobe, Applied Materials, Google.” 
The hope is that the emphasis on quantified efficiency will persuade tech firms and billionaires obsessed with metrics that Housing First is a solid civic investment. “It’s fascinating because we have this problem we could totally solve if we wanted to,” Loving says. “We solve complicated problems all the time, right? Silicon Valley is an example of solving complicated problems all the time.”

If places as different—economically, demographically, politically—as Salt Lake City and Santa Clara County can make Housing First work, is there any place that can’t? To be sure, the return on investment will vary, depending on how you count the various benefits of fewer people living in the streets, clogging emergency rooms, and crowding jails. 
But the overall equation is clear: “Ironically, ending homelessness is actually cheaper than continuing to treat the problem. This would not only benefit the people who are homeless; it would be healing for the rest of us to live in a more compassionate and just nation,” Tsemberis says. “It’s not a matter of whether we know how to fix the problem. Homelessness is not a disease like cancer or Alzheimer’s where we don’t yet have a cure. We have the cure for homelessness—it’s housing. What we lack is political will.”
How 5 different cities are handling homelessness (2016)

Salt Lake City
Utah has managed to reduce its homeless population by 72 percent in the past nine years by implementing a Housing First Program in Salt Lake City. The policy has gained national attention for its success and is serving as a model for programs in North Carolina and San Francisco.
Tenants in the Housing First Program pay $50 a month, or 30 percent of their income. The central idea is to give people shelter first, then focus on drug abuse, mental disorders or other personal issues.
The article pointed out that the best approach to solve homelessness is multi-faceted, but should essentially "create more jobs, redistribute the wealth, improve education, socialize health care, basically redesign our political and economic systems to make sure everybody can afford a roof over their heads.”
Utah’s Fourth Street Clinic, which offers the homeless the medical attention they may need but often struggle to afford, is another successful facet of the city's homelessness plan. Since 1988, the clinic has dispensed medicine and provided medical support to more than 4,800 Utahns without a home.

Austin, Texas
Austin is utilizing the recent tiny home trend to provide affordable housing to those who can’t, according to NBC News.
Community First, as one neighborhood is called, provides around 250 homeless people with a small home on a compact 27-acre lot. One resident referred to her new home as "33.5 feet of linear bliss."
The tiny neighborhood also has a church, a garden, chicken coops, a theater and a medical center, NBC reported, but residents must be able to prove they are homeless and submit to a criminal background check. Having a record, however, won't disqualify a possible resident. The most expensive property on the lot is less than $400 a month.

(Next column)

San Francisco
The city of San Francisco has not effectively addressed its homelessness situation, according to a recent report in The San Francisco Chronicle. The article found that the homeless population in the Bay Area had not changed for at least 20 year.
The city has tried a few different methods in the past, including a “shelter-bed-and-a-sandwich approach” and permanent housing options, but neither fixed any of the mental health problems and there simply wasn’t enough space.
Possible solutions could be found in "private-public funding models, cheaper forms of modular housing and streamlining techniques for helping people move out of supportive housing after they’ve been stabilized,” according to the article.
Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness said the problem has always been the money, and said the city needs “a sustained revenue source to double the housing units for homeless people, and to do prevention to keep people in their homes and to not become homeless to begin with.”

Aurora, Colorado
Colorado’s third-largest city announced it will use its controversial marijuana legislation to help its homeless population.
The city plans to allocate $1.5 million in legalized marijuana taxes to combat homelessness, according to the Huffington Post. The money has already been divided among different nonprofits to spend as they see fit.
The Colfax Community network, for example, will receive $200,000 to support its work of helping low-income families who find shelter in motels. And the city will provide two outreach groups with vans to help them serve the homeless in medical crisis, HuffPo said. The city will evaluate how the group spent the money before deciding to continue the funding next year.

Los Angeles
Los Angeles has proposed numerous efforts to combat the issue of homelessness over the years, but most recently announced a $2 billion plan to build shelters for people who live on the street and have mental disabilities in efforts to prevent cyclical homelessness.
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors will propose a .5 percent tax for those making more than $1 million a year that would go toward funding the county’s homelessness plan. The board estimates the tax would bring in about $250 to $350 million each year.a great zakat/tithing idea
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority recently found that there were 46,874 people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County, a 5.7 percent increase from 2015.
8 incredible innovations helping homeless people around the world (January 2017)

Homelessness is widespread and hard to solve, affecting more than 560,000 people in the U.S. and hundreds of millions around the world.

We need to tackle poverty, lack of affordable housing, unemployment and more to truly arrive at solutions. But in the meantime, innovations can offer much-needed support to some of the world's most vulnerable populations.

1. The EMPWR coat
The Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based nonprofit that aims to lift people out of poverty and homelessness through employment, created an innovative coat that doubles as a sleeping bag and an over-the-shoulder bag for homeless populations.
The coat is a durable, water-resistant jacket made of Cordura fabric. It costs $100 to "sponsor" a coat, distributed to those in need.
EMPWR coats have been donated across 40 states in the U.S., seven Canadian provinces and a few other countries around the world.

2. Lava Mae mobile showers
Launched in June 2014, Lava Mae is a San Francisco-based nonprofit offering mobile showers and sanitation to people experiencing homelessness. The goal isn't just cleanliness — it's to provide dignity and "radical hospitality."
The effort started when founder Doniece Sandoval converted a defunct San Francisco city bus into a mobile shower unit, and has grown to provide shower trailers and other hygiene services to 2,400+ people. 
Lava Mae is currently expanding to Los Angeles. In 2016, Sandoval received KIND Foundation's $500,000 grand prize for "transforming her community through kindness."

3. The WeatherHYDE tent
This is a reversible tent created by billionBricks, a nonprofit working with homeless and displaced communities in South and Southeast Asia.
It protects homeless populations and impoverished communities in lieu of affordable shelter, with one side keeping out cold temperatures, and the other side lined with reflective panels to keep out extreme heat. The goal of the easy-to-assemble tent is to save children's lives, offer privacy for women and allow for adaptation to urban environments.

4. Helping Heart contactless payment jacket 
Amsterdam media company N=5 came up with a new, high-tech way for people to give money to people experiencing homelessness: Wireless payments, through a jacket pocket.
The Helping Heart jacket is a prototype that takes contactless donations — all you need to do is hover your smart credit card over the front pocket to help someone in need. Donations have a 1 Euro limit, and all of the money has to be redeemed through an official homeless shelter. It's never redeemed as cash; all money goes toward food or places to sleep, or things like vocational training courses and even savings accounts.
Trials within the homeless community garnered positive feedback, while advocacy organizations support how the jacket helps people toward long-term goals. N=5 hopes to produce the Helping Heart jacket at scale in an affordable and compact way.

(Next column)

5. The GiveSafe app
GiveSafe is an organization that distributes quarter-sized "beacons" to homeless people through shelters in Seattle, Washington. People with the GiveSafe app will receive a notification when they pass someone holding a beacon, providing more information about the person and an opportunity to donate money.
People experiencing homelessness can use the donations at select stores or through a nonprofit counselor on things like clothing, transportation, haircuts and more.
The goal is to "remove the friction and barriers to giving."

6. WeCount
WeCount is an online app that allows homeless people to safely ask for items they need, and provides a way for people in their community to donate directly. Anyone can sign up with an email address or a text message-enabled phone number, and users choose whether they want to donate or receive help.
Categories for donations include outdoor gear, home goods, children's needs and clothing. 
People can either donate gently used items they have on hand, or see what homeless people in their community need specifically.
WeCount then matches the donated items with those in need at specific pick-up sites. The service is currently available in Seattle.

7. DoNotPay chatbot
An undergrad student at Stanford University created an AI chatbot to help people get out of parking tickets, but he soon found another use for his innovation: Providing homeless people and refugees with free legal aid.
DoNotPay, launched by 19-year-old Joshua Browder, asks a user a series of questions to figure out the best way to help them. The bot then takes that information to draft a claim letter, saving people on legal fees that can run into hundreds of dollars.
He conferred with lawyers to help him craft responses for homeless people specifically, and also researched trends on why public housing applicants are denied in order to help particularly vulnerable populations (those living with mental illness, for example).
While currently focusing on the UK, Browder hopes to expand DoNotPay to the U.S. soon.

8. PSINET algorithm
Created by a team of social workers and computer scientists at the University of Southern California, PSINET helps prevent the spread of HIV among homeless teens.
Through artificial intelligence, the algorithm (called PSINET) helps organizations identify the best person in a given homeless community to spread HIV prevention information among young people. The selection is made using math and data, based on a mapped-out network of friendships.
This Strategy for Ending Homelessness Is Catching On Around the World (November 2017)

For 20 years, Anthony Hopkins slept on the sidewalks of Washington, D.C., occasionally stopping by his mother’s for a shower or visiting a drop-in center for a bite to eat.
Hopkins lived day to day, struggling to manage his mental illness and substance use disorder. He assumed finding permanent housing was a fantasy.
An apartment seemed like a rare reward for the few homeless folks who managed to get sober, get a job, or fulfill other complicated requirements — and then were lucky enough to find vacancies in supportive housing sites.

So he didn’t worry about the future, only his present realities.
“The simple fact is: if you don’t have a place to live, you don’t worry about a job or setting goals or your responsibilities,” Hopkins told Global Citizen. “You worry about where you’re going to get your next meal and if you’re going to wake up the next morning.”
But in 2008, the director of the drop-in center asked Hopkins: “Are you tired of being homeless? Are you tired of living on the street?”
The man told Hopkins he could have a permanent apartment without jumping through the usual hoops if he attended an appointment with the organization Pathways to Housing the next morning. To Hopkins, it seemed too good to be true.

Natural Disasters Makes 14 Million People Homeless Each Year, Reports Show

By giving Hopkins a permanent place to live, Pathways to Housing enabled him to focus on improving other parts of his life.
That’s the basic idea behind the Housing First approach. It’s a strategy that has spread from Nyc to Scandinavia and from Australia to Argentina, since it was developed by psychologist Dr. Sam Tsemberis in 1992, the same year he founded Pathways to Housing in New York City.
While the approach may sound intuitive, homelessness is often perceived as a shameful personal failing or a natural consequence of severe mental illness, and that stigma has helped give rise to a series of complex requirements that homeless people are mandated to meet before being given housing.
The Housing First model bypasses such stigmas and tackles homelessness at its most basic level — a simple lack of a roof over one’s head.

As housing costs increase and incomes stagnate around the globe, homelessness is getting worse.
The number of homeless people in France increased by nearly 50% between 2001 and 2012 and in Germany, the total homeless population rose by 35% between 2012 and 2014.
In Australia, one in 20 are homeless. 
The number of people who accessed homeless services increased by 14% between 2013 and 2016.
Homelessness is also on the rise throughout Brazil’s biggest cities. 
Earlier this month, 20,000 homeless residents of Sao Paulo demonstrated to demand more affordable housing. According to the Sao Paulo government, the number of people sleeping on the streets nearly doubled between 2000 and 2015.

(Next column)

In particular, people with severe mental illnesses — the population Tsemberis had in mind when he developed the “Housing First” approach — are at high risk of becoming chronically homeless. They often lack the capacity to comply with the various requirements of temporary shelters or treatment programs that could eventually lead to housing, Tsemberis said.

“What’s frustrating about homelessness is you can solve it right away. It’s not like you need to develop a cure,” Tsemberis told Global Citizen. “There is so much evidence showing how Housing First works, but it takes political will.”

Finland, Norway, and Denmark have all demonstrated their commitment to implementing the Housing First model because they take “the idea that housing is basic human right very seriously,” Tsemberis said.
Finland has nearly ended street homelessness by funding permanent housing programs. The Nordic nation has reduced the number of emergency shelter beds in the entire country to just 58.

In the US, three states — Virginia, Delaware, and Connecticut — along with 51 large communities, including Houston, Texas and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have ended veteran homelessness altogether thanks to permanent housing programs for the chronically homeless. Across the nation, the population of homeless veterans decreased by almost half between 2010 and 2016  — though 40,000 homeless vets remain on the streets.

In September, French president Emmanuel Macron announced his commitment to funding 50,000 permanent apartments, which would immediately house chronically homeless people.
Since her election in 2015, the mayor of Madrid (Spain) announced the development of 135 new units (and Tsemberis tweeted that the Spanish capital is on pace to end street homelessness by 2020).
In comparison, about 60,000 homeless people still rely on the New York City municipal shelter system every night.

The United Nations considers housing a human right. 
Homelessness is just the most visible manifestation of economic and social policies that exacerbate worldwide poverty and inequality — “the very tiny tip of a much larger iceberg” Tsemberis said.

Tsemberis said Global Citizens can start to address homelessness by recognizing the discomfort we feel when we encounter a homeless person. That discomfort is an indication that homelessness is unnatural and inhumane, he said.
“I do believe that all of us sacrifice part of our humanity by being able to walk past a homeless person,” Tsemberis said. “It goes against human instinct. You have to shove a piece of yourself down to walk by someone who is suffering in the street.”
“We owe it to them,” he continued. “And we owe it to ourselves to restore a sense of community and humanity.
We can end the homelessness crisis (March 2018)

By stabilizing people through shelter, moving them into permanent housing, and implementing assistance programs to keep them in their housing, we can not only reduce, but eliminate, homelessness in New York City.

Since modern homelessness began more than thirty years ago, research and experience have overwhelmingly shown that investments in permanent housing are extraordinarily effective in reducing homelessness — as well as being cost-effective.

Many of the most successful housing-based policies designed to address the homelessness crisis — in particular, permanent supportive housing for individuals living with disabilities and other special needs — were pioneered in New York City and have been replicated throughout the country. 

Numerous research studies have consistently confirmed that long-term housing assistance not only successfully reduces homelessness — it is also less expensive than shelter and other institutional care. 

Proven housing-based policies include:
•Federal housing assistance: Federal housing programs are one of the most successful housing-based solutions to reduce homelessness. The two largest federal housing programs are public housing and federal housing vouchers, known as Housing Choice Vouchers or Section 8 vouchers. Housing vouchers allow low-income households to rent modest market-rate housing of their choice and provide a flexible subsidy that adjusts with the family’s income over time. Studies show that public housing and federal housing vouchers are highly successful at reducing family homelessness and in ensuring that these families remain stably housed out of the shelter system.

(Next column)
•Permanent supportive housing: Pioneered in New York City in the 1980s, permanent supportive housing has now proven to be a successful and cost-effective solution to the homelessness crisis. The supportive housing model combines affordable housing assistance with vital support services for individuals living with mental illness, HIV/AIDS or other serious health problems. Moreover, numerous research studies have shown that permanent supportive housing costs less than other forms of emergency and institutional care. The landmark 1990 City-State “New York/New York Agreement,” which has been renewed twice, is the premier example of a permanent supportive housing initiative that successfully reduced homelessness in New York City and saved taxpayer dollars that would otherwise have been spent on costly shelters and hospitalizations.

•“Housing first”: Another proven solution developed in New York City and replicated nationwide is the “housing first” approach to street homelessness, which builds on the success of permanent supportive housing. The “housing first” approach involves moving long-term street homeless individuals — the majority of whom are living with mental illness, substance abuse disorders and other serious health problems — directly into subsidized housing and then linking them to support services, either on-site or in the community. Research studies have found that the majority of long-term street homeless people moved into “housing first” apartments remain stably housed and experience significant improvements in their health problems. Much like permanent supportive housing, the “housing first” approach is far less costly than emergency and institutional care, such as shelters, hospitals and correctional facilities.

The fundamental cause of homelessness is the widening housing affordability gap. In New York City, that gap has widened significantly over the past decades, which have seen the loss of hundreds of thousands of units of affordable rental housing. At the same time that housing affordability has worsened, government at every level has cut back on already-inadequate housing assistance for low-income people and has reduced investments in building and preserving affordable housing. Finally, the weakening of rent regulation laws, which help keep around half of all rental apartments in New York City affordable, has accelerated the loss of low-cost housing. 
To address New York City’s wide housing affordability gap, the Federal, State and City governments must significantly increase investments in affordable rental housing, with a significant portion targeted to homeless families and individuals. Similarly, strengthening rent regulation laws would preserve affordable housing and protect tenants, allowing them to keep their homes.
Solving homelessness — obvious if not easy (June 2016)

The obvious solution is that we must keep people on the verge from becoming homeless, because once on the streets they experience a dehumanizing and costly downward spiral. 
Job loss, long-term unemployment, lack of affordable housing options, and gentrification are all contributing factors to homelessness.
In San Francisco only 10 percent of the substantial funds spent on the homeless is focused on keeping people housed.
The answer is that we must build more supportive housing (housing with social services) for the homeless. This solution takes money, political will, focus and coordination.

Public and elected officials in some U.S. cities are willing to tackle the problem and spend money.
San Francisco now spends nearly a quarter of a billion dollars on homelessness each year. That works out to nearly $35,000 per homeless person, given the latest count. The problem is how the money is spent and how programs are coordinated.

I would characterize the current approach as scattershot (random and haphazard). The underlying causes of homelessness are so varied, and the homeless population so diverse, that a myriad of programs have emerged in an attempt deal with the entire spectrum. 
San Francisco now has 400 separate contracts for services with over 70 different nonprofit community groups. These community organizations provide mental health services, addiction programs, employment training, emergency housing and more.

‘Housing first’
It is common knowledge among experts and practitioners in the homeless field that supportive housing – permanent housing with social services on-site – is the best approach and is where public money should be focused. 
As far back as 2002, research by Dennis Culhane at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that the cost reduction for social services, hospital visits and emergency responses is so great, when homeless are instead housed, that the latter plan more than pays for itself. 
This strategy, known as “housing first,” is not only the most humane approach, it’s also the most economical one. 

Why is “housing first” successful?  When you are homeless, survival is your goal. Finding a meal, a safe place to sleep and a toilet are your priorities, not health care, mental health treatment, substance abuse programs or job training.

Malcolm Gladwell’s 2006 article in The New Yorker, “Million-Dollar Murray,” describes the case of Murray Barr, a homeless ex-marine who was on the streets of Reno for a decade. Murray was an alcoholic, and while he underwent several treatment programs, he would inevitably relapse and return to the streets, and eventually to the local emergency room. Between police interventions, emergency services and hospital stays, Murray had cost Nevada an estimated $1 million. Had there been “housing first” perhaps Murray would have lived longer and better, and cost the state far less.

The underlying reasons for homelessness are many, and rarely is the individual at fault — so everyone must be viewed as equally worthy of housing.
Mental illness is prevalent among the homeless, and we have failed as a society to provide community mental health strategies after California, and then the nation, retreated from centrally funded treatment centers in the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

We incarcerate many and provide little to help those released to re-enter society. Many become homeless. 
Drugs are prevalent, cheap and quickly destructive, often leading to homelessness and acute health problems.
A large and growing segment of the homeless population is very young or very old. 
•Many of the young are aged out of foster care and have few options. 
•Others may have been in abusive homes and escaped. 
•Many of the old have severe physical disabilities, little social security and are not employable.

Even were the public perception of the homeless to change (from being those at fault, to being those at risk), providing housing for them in established neighborhoods is a hard sell. Residents of south Berkeley are enraged at the notion of the Claremont Hotel adding 45 condominiums on its property, each of which is likely to sell for $2 million. Imagine the resistance, were there a proposal for supportive housing anywhere in the area.

The first time I designed an adult shelter it was within a warehouse, a poignant example of “warehousing the poor.” Locals still objected, as it was next to a cemetery and they didn’t want homeless near the grave sites of their loved ones.

SOLUTIONS - Here then are a few solutions.
Institute anti-snob zoning
California needs a tougher “anti-snob” zoning law, similar to the one enacted in 1969 in Massachusetts. That law not only streamlines the regulatory process for development, but may also allow for variances in local zoning codes, to facilitate affordable housing projects. A more conservative approach would simply disallow appeals to city councils, and lawsuits by opponents, if a project abides by current zoning laws. This would reduce the cost of the housing by negating drawn out litigation, and by providing assurances that pre-development funds will result in a building.
(Next column)

Toughen housing-element plans
Every city in California is required to have a housing element — a development plan that includes affordable housing, shelters and supportive housing. There is, however, little recourse against a city if it fails to enact such a plan. The threat of not receiving funds for affordable housing is ineffective if the municipality sees such housing as a low priority.
Furthermore, the plan requires that a city identify locations where shelters may be created without a discretionary review. All other locations require the same type of review as any other project. Because of the opposition to housing for the homeless, this in essence precludes such housing outside of the specially designated district. Similarly, supportive housing must be treated like all other projects, and therefore without a stronger anti-snob provision, these too will be restricted.

Build smaller projects 
While we need more housing, any one project should be modest in scale. Projects of 30 to 40 units are large enough to achieve an economy of scale both for construction and the operation of on-site services, yet small enough to avoid an institutional quality while enabling a cohesive sense of community.  Projects of this scale are also more likely to be acceptable to a community. Larger projects, while more economical to building and operate, will encounter increased community resistance and, once occupied, more likely stigmatize the residents.

Use existing buildings
It is not necessarily true that rehabilitating existing buildings is less expensive than new construction, but there can be advantages. If an existing building is viewed by the community as a blight or a nuisance, any upgrade may be acceptable. In Los Angeles both nonprofit and private developers are buying and then converting “nuisance” motels into 500 units of permanent supportive housing. The city will issue vouchers to support rent and services at these sites.

Manage projects well
In 1994, a motel was converted into affordable housing for formerly homeless and those of very low income. Community opposition was long, bitter and litigious, but the project prevailed. The project is now an integral part of the neighborhood, in part because it is well managed and well maintained. It is difficult to counter neighborhood fears that unsavory occupants will lead to lower property values and a deteriorating neighborhood. Only by building more successful projects can the reality overcome the perception.

Shelters are a necessary albeit unsatisfactory solution. We must have the beds, bathrooms, meals, healthcare and treatment programs where they are accessible and available. But shelters are difficult places — seen as unsafe, unhealthy, noisy, institutional and restrictive — and oftentimes people would rather stay on the street than use them.
Just as housing projects can be too large, so, too, can shelters. Shelter design needs to evolve from huge rooms with hundreds of beds to something less intimidating. The dilemma is how to create a sense of privacy for the occupant while enabling the staff to provide security and control. In the shelters I have designed, there are no more than 10 to 20 beds in a cluster. A cohesive group formed on the street for support and security could occupy a small dorm, something not currently allowed in most shelters. This is only one of many strategies that can make shelters less institutional and more welcoming.

Tent encampments on public streets are dangerous and unhealthy, both for the homeless and those who live nearby. They do nothing to counteract the underlying causes of homelessness. But we cannot force people to use shelters, and if they view encampments as the only option, many will remain on the streets by themselves.
Some encampments are better than others. Several cities have set aside land for groups of homeless to settle. For some time there was a community of 26 people living in geodesic domes under a freeway near downtown Los Angeles. Portland, Oregon had a self-governing encampment called Dignity Village on city property. Among the advantages are a sense of community and self-determination, both of which are often lacking in shelters or when people are living on the streets alone. In addition, the relative concentration of homeless people in such encampments makes it easier for outreach teams to connect them to the services they need.
But these group encampments are also often not clean or safe. While local authorities sanction some, there are rarely infrastructure improvements such as paving, lighting and sanitary sewers. If there are to be encampments, there should also be such improvement, as well as meals, social services and security. Such monitored encampments would be more economical than rousting people from sidewalks on a recurrent basis, and then cleaning up after their eviction — only to have them settle elsewhere or return. And they would be far more effective in connecting people to services.

Tiny houses
There has been much discussion of the “small house” solution; the idea is that we can manufacture very small dwellings for the homeless. But where would these mini dwellings go? How are they connected to the city infrastructure? The implication is that it is only the lack of shelter that makes someone homeless. But someone with mental illness, isolated in a tiny dwelling, is not likely to be able to live independently.
Were these small dwellings aggregated in a community then there is both the security and independence of a home, but also the support and services that can help them stay in that home. 
This is the basis of a recent project I designed in Sacramento. The tiny dwelling units are clustered into groups of 10 houses around a court. These courtyard clusters are then connected by a main pedestrian street to the community building that includes social services.

Achieving ‘housing-first’ solutions to homelessness
The goal must be to build supportive housing — housing with social services — and this will take continued political will and money in order overcome neighborhood resistance to such housing. It will also take time. While we work toward this goal, we should improve shelter design, convert existing buildings in marginal use and continue programs already in place, but with renewed efficiency, and evidence-based evaluation of these programs.
Utah found a brilliantly effective solution for homelessness (February 2015)

The entire state of Utah has fewer than 300 homeless people and will likely eliminate chronic homelessness by the end of the year.

"We did it by giving homes to homeless people," Lloyd Pendleton, director of Utah's Homeless Task Force, told "Daily Show" correspondent Hasan Minhaj in January.

Since 2005, the state has reduced the number of people living on the streets by almost 75% by giving them access to permanent housing, no strings attached.

The strategy, called Housing First, gives homeless people the stability that's lacking in temporary solutions like shelters and halfway houses. The tactic began as a test by New York University psychologist Sam Tsemberis in 1992.

"I thought, they're schizophrenic, alcoholic, traumatized, brain damaged," Tsemberis recalls. "Why not just give them a place to live and offer them free counseling and therapy, healthcare, and let them decide if they want to participate?"

Tsemberis tested his theory on 242 chronically homeless people in New York City. Five years later, 88% were still living in their apartments at a lower cost to taxpayers and the state government. The idea caught on in other places like Seattle, Denver, and the state of Massachusetts. The experiment in Utah is likely the most successful Housing First program.

The Housing First project began in Utah as a 10-year project with the goal of eliminating homelessness entirely by the end of 2015. While state legislators were reluctant to support the plan at first, they eventually embraced the idea, albeit cautiously.
(Next column)

And the housing is, indeed, permanent. People get to keep their state-provided apartment even if they keep abusing drugs or alcohol. In this way, Housing First has been more effective at keeping people off the streets than transitional housing, which requires that homeless people get a job and get sober before they are given more permanent options.

"If you move people into permanent supportive housing first, and then give them help, it seems to work better," Nan Roman, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Homelessness, told The New Yorker. "It's intuitive, in a way. People do better when they have stability."

Initially, critics feared Utah would lose tons of money by giving the homeless permanent housing, and that doing so would just "incentivize mooching," as Minhaj put it. However, state officials found Housing First actually saving the government money over time, especially as it encourages people to become more self-sufficient sooner.

Moreover, Housing First homes are not free: New tenants have to pay $50 or 30% of their income to rent each month (whichever amount is greater).

Between shelters, jail stays, ambulances, and hospital visits, caring for one homeless person typically costs the government $20,000 a year. Providing one homeless person with permanent housing, however — as well as a social worker to help them transition into mainstream society — costs the state $8,000, The New Yorker reported in September.

"Perhaps the most potent question raised by the program's success is how safety nets, including a home to which people return each night, impact people," Utah newspaper Deseret News wrote in an editorial last year. "There are two possibilities: first, safety nets undermine personal responsibility, or, alternatively, safety nets allow for mitigated risk-taking - and which can lead to real growth."
How a Canadian City Ended Homelessness With a Simple Idea (February 2017)

...Giving every person living on the streets a home with no strings attached.

While traditional housing programs ask that prospective participants get clean and seek psychological treatment before being admitted into the system, the Housing First approach doesn't make any of these demands. Whoever is in need of a permanent place to stay will get help, no matter what their circumstances are. 

"We take the stance that people are worthy of a home and it is a fundamental human right to have shelter and a roof over one's head," Jamie Rogers, who ran the Housing First program in Medicine Hat told the BBC. 
"Of course it is recovery-oriented, and we help and support people in making different choices in their life, but we don't withhold housing because of who they choose to be."
(Next column)
Housing First also brought with it a number of unexpected positive effects. Emergency room visits and run ins with police have dropped while at the same time court appearances went up. Once people felt that somebody cared about them, they mustered up the necessary motivation to begin dealing with their past in a positive way. 

Medicine Hat didn't just implement Housing First (which is also being used in other cities with varying levels of success) but rather changed its whole approach to homelessness. Rather than building, or relying only on subsidized housing, the city built a relationship of trust with landlords, property management companies, and local communities as a whole. 
Fear and prejudice towards the homeless was replaced by the realization that they are simply people down on their luck and nowadays landlords call up city hall to offer their apartments to the program.

Medicine Hat's inspiring success proves to us all that if we put aside our fears and differences and instead come together as a community, nothing is impossible.
Supportive Housing and Housing First (September 2018)

Many people with mental health and substance use conditions lose access to housing because of poverty and disruption of personal relationships related to their disability, and about 27% of homeless people have serious mental illnesses.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, 67% of people experiencing chronic homelessness have a primary substance use disorder or other chronic health condition.
Housing First is a proven approach in which people experiencing homelessness are offered permanent housing with few treatment preconditions, behavioral contingencies, or other barriers.

A respected 2004 study found that:
“The Housing First program sustained an approximately 80% housing retention rate, a rate that presents a profound challenge to clinical assumptions held by many Continuum of Care supportive housing providers who regard the chronically homeless as ‘not housing ready.’ 
Given that all study participants had been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, the residential stability demonstrated by residents in the Housing First program—which has one of the highest independent housing rates for any formerly homeless population—indicates that a person’s psychiatric diagnosis is not related to his or her ability to obtain or to maintain independent housing. Thus, there is no empirical support for the practice of requiring individuals to participate in psychiatric treatment or attain sobriety before being housed.”

Tsemberis and Eisenberg reported the effectiveness of a five-year Housing First program on people with severe psychiatric disabilities and addictions in New York City. During that time, the program provided "immediate access to independent scatter-site apartments for individuals with psychiatric disabilities who were homeless and living on the street." With an 88 percent housing retention rate, the program achieved substantially better housing tenure than did the comparison group.

Permanent Supportive Housing
Substantial literature, including seven randomized controlled trials, demonstrated that components of the model reduced homelessness, increased housing tenure, and decreased emergency room visits and hospitalization. Consumers consistently rated this model more positively than other housing models.

According to the U. S. Inter-agency Council on Homelessness (ICH),: "Housing First yields higher housing retention rates, reduces the use of crisis services and institutions, and improves people's health and social outcomes."

Components of the Model includes the following elements:
•   Emergency shelter, street outreach providers, and other parts of the crisis response system are aligned with Housing First and recognize that their role encompasses housing advocacy and rapid connection to permanent housing. Staff in crisis response system services believe that all people experiencing homelessness are housing ready.
•   Strong and direct referral linkages and relationships exist between crisis response system (emergency shelters, street outreach, etc.) and rapid rehousing and supportive housing. Crisis response providers are aware and trained in how to assist people experiencing homelessness to apply for and obtain permanent housing.
•   The community has a unified, streamlined, and user-friendly community-wide process for applying for rapid re-housing, supportive housing, and/or other housing interventions.
•   The community has a coordinated assessment system for matching people experiencing homelessness to the most appropriate housing and services.
The community has a data-driven approach to prioritizing highest-need cases for housing assistance, whether through an analysis of lengths of stay in Homeless Management Information Systems, vulnerability indices, or data on utilization of crisis services.
•   Policymakers, funders, and providers collaboratively conduct planning and align resources to ensure that a range of affordable and supportive housing options and models are available to maximize housing choice among people experiencing homelessness.
•   Policies and regulations related to supportive housing, social and health services, benefit and entitlement programs, and other essential services do not inhibit the implementation of the Housing First approach. For instance, eligibility and screening policies for benefit and entitlement programs or housing do not require the completion of treatment or achievement of sobriety as a prerequisite.
•   Every effort is made to offer a tenant a transfer from one housing situation to another, if a tenancy is in jeopardy. Whenever possible, eviction back into homelessness is avoided.
•   Permanent supportive housing programs differ from other living arrangements by providing a combination of flexible, voluntary supports for maintaining housing and access to individualized evidence-based support services, such as assertive community treatment (ACT). ACT is an interdisciplinary team approach that supports people in recovery in the community with intensive services. ACT teams include social workers, nurses, psychiatrists, and vocational and substance abuse counselors who are available to assist 7 days a week 24 hours a day. But variants on the ACT model are essential to success in practice. The team must have sensitivity to and knowledge of housing issues and available funding.  Just having an ACT team is not enough.  It takes a lot of “behind the scenes” work to keep people housed.

The Call to Action lists the required case management services, but it is worth stressing assistance with personal care, housekeeping and cleaning, and pest control, which are essential to avoid eviction, and individual counseling and de-escalation when eviction is threatened. These are the interventions stressed by the practitioners interviewed for the preparation of this position statement. The aim is to maintain permanent housing by interventions that go beyond treatment of the underlying general and mental health and substance use issues to deal with behavioral issues that threaten tenancy.

As noted by the Corporation for Supportive Housing:
“Supportive housing is not affordable housing with resident services. It is a specific intervention for people who, but for the availability of services, do not succeed in housing and who, but for housing, do not succeed in services. The housing in supportive housing is affordable, permanent, and independent. The services are intensive, flexible, tenant-driven, voluntary, and housing-based. The services in supportive housing are tenancy supports that help people access and remain in housing. Supportive housing is also a platform from which health care services can be delivered and received.”

The 2014 review, which specifically focused on housing for people with mental health conditions, used a slightly more refined definition of permanent supportive housing:
•   Tenants have full rights of tenancy, including a lease in their name; the lease does not have any provisions that would not be found in leases held by someone without a mental disorder.
•   Housing is not contingent on service participation.
•   Tenants are asked about their housing preferences and provided the same range of choices as are available to others without a mental disorder.
•   Housing is affordable, with tenants paying no more than 30% of their income toward rent and utilities.
•   Housing is integrated; tenants live in scattered-site units located throughout the community or in buildings in which a majority of units are not reserved for individuals with mental disorders.
•   House rules are similar to those found in housing for people without mental disorders.
•   Housing is not time limited, so the option to renew leases is with the tenants and owners.
•   Tenants can choose from a range of services based on their needs and preferences; the services are adjusted if their needs change over time.
(Next column)

The success found by the 2014 review researchers was based on:
Reduced homelessness
Increased housing tenure over time
Reduced emergency room use
Reduced hospitalizations
Increased consumer satisfaction

The Corporation for Supportive Housing summarizes the three benefits of supportive housing demonstrated by the research:
1) “Supportive Housing Improves Lives. Research has shown that supportive housing has positive effects on housing stability, employment, mental and physical health, and school attendance. People in supportive housing live more stable and productive lives.

2) Supportive Housing Generates Significant Cost Savings to Public Systems. Cost studies in six different states and cities found that supportive housing results in tenants’ decreased use of homeless shelters, hospitals, emergency rooms, jails and prisons.

3) Supportive Housing Benefits Communities. Further evidence shows that supportive housing benefits communities by improving the safety of neighborhoods, beautifying city blocks with new or rehabilitated properties, and increasing or stabilizing property values over time.”

Shelters are rarely equipped to provide adequate supports to qualify as supportive housing and are transitional responses to get people off the streets. Group living facilities and psychiatric hospitals are needed by some people experiencing mental health crises, but are also transitional, since most people cannot tolerate indefinitely the degree of supervision inherent in such residences. 
Thus, shelters, group homes, and clinical facilities, while necessary, should be de-emphasized as much as possible in favor of development of scattered-site supportive housing that is fully integrated into the community and permanently available to its residents, so that the people living there can identify it as their home.

It is not uncommon that people start out only wanting housing and not services. Housing First accepts such people, rejected in the past, and provides the services they need to help them keep their housing, while offering to increase services as the need becomes apparent. Case managers meet people where and as they are and start building trust, which, in practice, works much better than insisting on providing services as a condition of providing housing.   

The greatest ongoing difficulty encountered in Housing First programs is in maintaining enough vacant units to minimize waiting periods while guaranteeing ongoing availability of permanent housing to people already being served. This requires ongoing development of new housing, which in turn requires surmounting funding and zoning barriers. 
Denver and Salt Lake City are examples of communities that have had greater success than others in increasing housing options for people with mental health and substance use disorders.

Supportive housing requires a substantial investment by state and local governments, which bear the burden of funding housing, with some support from the federal government, particularly through the “Section 8” program that provides rental assistance. Most rental assistance is federally funded, yet only one in four eligible low-income households receives assistance. 
In addition, programs like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) should be expanded, which provide incentives for real estate developers to invest in housing that is accessible to low-income individuals.
Communities should review zoning, transportation, and related policies to ensure that low-income housing developed in inclusive and promotes economic mobility for individuals with mental health conditions.

Significantly, the federal Medicaid program, which matches state funds for mental health and substance use treatment, pays for licensed facilities but is prohibited by statute from funding other forms of housing. 

However, in recent years, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and SAMHSA have stressed the availability of Medicaid funding for the ancillary services required for supportive housing. For example, a bulletin detailed how Medicaid funds could be used for “(1) Individual Housing Transition Services – services that support an individual’s ability to prepare for and transition to housing; (2) Individual Housing & Tenancy Sustaining Services - services that support the individual in being a successful tenant in his/her housing arrangement and thus able to sustain tenancy; and (3) State level Housing Related Collaborative Activities - services that support collaborative efforts across public agencies and the private sector that assist a state in identifying and securing housing options for individuals with disabilities, older adults needing LTSS, and those experiencing chronic homelessness.”

A 2014 SAMHSA-funded Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) white paper, “Creating a Medicaid Supportive Housing Services Benefit: A Framework for Washington and Other States,” is the best blueprint of the policy changes needed. 
See also, CSH’s 2015 “A Quick Guide to Improving Medicaid Coverage for Supportive Housing Services” The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities’ 2016 white paper, “Supportive Housing Helps Vulnerable People Live and Thrive in the Community,” and CMS’ 2015 Informational Bulletin, “Coverage of Housing-Related Activities and Services for Individuals with Disabilities.”

The 1915i State Plan Amendment for Home and Community-Based Services offers the opportunity to implement supportive housing services state-wide (no geographical limits are permitted), without limits on the population to be served so long as all are served who meet needs-based criteria. People being served need not be at risk of institutionalization. Thus, the 1115i waiver does not require that implementation be “cost neutral” to the federal government. Independent evaluations are required to demonstrate outcomes. The CSH white paper discusses the pros and cons of alternative CMS waiver strategies.

It is also critical that public benefit design and administration, such as Social Security Insurance, reinforce Housing First approaches. Benefits must be sufficient and accessible enough to support an individual in supported but independent and permanent housing. They must take into account additional costs related to any rent and upkeep of housing in that geographic market, and must be coordinated with Housing First programs to ensure that the full benefits are received when first needed. During transitions in housing or after a period of institutionalization, such as hospitalization or incarceration, public benefits should immediately consider the full costs of housing and avoid any “look back” that disadvantages Housing First.
Benefits administration should be coordinated with institutions to ensure that benefits immediately consider changes in living situation when an individual returns to the community.

Call to Action
It is imperative that mental health and substance use treatment providers expand their reach to include permanent supportive housing, whether as part of clinical community support outreach and ACT programs, or in partnership with housing providers. To accomplish this, federal, state and local funding policy must be changed.

Based on the current estimates of the unserved need, federal rental housing assistance should be quadrupled, and states and localities should recognize the imperative to develop a robust array of government-sponsored housing alternatives to respond to the nationwide epidemic of homelessness. 
Part of this will also need to include concomitant increases in programs like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to ensure the availability of low-income housing options in different communities, and review of zoning, transportation, and other policies that promote inclusive development.

1. Housing First is not a “program.” 
It is a whole-system orientation and response.
I often hear Housing First referred a program or a particular model, as in, “We just started a Housing First program.” Or “We don’t have a Housing First program in our community yet, just transitional housing.” In these instances, the term ‘Housing First’ is most often used to mean a permanent supportive housing program that uses a Housing First approach.
it wasn’t long ago that Housing First was a new and radical concept in supportive housing circles—I think it’s incorrect to think of Housing First as a permanent supportive housing model, or as a program at all for that matter.

When we think of Housing First as a program, it creates the illusion that Housing First is just one among many choices for responding to homelessness. This sets up a dynamic in which individual programs are pitted against one another. The discussion ends up being about whether we should choose this program or that program, and whether one program is right and another one wrong. It leads to an absurd debate about whether permanent housing or emergency shelters are the solution to homelessness, when both play important but completely different roles. Thinking about Housing First as a program leads to divisions, factions, and conflicts—none of which are helpful in the effort to end homelessness.

Instead, Housing First is a whole-system orientation, and in some cases, a whole-system re-orientation. To borrow a phrase, it is about “changing the DNA” of how a community responds to homelessness. This change enables the community as a whole to: 
-- make occurrences of homelessness rare and brief
-- help people who experience homelessness obtain permanent housing quickly
-- help people access the care and support needed to maintain their housing and achieve a better quality of life.
-- Some of you may have heard about the Triple Aim of health reform. Consider these the “Triple Aim” of ending homelessness.

Achieving these aims is impossible for one program alone. Rather, it requires a variety of programs and services including homeless outreach, emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing, affordable housing, rapid re-housing, along with case management supports, health care, income supports, employment services, and more. But it’s also not enough for these programs to simply exist; they need to work as part of a whole system to help people achieve these aims. That means that the focus of all programs must be to help people obtain permanent housing quickly and without conditions and contingencies. Programs should empower people to overcome barriers to obtaining permanent housing, access the right kinds of supports and care to keep their housing, and improve their quality of life.

Housing First also requires that communities constantly examine their overall set of programs to determine if they have the capacity to achieve the three aims above. Again, this is not about choosing this program or that program, but looking at whether the system as a whole is effective.

Let’s imagine for a moment that we could hit a magic “Housing First reset button” and start all over in building our community responses to homelessness. Would you wind up with the same set of programs and models that you have now? Would you even create discrete program models? 

Now let’s imagine that we had enough resources to create the system we really need to achieve the three aims of ending homelessness. Let’s imagine we had a way to accurately assess housing and service needs at any point in time. What if we could provide different levels of housing assistance and different levels of services to people based on their needs? And what if we could actually adjust the level of assistance to people as their needs change in real-time without forcing people to move around?

That’s the system of response I would build.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a Housing First reset button. Rather than adjustable and flexible levels of assistance, we have distinct programs and models that are often unconnected, preventing people from receiving personalized levels of assistance. The funding systems that support our programs don’t always allow for this level of flexibility. Even in the face of these issues, I still believe we can pursue a more flexible and dynamic system of response. Getting there starts with the adoption of a Housing First system orientation. Meanwhile, USICH and HUD have been encouraging communities to ensure that their inventory of programs includes the types of assistance at different levels of intensity—permanent supportive housing, affordable housing, rapid re-housing, etc.—targeted through a coordinated assessment process.

2. Housing First is a recognition that everyone can achieve stability in (real) housing. Some people simply need services to help them do so.
There is confusion about whether Housing First means providing housing with services or housing alone. I hear comments like, “We want to do Housing First, but don’t have a way to pay for supportive services,” or “It’s not responsible to do Housing First when people have chronic health challenges.” Some people believe Housing First is always service intensive. Others believe Housing First is not service intensive enough. So who’s right?
(Next column)

The short answer is both and neither. The problem goes back to thinking about Housing First as a program model. When we instead think of Housing First as an approach and a whole system orientation, it allows us to get away from “one-size-fits-all” solutions, and focus on matching the right level of housing assistance and services to people’s needs and strengths. 
There are some who might just need a bit of a financial boost and help with finding housing. 
Others may need a long-term rental assistance subsidy and support with their housing search, but not ongoing case management. 
And some people need permanent supportive housing, including long-term rental assistance or affordable housing coupled with case management supports.

It’s a basic equation where the constant is the goal of helping people obtain and maintain permanent housing. The variables are what level and duration of housing assistance and supportive services people need, to stay in housing. 

So yes, if a community doesn’t have a way to pay for supportive services, they won’t be able to provide the right help to people who need ongoing case management. They should look to efforts across the country to increase Medicaid’s role in paying for case management supports in housing. 
And it’s also true that providing permanent housing without services to people who have chronic health challenges may be irresponsible. Let’s just remember that not everyone needs ongoing case management to maintain housing stability.

3. Housing First is about health, recovery, and well-being. Housing itself is the foundation and platform for achieving these goals.
The idea that programs within a Housing First approach sometimes require “intensive” services should not be taken to mean that the focus of services is on therapeutic or treatment goals. In fact, the Housing First approach emphasizes services that focus on housing stability, then using that housing as a platform for connecting people to the types of services and care that they seek and want. It’s based on the basic premise that if people have a stable home, they are in a better position to achieve other goals, including health, recovery and well-being than when they are homeless.

This is true for many reasons. It’s hard to comply with any kind of health care or treatment regimen when you have no certainty about where you are going to sleep. A person infected with TB will have a hard time completing a course of antibiotic treatment when they are bouncing from one shelter to another. It’s also hard to focus on recovery from addiction when you don’t have the certainty that you have a permanent place where you can stay each day, surrounded by supportive people. And for people who’ve experienced trauma, it can be impossible to shift away from a “fight-or-flight” mindset that comes with PTSD when they continue to live a rough life on the streets.

Let it be known, once and for all, that Housing First is about health and well-being. Housing First is about recovery. And connecting people to substance abuse or mental health treatment is entirely consistent with Housing First. 
Housing First recognizes that health and recovery are so much more attainable when people have a safe and stable home.  A Housing First approach recognizes that there are many paths to recovery and well-being—some of which are direct and some of which are long and indirect. But all of those paths start with a home.

4. Housing First is about changing mainstream systems.
Housing First is, and always has been, about changing mainstream systems. The approach emerged as a reaction to traditional mental health treatment modality, which thought that the way to address the needs of people with psychiatric symptoms on the street was to get them into psychiatric treatment, typically at an inpatient facility. Housing First was about changing the mental health system’s paradigm to recognize that housing is foundational to mental health recovery.

Housing First’s role in changing mainstream systems should not stop with the mental health system. Housing is just as foundational to addiction recovery and psychical well-being as it is to mental health. The new frontiers are to engage the substance abuse treatment system and the mainstream health care system around housing.
Substance abuse treatment systems are integrating housing priorities alongside states like New York and New Jersey by adopting supportive housing as part of their own systems responses.
Meanwhile, there are enormous opportunities to engage the mainstream health care system (Medicaid, managed care, and hospital systems) around housing, given the systems transformations underway through the Affordable Care Act.

There is a hunger to achieve health reform’s Triple Aim of improved health outcomes, improved healthcare experiences, and lower costs. 
Those of us who’ve been working to end homelessness know that affordable and supportive housing are part of that solution. 
It’s going to take engagement and persistence to make the health system aware of this. Luckily, this is precisely the kind of engagement and persistence that Housing First does so well.
Housing First Impact on Costs and Associated Cost Offsets: A Review of the Literature (November 2015)

Housing First (HF) programs for people who are chronically or episodically homeless, combining rapid access to permanent housing with community-based, integrated treatment, rehabilitation and support services, are rapidly expanding in North America and Europe. Overall costs of services use by homeless people can be considerable, suggesting the potential for significant cost offsets with HF programs. Our purpose was to provide an updated literature review, from 2007 to the present, focusing specifically on the cost offsets of HF programs.

Twelve published studies (4 randomized studies and 8 quasi-experimental) and 22 unpublished studies were retained. Shelter and emergency department costs decreased with HF, while impacts on hospitalization and justice costs are more ambiguous. Studies using a pre–post design reported a net decrease in overall costs with HF. In contrast, experimental studies reported a net increase in overall costs with HF.

While our review casts doubt on whether HF programs can be expected to pay for themselves, the certainty of significant cost offsets, combined with their benefits for participants, means that they represent a more efficient allocation of resources than traditional services.
(Next column)

HF programs offer an alternative to traditional continuum of care models, in which a select few people graduate through a series of steps to eventually integrate permanent housing. Many variants of HF programs exist, with the most basic distinction being between whether they provide supported housing (scattered-site or congregate, independent housing with external supports, such as from an ACT team), or supportive housing (congregate housing with on-site supports). Studies have shown that HF programs significantly increase the time that people are stably housed. A description of the Pathways HF supported housing model, which has been most widely implemented and evaluated, is found in the companion In Review article.

Cost-of-homelessness reports have indicated that the service use of homeless people is significant. Service providers have observed that while chronically homeless people represent only 20% of shelter users, they consume the largest share of health, social, and justice services. Malcom Gladwell’s “Million-Dollar Murray” eloquently illustrates how a combination of homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse can lead to repeated and costly interactions with multiple service systems. Available estimates of the economic costs that homeless people in Canada generate vary widely. In one study, combining administrative data from several systems for about 5000 homeless people with SMI in New York City, average annual service use costs were US$40,500 per person. Thus the overall costs of services can be considerable, suggesting the potential for significant cost offsets, at least among the highest-cost users.
What is Housing First? (April 2016)
Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life. This approach is guided by the belief that people need basic necessities like food and a place to live before attending to anything less critical, such as getting a job, budgeting properly, or attending to substance use issues. Additionally, Housing First is based on the theory that client choice is valuable in housing selection and supportive service participation, and that exercising that choice is likely to make a client more successful in remaining housed and improving their life.

How is Housing First different from other approaches?
Housing First does not require people experiencing homelessness to address all of their problems including behavioral health problems, or to graduate through a series of services programs before they can access housing. Housing First does not mandate participation in services either before obtaining housing or in order to retain housing. The Housing First approach views housing as the foundation for life improvement and enables access to permanent housing without prerequisites or conditions beyond those of a typical renter. Supportive services are offered to support people with housing stability and individual well-being, but participation is not required as services have been found to be more effective when a person chooses to engage. Other approaches do make such requirements in order for a person to obtain and retain housing.

Who can be helped by Housing First?
A Housing First approach can benefit both homeless families and individuals with any degree of service needs. The flexible and responsive nature of a Housing First approach allows it to be tailored to help anyone. As such, a Housing First approach can be applied to help end homelessness for a household who became homeless due to a temporary personal or financial crisis and has limited service needs, only needing help accessing and securing permanent housing. At the same time, Housing First has been found to be a particularly effective approach to end homelessness for high need populations, such as chronically homeless individuals.

What are the elements of a housing first program? Housing First programs often provide rental assistance that varies in duration depending on the household’s needs. Consumers sign a standard lease and are able to access support as necessary to help them do so. A variety of voluntary services may be used to promote housing stability and well-being during and following housing placement.
(Next column)

Two common program models follow the Housing First approach but differ in implementation. Permanent supportive housing (PSH) is targeted to individuals and families with chronic illnesses, disabilities, mental health issues, or substance use disorders who have experienced long-term or repeated homelessness. It provides long-term rental assistance and supportive services.

A second program model, rapid re-housing, is employed for a wide variety of individuals and families. It provides short-term rental assistance and services. The goals are to help people obtain housing quickly, increase self-sufficiency, and remain housed. The Core Components of rapid re-housing—housing identification, rent and move-in assistance, and case management and services—operationalize Housing First principals.

Does Housing First work?
There is a large and growing evidence base demonstrating that Housing First is an effective solution to homelessness. Consumers in a Housing First model access housing faster and are more likely to remain stably housed. This is true for both PSH and rapid re-housing programs. PSH has a long-term housing retention rate of up to 98%. Studies have shown that rapid re-housing helps people exit homelessness quickly—in one study, an average of two months—and remain housed. A variety of studies have shown that between 75 percent and 91 percent of households remain housed a year after being rapidly re-housed.

More extensive studies have been completed on PSH finding that clients report an increase in perceived levels of autonomy, choice, and control in Housing First programs. A majority of clients are found to participate in the optional supportive services provided often resulting in greater housing stability. Clients using supportive services are more likely to participate in job training programs, attend school, discontinue substance use, have fewer instances of domestic violence, and spend fewer days hospitalized than those not participating.

Finally, permanent supportive housing has been found to be cost efficient. Providing access to housing generally results in cost savings for communities because housed people are less likely to use emergency services, including hospitals, jails, and emergency shelter, than those who are homeless. One study found an average cost savings on emergency services of $31,545 per person housed in a Housing First program over the course of two years. Another study showed that a Housing First program could cost up to $23,000 less per consumer per year than a shelter program.
Housing First (2014)
‘Housing First’ is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness that centers on quickly moving people experiencing homelessness into independent and permanent housing and then providing additional supports and services as needed.
It is an approach first popularized by Sam Tsemberis and Pathways to Housing in New York in the 1990s, though there were Housing First-like programs emerging elsewhere, including Canada (HouseLink in Toronto) prior to this time. The basic underlying principle of Housing First is that people are better able to move forward with their lives if they are first housed. This is as true for people experiencing homelessness and those with mental health and addictions issues as it is for anyone.
Housing is provided first and then supports are provided including physical and mental health, education, employment, substance abuse and community connections.
Housing First in Canada: Supporting Communities to End Homelessness says, “Housing is not contingent upon readiness, or on ‘compliance’ (for instance, sobriety). Rather, it is a rights-based intervention rooted in the philosophy that all people deserve housing, and that adequate housing is a precondition for recovery.”

There are five core principles of Housing First:
1. Immediate access to permanent housing with no housing readiness requirements. Housing First involves providing clients with assistance in finding and obtaining safe, secure and permanent housing as quickly as possible. Key to the Housing First philosophy is that individuals and families are not required to first demonstrate that they are ‘ready’ for housing. Housing is not conditional on sobriety or abstinence. Program participation is also voluntary. This approach runs in contrast to what has been the orthodoxy of ‘treatment first’ approaches whereby people experiencing homeless are placed in emergency services and must address certain personal issues (addictions, mental health) prior to being deemed ‘ready’ for housing (having received access to health care or treatment).

2. Consumer choice and self-determination. Housing First is a rights-based, client-centred approach that emphasizes client choice in terms of housing and supports.
Housing - Clients are able to exercise some choice regarding the location and type of housing they receive (e.g. neighbourhood, congregate setting, scattered site, etc.). Choice may be constrained by local availability and affordability.
Supports – Clients have choices in terms of what services they receive, and when to start using services.

3. Recovery orientation. Housing First practice is not simply focused on meeting basic client needs, but on supporting recovery. A recovery orientation focuses on individual well-being, and ensures that clients have access to a range of supports that enable them to nurture and maintain social, recreational, educational, occupational and vocational activities.

For those with addictions challenges, a recovery orientation also means access to a harm reduction environment. Harm reduction aims to reduce the risks and harmful effects associated with substance use and addictive behaviors for the individual, the community and society as a whole, without requiring abstinence. However, as part of the spectrum of choices that underlies both Housing First and harm reduction, people may desire and choose ‘abstinence only’ housing.

4. Individualized and client-driven supports. A client-driven approach recognizes that individuals are unique, and so are their needs. Once housed, some people will need minimum supports while other people will need supports for the rest of their lives (this could range from case management to assertive community treatment). Individuals should be provided with “a range of treatment and support services that are voluntary, individualized, culturally-appropriate, and portable (e.g. in mental health, substance use, physical health, employment, education)”. Supports may address housing stability, health and mental health needs, and life skills.

Income supports and rent supplements are often an important part of providing client-driven supports. If clients do not have the necessary income to support their housing - their tenancy, health and well-being may be at risk. Rent supplements should ensure that individuals do not pay more than 30% of their income on rent.

It is important to remember that a central philosophy of Housing First is that people have access to the supports they need, if they choose. Access to housing is not conditional upon accepting a particular kind of service.

5. Social and community integration. Part of the Housing First strategy is to help people integrate into their community and this requires socially supportive engagement and the opportunity to participate in meaningful activities. If people are housed and become or remain socially isolated, the stability of their housing may be compromised. Key features of social and community integration include:
-- Separation of housing and supports (except in the case of supportive housing)
-- Housing models that do not stigmatize or isolate clients. This is one reason why scattered site approaches are preferred.
-- Opportunities for social and cultural engagement are supported through employment, vocational and recreational activities.

While all Housing First programs ideally share these critical elements, there is considerable variation in how the model is applied, based on population served, resource availability, and other factors related to the local context. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to Housing First.

The Application of Housing First
In order to fully understand how Housing First is applied in different contexts, it is important to consider different models. While there are core principles that guide its application, It is worth distinguishing Housing First in terms of: 
a) a philosophy
b) a systems approach
c) program models
d) team interventions

As a philosophy, Housing First can be a guiding principle for an organization or community that prioritizes getting people into permanent housing with supports to follow. Housing First can be considered embedded within a systems approach when the foundational philosophy and core principles of Housing First are applied across and infused throughout integrated systems models of service delivery. Housing First can be considered more specifically as a program when it is operationalized as a service delivery model or set of activities provided by an agency or government body. 

Finally, one needs to consider Housing First teams, which are designed to meet the needs of specific target populations, defined in terms of either the characteristics of the sub-population (age, ethno-cultural status, for instance), or in terms of the acuity of physical, mental and social challenges that individuals face. This can include:

ACT teams (Assertive Community Treatment) are designed to provide comprehensive community-based supports for clients with challenging mental health and addictions issues, and may support individuals in accessing psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation. These teams may consist of physicians and other health care providers, social workers and peer support workers.
ICM teams (Intensive Case Management) are designed to support individuals with less acute mental health and addictions issues through an individualized case management approach. The goal of case management is to help clients maintain their housing and achieving an optimum quality of life through developing plans, enhancing life skills, addressing health and mental health needs, engaging in meaningful activities and building social and community relations.
(Next column)

What kind of housing?
A key principle of Housing First is Consumer Choice and Self-Determination. In other words, people should have some kind of choice as to what kind of housing they receive, and where it is located.

The Pathways model prioritizes the use of scattered-site housing which involves renting units in independent private rental markets. One benefit of this approach is that it gives clients more choice, and may be a less stigmatizing option. From a financial perspective, there is a benefit to having the capital costs of housing absorbed by the private sector.

In other cases the use of congregate models of housing, where there are many units in a single building, the benefits of which may include on-call supports, and for some may provide a stronger sense of community. In some national contexts (Australia, many European nations), social housing is more readily used to provide housing for individuals in Housing First programs. In such contexts, there is a more readily available supply of social housing, and living in buildings dedicated to low income tenants may not be viewed in a stigmatized way.

Finally, for some Housing First clients whose health and mental health needs are acute and chronic, people may require Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), a more integrated model of housing and services for individuals with complex and co-occurring issues where the clinical services and landlord role are performed by the same organization.

What kinds of support?
Housing First typically involves three kinds of supports. Housing supports: The initial intervention of Housing First is to help people obtain and maintain their housing, in a way that takes into account client preferences and needs, and addresses housing suitability. Key housing supports include; finding appropriate housing; supporting relations with landlords; applying for and managing rent subsidies; assistance in setting up apartments. Clinical supports include a range of supports designed to enhance the health, mental health and social care of the client. 

Housing First teams often speak of a recovery-oriented approach to clinical supports designed to enhance well-being, mitigate the effects of mental health and addictions challenges, improve quality of life and foster self-sufficiency. Complementary supports are intended to help individuals and families improve their quality of life, integrate into the community and potentially achieve self-sufficiency. They may include: life skills; engagement in meaningful activities, income supports, assistance with employment, training and education, and community (social) engagement.

Does Housing First work?
In just a few short years the debate about whether Housing First works is over. The body of research from the United States, Europe and Canada attests to the success of the program, and it can now truly be described as a 'Best Practice'.

The At Home/Chez Soi project, funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada is the world’s most extensive examination of Housing First. They conducted a randomized control trial where 1000 people participated in Housing First, and 1000 received 'treatment as usual'. The results are startling: you can take the most hard core, chronically homeless person with complex mental health and addictions issues, and put them in housing with supports, and you know what? They stay housed. Over 80% of those who received Housing First remained housed after the first year. For many, use of health services declined as health improved. Involvement with the law declined as well. An important focus of the recovery orientation of Housing First is social and community engagement; many people were helped to make new linkages and to develop a stronger sense of self.

The Housing First in Canada book highlights eight Canadian case studies that attest to Housing First’s general effectiveness, especially when compared to ‘treatment first’ approaches.

There are key questions that remain in developing Housing First practices, philosophies, programs and policies across the country.
How effectively do Housing First programs demonstrate fidelity to the principles of the model? There is increasing pressure for communities to adopt a Housing First model. It is important to examine issues of fidelity to the core principles (as noted above) to ensure that communities are doing Housing First, as opposed to ‘housing, first”.
What is the relationship between Housing First and the Affordable Housing Supply? While the case studies in Housing First in Canada have shown that it is possible to develop a successful Housing First program even in a tight rental housing market, they were primarily successful through the use of rent supplements to increase affordability.Partnerships with existing private landlords were also show to be very important. At the core though, there is a housing shortage in Canada – especially safe, secure and affordable housing. A concurrent investment in affordable housing is necessary to ensure an end to homelessness.
How are the needs of sub-populations met through Housing First? It is clear from existing research that one size does not fit all. However, Housing First can be adapted to suit most communities and sub-populations. Unique needs require unique answers. What will work in Houston may not work in Montreal. What works for single adults may not work for youth. Adapting the program to meet the needs of a particular sub-population is key to ensuring success. A period of transition may be required to help certain sub-populations make the adjustment from the streets/shelters to housing.
What is the duration and extent of supports, and who is responsible for funding them? In some cases Housing First programs provide a time limited investment in supports, ranging from one to three years. For those who need ongoing supports, effective models for continued engagement with mainstream services need to be explored.
Once housed do people have adequate income to meet basic needs on an ongoing basis? A goal for most communities is that people who are housed should pay no more than 30% of their income on rent. The use of rent supplements is key to ensure that people are able to survive and thrive in housing. In many cases, people are able to “graduate” from a Housing First program in so far as they no longer require active supports, but they still need ongoing financial assistance.



Housing First has proven to be a realistic, humane and effective way of responding to homelessness.  

BOOK: Housing First in Canada: Supporting Communities to End Homelessness is the first book that examines how this approach has been applied in Canada. The book begins with a framework for Housing First that explains the core principles of the approach, as well as how it works in practice. The book also presents eight case studies of Housing First in Canada, exploring not just the results of its implementation, but how different communities made the shift from ‘treatment as usual’ to a new approach. Here we explore the challenges of making the case locally, the planning process, adapting the model to local contexts (urban vs. small town) or targeted populations (Aboriginal people, youth), and implementation. Much has been learned by communities that have employed Housing First and we conclude the book with a chapter that highlights key lessons learned. 
The book provides a wealth of information for those who want to understand the concept of Housing First and how to move forward with implementation. The good news is that Housing First works and can be applied in any community. 
Does Housing First Work? (2016)
Brown et al. (2016) found that participants in a Housing First program, when compared with those who received TAU, spent less time homeless, spent less time hospitalized, and had enhanced use of needed services, including substance use treatment and mental health, medical, dental, and vision care.

It appears that when providers avoid coercive relationships with participants, use of needed services improves. This finding is in sync with research on motivational interviewing; when providers follow the client's lead, instead of pushing or pulling the client, they help unleash the client's internal motivation, propelling clients towards their own goals.

Somers et al. (2017) found that participants in both congregate and scattered-site Housing First programs were better able to achieve stable housing than were participants in TAU and experienced significantly greater perceived quality of life.

A Housing First program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2007 and 2008 showed favorable results for people who had been homeless for five years or longer and were also struggling with mental health and substance use challenges (Tsemberis, Kent, & Respress, 2012).

Studies indicate that "high fidelity" Housing First programs—those that truly honor the guiding principles and practices of the Housing First model—have better housing retention rates and are associated with fewer emergency department visits and better health, mental health, and social outcomes when compared with more traditional approaches to providing housing to people experiencing homelessness.
(Next column)

The Bottom Line
It can be challenging to draw definitive conclusions from research studies about the effectiveness of Housing First programs, because different programs may have different program elements, serve populations with different complex needs, and use different outcome measures. Randomly assigning consumers to different housing programs presents practical and ethical issues as well. That said, several studies show that Housing First programs have better outcomes than other housing programs. Other studies suggest that TAU and Housing First may have similar outcomes. That leaves us with an ethical decision to make. Should we favor the more humane, client-centered, nonjudgmental approach that views safe, stable, affordable housing as a human right?

It is clear that Housing First is a preferable option that embraces a coordinated system of care at the micro, mezzo, and macro practice levels.

Developing the political will and educating potential funding sources, including state, local, and federal governments, will be key to expanding Housing First programs. Addressing the systemic causes of homelessness is crucial, including subsidies to developers to expand the supply of affordable housing, rental subsidies, income support programs, expanding the economy to eradicate income disparities and ensure that full-time workers earn living wages, providing evidence-based substance use and mental health services, and ensuring universal health insurance with parity for substance use and mental health services. Homelessness affects many Americans, including veterans, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ people, people involved in the criminal justice system, families, and many children. Homelessness and the social costs it spawns can be eliminated.
Back to Basics – What Exactly is Housing First & Rapid Re-Housing? (2012)

A lot of the time I find “Housing First” and “Rapid Re-Housing” to be misused terms. When asked to assist organizations or communities realign their service delivery to be more effective or to evaluate their housing programs, this is the understanding of Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing that I try to generate awareness of in the community. As this is a blog and not a two or three day training seminar, I am focusing on hitting the high points.

As a philosophy, housing first focuses on any attempt to help people who have experienced homelessness to access housing before providing assistance and support with any other life issues. In this orientation, the intervention of Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing both fit. Given housing is the only known cure to homelessness, the success comes with helping ideal candidates achieve the cure sooner rather than later.

As an intervention, HOUSING FIRST is a specific type of service delivery. Delivered through Intensive Case Management or Assertive Community Treatment, fidelity to the core aspects of the service can be measured. Housing First is specifically not a “first come, first served” intervention. Housing First intentionally seeks out chronically homeless individuals that have complex, and co-occurring issues, and serves those with the highest acuity first. The individual (family) served through Housing First is homeless and has most often been homeless for quite some time, usually as a result of these issues and the failure of the human and health service delivery spectrum to address these issues in order to solve the person’s homelessness.

Participation in Housing First is voluntary – people cannot be forced or coerced to participate in a Housing First intervention. 
Individuals who consent to receive a Housing First intervention are provided assistance with accessing housing of their choosing (subject to affordability, action-ability and appropriateness) and supports for at least 12-18 months in an ICM approach (subject to the ability to integrate clients with longer-term community supports) and longer in an ACT approach.

There is no expectation of sobriety, treatment, compliance or mandated service pathways. Service participants do not need to participate in psychiatric services if they do not want to; they do not need to participate in things like anger management classes if they don’t want to; they do not need to attend life skills classes if they do not want to; they do not need to attend parenting classes if they do not want to; they do not need to address their physical health issues if they do not want to – and I could go on. 
The only real expectations of Housing First, which the individual agrees to prior to starting with the program, is to agree to have their support workers visit them in their home – usually multiple times per week in the early days of program participation, to pay their rent on time and in full (or agree to third party payment of their rent), and to work hard to avoid disrupting the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants in the same building that would cause their eviction.

There are many “tricks of the trade” that help folks in achieving residential stability in Housing First. For one, caseloads are kept at a reasonable size, with an emphasis on Housing First as a quality intervention, not a quantity intervention. In ICM service delivery, one case manager works with 15-20 clients depending on where the clients are at in their journey to stability and level of complexity. Another “trick of the trade” is working with the client to develop a personal guest policy, where the client themselves determine when they think it is a good idea to have guests over, how many guests they think it is reasonable to have over at any one time, the types of activities they think are appropriate to engage in within their apartment, and what they think is appropriate should they find their actions in conflict with their guest policy. Yet another “trick of the trade” is to infuse the “responsible tenant” discussion into conversation with the client at least three times in the early stages of the program whereby the client themselves articulates what they think it means to be a responsible tenant.

Services in HOUSING FIRST are offered through a harm reduction philosophy, in a non-judgmental manner and from a client-centered position. Supports are provided in vivo, and there is an expectation that individuals served through the intervention will access a broader range of community resources, have meaningful daily activities, and work towards greater independence and improved life satisfaction. The support worker in Housing First can expect to model and teach skills and behavior in the client’s apartment and in the community. It is not uncommon for the support worker to have one-on-one time with the client to teach things like cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and the like. It is not uncommon for the support worker to accompany the client to appointments in the community like working with welfare, shopping, doctor appointments, etc.

There is intentional case planning that occurs in Housing First. The first focus of the case planning is on housing stability…primarily paying attention to meeting basic needs, understanding how relationships can impact tenancy, ensuring that the individual feels safe in their apartment, and understanding the supports available to help them maintain housing. Momentum gained in these areas translates into the development of an Individualized Service Plan where specific goals are identified and an action plan is put in place for each of them. Through this service plan, the emphasis is on greater life stability overall.

Housing First is not a “first come, first served” approach to service delivery. Regardless of whether the Housing First supports are provided through Intensive Case Management or Assertive Community Treatment, access should be coordinated on a system-wide basis. With Housing First, supports are de-linked from staying housed, and as such if an individual loses their housing they do not lose their supports and will be re-housed as many times as necessary until the person achieves housing stability. There are no limits on the number of times that a person can be re-housed. Re-housing is not seen as a failure. It is seen as an opportunity to learn, adapt, grow and try again.

Service participants supported through Housing First often have a history of considerable interaction with health, mental health, addiction, police, criminal justice, ambulances – and other types of emergency services and institutions. Through the housing and support work, most often one will see a decrease in this degree of interaction with emergency services, and a more deliberate and strategic engagement with more appropriate services. It is still possible that Housing First program participants end up in hospital or accessing treatment services, but the supports remain active during these periods of time, with assistance provided in discharge planning as much as possible, and active support in the implementation of treatment protocols as much as possible.

Housing First relies on a number of proven practices and evidence-informed service delivery. Examples of the types of professional skills a Housing First practitioner is likely going to have mastery of include: Motivational Interviewing; Assertive Engagement; Wellness Recovery Action Plans; Illness Management Recovery; Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment; Trauma Informed Service Delivery; Harm Reduction Practices; Crisis Planning; Supported Employment; etc.

While Housing First is most frequently delivered through scattered site housing units integrated within “regular” apartment buildings throughout a city, it is possible to have congregate Permanent Supportive Housing that practices Housing First. But, there really is no such thing as “Housing First Housing”. When I hear that, and break it down with people, most often what they really are trying to say is a low-barrier congregate PSH environment that practices all the aspects of a Housing First intervention.
(Next column)

The place a participant lives in Housing First must be permanent housing, where “permanent” means that if they follow the lease, pay rent and don’t disrupt the reasonable enjoyment of others they have the same security of tenure as any other renter. The lease is “standard” – meaning it contains no language or stipulations different than any other renter. This does not preclude the use of Master Leasing or Head Leasing where an organization leases the apartment unit and legally sub-leases to a program participant, with an understanding that there can be no impediments to the program participant taking on the lease in full in the future.

When asked to set up an evaluation framework for Housing First, it is my contention that 80% or more of the individuals served should remain housed long term. I also tend to look at reductions in use of emergency services and engagement with the criminal justice system. Then, I focus my attention on how the acuity of the individual decreases overtime, as well as changes in quality of life as a result of the intervention.

Rapid Re-Housing is a support intervention intended to serve longer-term episodically homeless people with mid-range acuity; these clients typically have co-occurring issues that are at the core of their frequent returns to homelessness and/or long-standing patterns of precarious housing. The individual or family is homeless and usually has two or three life areas where assistance in accessing community-based resources should improve their life and housing stability on a go-forward basis. Usually recipients of Rapid Re-Housing are aware of a range of community supports; they simply have not been meaningfully and sustainably connected with those resources.

One of the first mistakes in how people talk about Rapid Re-Housing is that they refer to it as “Housing First Light”. It is not. It is a different type of intervention that happens to have a lot of similarities to Housing First. Secondly, some organizations and communities erroneously lump any program that assists with rapid access to housing as being Rapid Re-Housing. This, as well, is false. There can be some awesome approaches to helping people access housing quickly, which are not Rapid Re-Housing.

With mid-range acuity at time of program entry, Rapid Re-Housing recipients usually receive supports for a minimum of six months, with possibility of renewal of service in three month increments based upon traction in sustainably meeting needs that will enhance housing and life stability (and should there be persistent barriers to improved stability, the client may be more accurately considered a Housing First client).

The supports delivered in Rapid Re-Housing are typically case management supports, but are neither Intensive Case Management nor Assertive Community Treatment – though there are typically time periods of support that are more intensive than others. Supports are delivered in community. There is an expectation that the individual (family) will be supported in accessing community resources, have meaningful daily activities, and work towards greater independence and improved life satisfaction. There will be teaching and modeling in Rapid Re-Housing, like Housing First, but the intensity of this and the duration of it is quite often (though not always) less than what one would experience in Housing First.

Importantly, Rapid Re-Housing is more than a financial assistance program; it comes with the expectation that the client will engage with support services. However, the support services have no expectation of engagement in treatment, compliance or mandated service pathways. Like Housing First, Rapid Re-Housing is offered through a harm reduction philosophy, in a non-judgmental fashion and from a client-centered position.

Rapid Re-Housing is almost exclusively delivered through scattered site apartments. Participants sign a standard tenancy agreement. Nowhere in the lease does it stipulate that an individual has to participate in programming or will be evicted. For all intents and purposes, the housing is permanent. So long as the individual follows the lease and pays their rent they have the same security of tenure as any other renter.

Rapid Re-Housing also features structured case planning with goal identification and an action plan put into place to assist with reaching these goals. Compared to Housing First, Rapid Re-Housing clients are usually more able to engage in the process of goal identification and attainment quicker given their acuity is not as high and their time spent homeless has not been chronic.

It is best if people gain access to Rapid Re-Housing through a coordinated access function within a community. This will ensure the best fit of mid-range acuity clients to the appropriate intervention. It should weed out those clients that would be better served through a more intensive and longer-term intervention like Housing First. It should also week out those individuals and families that ultimately can resolve their own homelessness without case management supports of any kind (which make up the majority of people in any community).

When I set up evaluation frameworks for Rapid Re-Housing, I tend to look for a housing stability rate in the 90% range. Like Housing First, I also want to focus some attention on decreasing acuity over time and improved quality of life as a result of the intervention.

There are certain things that Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing both are not. First of all, Housing First is NOT “housing only”. I would posit that in most instances getting people housed is relatively easy compared to the hard work of supporting them to stay housed. 
Neither Housing First nor Rapid Re-Housing are a fad. They each are proven to be successful when practiced in a certain manner with a specific client group. 
There is no such thing as a “sober” or “dry” Housing First or Rapid Re-Housing program. Participants may choose to abstain, but abstinence cannot be a pre-requisite for program participation. 
There is no such thing as a transitional housing program that is Housing First or Rapid Re-Housing because one of the core elements of both interventions is that the housing that people secure is permanent. 
Neither Housing First nor Rapid Re-Housing are the only forms of effective housing interventions. There are plenty of good approaches to helping homeless individuals and families access housing that I have seen in my travels that seem to demonstrate positive outputs. Organizations and communities should feel compelled to call these programs something that they are not. 
Neither Housing First nor Rapid Re-Housing “fix” or “heal” people. The job in Housing First and Rapid Re-Housing is to support the individual access and maintain housing regardless of their history or life issues. Both acknowledge that people may still have active addictions, compromised mental wellness, difficulties budgeting, issues with impulse control, problematic social behaviors, physical ailments, etc. – yet people with these or any other life issues can have the issues and have a life without any future homelessness.
LA Students Are Building Tiny Houses for People Experiencing Homelessness (2017)

Many US cities — including Detroit, Seattle, Dallas and Nashville— have considered plans for tiny house communities to address the issue of homelessness and to help low-income families become homeowners.
But some cities are struggling to get community support for their housing projects.

In San Jose, California, a proposal to build 99 tiny house communities for people experiencing homelessness has been slashed to only two communities after overwhelming criticism from neighborhoods.

The “Not In My Backyard” attitude toward housing people experiencing homelessness is not new, but the level of protest for the project is unprecedented, according to The Mercury News, a local San Jose newspaper.

Despite the criticism, the tiny house proposal continues to offer a small solution to the larger issues of homelessness and poverty across the country.
It is easy to talk about poverty... Hard to live it. | Ashley Williams | TEDxGuatemalaCity (August 2015)

How do the poor see life? Uneducated, not stupid | Rajen Makhijani | TEDxNTU (May 2016)

Rajen explores how the social class a person is in influences their opinions of themselves and perception of life. He compares how their choices and through the lens of social class it is often mis-perceived as being 'stupid', they being 'uneducated'. 
The higher the GDP per capita, the lower the meaning of life.

The poor do not trust because they know that the rest of us will allow the corrupt system to flourish. 
So where do we start: explore. The poor have a higher ability to read emotions accurately (knowing whether to trust somebody or not). They are also more generous.

The higher the GDP, the lower the meaning of life is valued.
Religiosity and the more number of kids, the higher is the meaning of life.
The richer the country - the lower the meaning of life.
Education is inversely related to the meaning of life. So am i advocating toward lowering education? No. But take off the glasses and go explore.

To go and look for another you is the process of renewing you and finding a renewed you. To be able to look at the lives of others, i wanted to go beyond living the life on paper. With these learnings - i shared a dream of living in a world based on fairness, justice and equality. And then something special happened when enough of us got together to live that dream. I feel empowered. Humbled. Engaged. I also feel privileged to unlock and take that privilege. When are you going to take a peek behind the glass-door of class?
Hope for the homeless | Karyn Walsh | TEDxSouthBank (May 2016)

Karyn is committed to finding new ways to end and prevent homelessness. Her leadership is focused on implementing a housing first approach, which requires integrating healthcare with community services as a critical resource to enable people to improve their quality of life, sustain housing and reduce reliance on hospital care.
Every child and adult has a right to a home, an income, healthcare, education, safety, dignity and connection with their community of choice.
Homelessness is a major public health issue that needs a response. People live on our streets at risk of dying. 
51% have a high mortality risk.
55% in treatment for mental health.
32% had a brain injury.
50% had been victims of crime after they were homeless.
***How to make the change to move into permanent housing.

Solving a housing crises, domestic violence, mental illness, unemployment and poverty are all interconnected.
Homelessness can happen to any of us, if our personal circumstances and our economic hardship collide. But if we keep the status quo, inequality will only grow. We have to build communities that are inclusive and that treat people with Dignity; that are accountable so that we are all safe, and our well-being is achieved.
Solutions to homelessness are possible but they take more than the good works of individuals. REAL CHANGE, means that we have to create innovative systems where ordinary people can do extraordinary things. We know as citizens, we know that we can build community and we can solve homelessness.
Spending $503,000 and proactively addressing the health and housing needs of people experiencing homelessness in Brisbane AUS saved between $6.45-$6.9 million dollars.
Solving homelessness is possible but requires more than the efforts of individuals doing good work. Real change comes through innovative systems that enable ordinary people to create solutions and belong to a community.
Employ and empower the homeless community | Alice Rebecca Thompson | TEDxGlasgow (July 2015)

1) patience
2) commitment
3) and additional support alongside their employment
***You can't just give these guys a job and an income, and expect them not to go and spend it on alcohol. We had to provide counseling. An hours worth once a week. It would be compulsory as part of their employment (they had to turn up to this session).
~~The homeless understand that it's a trained professional who will check in with them once a week and it's a safe place for them to express themselves.
Homeless members can be fully functional in society.

Any of you who own a company or want to start a business - should try to employ just one of them. Yeah they might take more time and support and you must be kind and patient and give them more chances than anybody else. We call ourselves a developed country - but we exclude these people and we ignore them. Employ and empower the homeless community - we just need to work a little harder.

Once you understand the gravity of others hurting you, you understand the situation in the proper context and that is powerful. Thereby you are better able to employ them with empathy. 
Drama therapy changed my impressions of homelessness | Tommy Waltz | TEDxDirigo (December 2014)

The homeless label is a heavy weight - and all encompassing stigma.

We're not all stereotypical. People have conceptions about the homeless that are not true.

Drama therapy has a positive effect on creating and finding healing. It allows them to feel notice, and thus then to make change. 
Homelessness: How Can I Help? | Scarlett Montanaro | TEDxUAL (June 2017)

It's this bridge in human connection that will eventually bridge the gap between us and them.
Imagine the impact you have if you stop and give a hand.

"People that make me feel love, peace, and acceptance can make anywhere feel like home."

“Cultural homelessness” breeds extremists | Sarah Lyons-Padilla | TEDxStanford (May 2016)

The psychology of home grown terrorists is at the heart of Stanford researcher and social psychologist Sarah Lyons-Padilla’s work. What makes someone turn against their own country and people? How does discrimination play into the radicalization of Muslims in the United States? In a time of rising unrest, Lyons-Padilla asks and answers the most pressing questions to help policymakers and the general public better understand and respond to the world in which we live. 

Sarah Lyons-Padilla is a research scientist at Stanford SPARQ: Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions. She studies the psychology of homegrown terrorism and has found that feelings of “cultural homelessness” and discrimination may play a key role in the radicalization of Muslims in the United States.

One thing that terrorist organizations do offer is a sense of purpose and significance to those who work on their behalf (they have ideologies of those who are with us and those who are against us, which resonate with purpose of those feeling isolated.

This discrimination can cut to the core of your sense of self-worth.

You will hear those who join ISIS say: ''I've never felt more protected and loved, than when I joined ISIS." Radical organizations are doing something to satisfy the needs of these feeling isolated.

THE PROOF OF REASONING BASED ON EVIDENCE SHOWS THAT The more people felt discrimination, the more they felt a lack of significance, thus then cultural homelessness, thus then support for radicalism groups. Furthermore, such anti-Muslim and Islamophobia rhetoric is what propagates and creates the cycle to begin with (by politicians and society at large) -_- #wow
Homelessness Solutions & The Struggles of Voiceless Women | Louise Mbella | TEDxDelthorneWomen (January 2019)

Having overcome trauma homelessness and oppression herself, she highlights the importance of listening to the voices of survivors particularly those experiencing homelessness, scarcity, violence. She feels that making them part of the conversation and solutions of our social issues directly impacting them is important.
Her message suggests the necessity to go beyond just providing shelters and low income permanent supportive housing as an answer to the homeless crisis. She stresses the importance of creating social curriculum platforms while transforming the minds of men and women, as a fundamental element for helping end homelessness.

Ignorance is the root of all evil. -Socrates
#HighPotentialHomeless | Dale Hartz | TEDxAkron (June 2017)

The transformative story of a group of college students and shelter residents who built a community organization and financial tools that support sustained transitions out of homelessness. 

Homeless, and Outsaving Half of the United States | CEF Directors & Advocacy Choir | TEDxUNC (May 2017)

What causes so many people to suffer from homelessness?
Most financial services are not built to serve low-income households. In fact, they often do more harm than good. 
Fees and interest (riba) (high overdraft fees) (exploitative payday loans) etc. accumulated into over $141 Billion in 2015 (financially undeserved Americans spent). <--- makes it more expensive to be poor in this country than to have wealth. 
When a person doesn't have a bank account for minimum balance requirements or high overdraft charges, that person will spend on avg. $500 a year in extra transaction costs alone. Furthermore, the housing costs are un-affordable for low-wage workers (on fixed income).

If you earn $8/hr, you would need to work over 100 hours a week to be able to afford a 1 bedroom apartment.

And federal funding for affordable housing has dipped tremendously between 2009 - 2013. We are experiencing a rental housing crises.

One contributor to the wealth-gap in the US has been through home-ownership. Home-ownership is the primary way in the US families pass down wealth from generation to generation. 
America wrote racism into the manuals, literally (see: Redlining). The denying of mortgages and opportunities to neighborhoods of color stayed on the books until the civil rights act of 1068. Banks continue to discriminate in lending.

When we turn people's life's around, it's not just their lives. It's the children, their grandchildren; their whole families. 
Solving homelessness: Stop shaming and blaming | Deborah Hughes | TEDxAmoskeagMillyardWomen (June 2015)

We can end homelessness. First though, Hughes says we need to stop shaming and blaming those who need our help most.
Whether it's parenting or doing our bit volunteering to help those less fortunate, the ego must get out of the way. This work is most authentic when we expect no rewards.  
Invest in women and children experiencing homelessness. Help them gain the momentum they need to help them achieve their dreams and goals. Your investment will pay far into the future!
Housing First: Sam Tsemberis at TEDxMosesBrownSchool (May 2012)

"A homeless person living on the street costs more money than if he is housed (via the "housing first" approach). 
We could end homelessness tomorrow if we had the political will to make that message known." -Sam Tsemberis

A GREAT presentation.
Homelessness In America: The Journey Home | Israel Bayer | TEDxPortland (May 2016)

Mr. Bayer fights to give a voice to those who can not afford free speech by focusing his efforts into the street newspaper movement. He is an award-winning housing advocate, journalist, poet, painter and photographer with over 15 years of experience in street newspapers.

Poverty is not new. Modern day homelessness is.
Poverty means the lack of material possessions or money.
Homelessness is simply not having a home.
You can live in poverty but still not have a home.
This country has always had a problem with poverty - and we've taken steps - but we've largely failed.
In 1933, it's estimated that more than 1 million people experienced homelessness in America. 
The government responded: 
(1) jobs and affordable housing programs. 
(2) social security. And later on, 
(3) the GI Bill.
By the end of WWII in 1945, street homelessness was largely nonexistent in America. And from the 1940s until the 1970s, the federal government prioritized housing as a basic infrastructure for our society. 

It wasn't until the 1980s that we started to see people on the streets sleeping in our doorways and under bridges en masse. That's when our government began to dismantled social programs meant for people experiencing homelessness, affordable housing and the mentally ill. 

From 1978 - 1983, the Federal budget for housing shrank from $84B to $18B dollars, and mass homelessness in America began. 
That's $64B dollars annually we're losing for housing. 
These federal cuts have never been restored. And we have turned hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets.
Homelessness in America is at an all time high. It's a natural disgrace.
Imagine being homeless - you're cold, you're wet. Where will you sleep tonight? Will you be safe? Will you be assaulted? Worst yet, will you be sexually assaulted.
You ask, why are people staring at me? Your thoughts are racing so fast it's hard to concentrate. Your entire body is tired and tense. You have sleep deprivation. You're told you're number 522 on the wait-list for housing at the local shelter. It's an estimated 2 years that you have to live the hell that is homelessness. And you have become a criminal for no other reason than not having a safe place to call home in your own country.

Some people might see these homelessness as junkies, but they are incredible men and women, who have incredible hearts.

In Portland, more than 16,000 people will experience homelessness this year. One-third of these people are women. And one-third of those women will experience sexual assault on the streets. More than half of the people outside are people with severe disabilities (mentally / physically disabled). 

Four steps to help solve homelessness:
1) The next President would make ending homelessness a top priority. (without real national leadership we cannot solve homelessness)
2) A homeless BILL OF RIGHTS. (to protect the civil and basic rights. People are discriminated everyday for being homeless.)
3) New policies to support renters from mass evictions and help curb high rental costs (we need rent control)
4) New revenue to support giving our most vulnerable citizens housing opportunities (we need massive investments and affordable housing).

Local communities have to face the problem and work to solve it. 

Homelessness in our communities feels normal, but it is anything but normal. Homelessness is NOT normal. Housing is not a new idea. We need a new idea and new actions to solve a new problem. We need new and emerging leaders. We need strong and bold legislators. We need courage to build strong coalitions. We need new resources to give people a safe place to call home.

First, you can just acknowledge homeless people. Offer them coffee, food, or money. They are human beings. There is nothing more powerful in life than the power of human connectivity and love. It's something we all need and it's something we can all give. 

We cannot burn out on compassion fatigue (being overwhelmed by so many problems).

To succeed in life, we all need a place to call home.
Breaking the cycle of poverty - one woman's guide: Gemma Sisia at TEDxUQ 2014 (May 2014)

How we can End Poverty by 2030. | Carin Jämtin | TEDxNorrköping (December 2017)

The end of extreme poverty | Alex Thier | TEDxFoggyBottom (May 2015)

Scarcity is created, Poverty is created. Earth is abundant with resources yet we fight over control over them without even using them.

The bridge between suicide and life | Kevin Briggs (May 2014)

This presentation touches upon the effects of mental health. Many of these suicide people just NEED somebody to LISTEN to them without judgment and without too much commenting or advice given. they just want an empathetic and sympathetic ear to relate with.
Ending poverty - what engineers can do: James Trevelyan at TEDxPerth (January 2013)

To solve poverty we have to change the conversation about poverty.

Changing the face of poverty | Ronald Hill | TEDxVillanovaU (November 2015)

Suspend judgment. It's so much easier to judge people in tougher situations than us ourselves would be able to deal with.

FACT: The poor in the poorest nations save more than the poor in the wealthiest nations (b/c shanty towns are at risk of being taken over by the gov't thus people prepare themselves for the worst in those 3rd world poor nations).

Look in the face of somebody who is impoverished, and what you will find is humanity in them and humanity in yourself.

We can't do anything unless we get politically active.
1. we're living in fear. The politics of fear dominate everything
2. we hoard things thinking that that will make us more secure. We live in scarcity,not abundance. We spend so much time in the united worried and fearful of what we don't understand.
My path out of poverty| Lashon Amado | TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue (July 2015)

Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime. -Aristotle
Ending homelessness block by block | Rex Hohlbein & Jenn LaFreniere | TEDxSeattle (March 2018)

Ending homelessness in Seattle by putting resource-efficient small homes on each block in the city.

HOPE is Homeless | Andrew Funk | TEDxGracia (November 2017)

This guy was once homeless. An entrepreneur too. He speaks on what it means to be a homeless entrepreneur. He speaks about the importance of HOPE for the homeless.

HopeMakers: Helping Homeless Youth Embrace Life | Kevin Ryan | TEDxNavesink (May 2016)

An amazing presentation here...... Kevin teaches how to uplift the person in life...... the kids especially............ very powerful.

Facing homelessness | Rex Hohlbein | TEDxRainier (December 2014)

The negative stereotype against the homeless is crazy!....... 
No one chooses to be homeless. The abuse they experience is horrible and sad. If we're going to end suffering, we're all going to have to slow down and get involved in some way......
Kindness for kindness' sake. Beautiful stuff....... 
When we walk past someone without acknowledging them we create our own glass wall between them.... 
Moments of acknowledgement means everything to the homeless folks........
We each have this ability to make a profound difference in the lives of the homeless and it will in turn make a profound difference in your own life.
Ending Homelessness: Why Aren't We There Yet? | Don Burnes | TEDxRiNo (December 2016)

Our society is collapsing. 
Our government (federal and local) don't care about the homeless problem really. If they did it would be solved. 
Homelessness is a giant business for a lot of charitable organizations
But where does all donation money really go? 
I've seen the same homeless people for many years. I am homeless as well.

We need lots of legislation to improve (9 MIN - end of video).
Housing first: a house number for everyone | Peter Broekmans | TEDxVenlo (November 2018)

Approximately 100 million people are homeless worldwide. 
1.6 billion lack adequate housing and another seven million people are forcibly displaced due to a conflict. 

The idea worth spreading of Peter, is to develop tiny houses from logistics containers that can be developed everywhere, by everyone and to every place via container ships. This helps homeless people and refugees to build their own houses, it develops local employment and it improves the worldwide problem of empty shipping containers. 
Due to the lack of good housing for homeless people and refugees, Peter started a special program to develop tiny houses together with them and professional staff. 

Peter is a creative and socially active entrepreneur that wants to take on the housing problem. As an out of the box thinker he thinks and proves that this is the perfect opportunity to work on this unique project and to help society as a whole.  

We don't need money -- we just need to shipping containers --- empty shifting containers --- 30 million containers -- 12 million of them are empty -- so we use them for tiny houses. #interesting
Solving homelessness in your community: Kristin Nelson at TEDxLamorinda (May 2014)

The housing first approach is much cheaper for us and our communities!

Community Saves Lives; Justice for Homeless and Hungry Students | Elizabeth Waite | TEDxCSULB (January 2019)

She was homeless, got accepted into school eventually and made some unique changes therein.....

How can I bring dignity to the homeless? | Joel Hunt | TEDxSaltLakeCity (October 2014)

Wow, crazy story. A homeless woman was hustling, and she got beaten and raped one night. That is where she found her worth - while she was being raped and assaulted. Previously when she had gotten raped she hadn't felt such before. Enough was enough. Then she was able to get the help that she needed. She ended up realizing her value and worth, finding her place in this world and finding her voice. Dignity can be restored through hope. 

Breaking the "toxic-stress" homelessness cycle starts at birth | Craig Welch | TEDxPortsmouth (September 2018)

Generational poverty and homelessness can be prevented when caring adults protect kids from toxic stress. Portsmouth Housing Authority Director Craig Welch asks us to rethink how our communities care for our very youngest children.

Craig Welch is the Executive Director for the Portsmouth (NH) Housing Authority, Craig oversees a $83 million housing portfolio with eleven properties and 600 affordable housing units in the City of Portsmouth, well as a Resident Services Coordination Program and a Housing Choice Voucher program that serves more than 750 seniors and families in the region. 

Another thing we can do is invest. Love all of these kids like you do all of your kids. 
A simple way to support the homeless: Backpacks! (December 2016)

What would you pack in a backpack if you were homeless tomorrow? 
Water, books, clothes, a sleeping bag, a tooth brush, a knife (the knife is the best thing in the world for you), towels, a scarf/hat, shampoo/hygiene products, paper/pencil/notes, toilet paper.

A lot of people rejected our backpacks. I was getting angry because i had printed brochures, etc, and I had just failed at reality. 

A homeless student mentoring program.........
Women in poverty don't need our help: Andrea Stachnik at TEDxMontereyWomen (December 2013)

Andrea describes how a combination of micro-finance, micro-consignment, and online learning is offering young women in Guatemala new pathways for success and financial independence.

We need to stop providing ephemeral supplies and aids to women, and we need to start supplying them with the TOOLS they need to resolve the problems for themselves instead of giving them the solutions ourselves.
The man whom you catch a fish for eats for a day, the man whom you teach to fish eats for a lifetime. She gives details between minute - 4 min - 5:40 min.

Transitioning people out of homelessness one issue at a time | Ranya O'Connor | TEDxOU (March 2017)

Ranya Forgotson O’Connor hails from Norman, Oklahoma and serves as Director of The Curbside Chronicle at the Homeless Alliance. The Curbside Chronicle is a magazine that employs homeless and at-risk individuals in Oklahoma City, helping them earn a dignified income and transition into housing and on to further employment opportunities. In addition to covering the local OKC scene, The Curbside Chronicle also includes articles written by those experiencing homelessness and about issues of poverty in our local community. 

Fighting homelessness, my way: Jamal Mechbal at TEDxDelft (November 2013)

A lot of people don't dress as if they're homeless.
A lot of people can become homeless. 
How do you become homeless? 
Things happen to you. One thing triggers another thing and before you know it you're homeless. Many went to school, had work, had businesses, had good lives. 

Let people do what they can.
Focus people toward what they CAN DO rather than what they cannot.
Give people the chance to help themselves.
Homeless vs. Person Experiencing Homelessness: The Power of Labels | Hannah Hornsey | TEDxYouth@WSHS (August 2018)

HANNAH HORNSEY is the Co-Executive Director of The Bridge Street Newspaper, a monthly publication that works to ameliorate the lives of those suffering from homelessness in Memphis. 
The Bridge has allowed vendors to afford groceries, rent, and even buy cars; it has also shaped Hannah's own experience at Rhodes by providing her with valuable time management, organization, and leadership skills. She hopes to continue to help the organization expand and gain more of a positive presence in the Memphis community. 
With the ability to rise up in the world today, comes the responsibility to do so. To pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get yourself out of whatever situation you find yourself in. But the reality is that's not always possible or realistic. Mental health problems and other circumstances can create very tough situations.
"When you're giving money to someone who's begging for it, you're enabling their self-destructive behavior." <--- this sort of thinking is creating more barriers for very vulnerable people. They're perpetuating the stereotype. 
Albeit not all people are truthful or angels or sober - but that doesn't mean we shouldn't seek to make any lighter what they're currently experiencing.
Each time we fear to make eye-contact with a homeless person we pass, we carry on this stigmatization and we are perpetuating that stripping away of that person's humanity. 
Us labeling them as not wanting to get a job contributes to their mental health problems.
When numerous people begin to label you into something, you yourself begin to believe it (Labeling Theory) [if somebody labels you as deviant, you will commit deviant behavior].
So when applied to homelessness, if somebody is constantly telling you that you are lazy, that you can't get a job, these people are in a place of lacking  self-confidence (and it's impossible to achieve without some type of outside help, nevertheless the detriment of others' words and perspectives upon you). Formulating relationships with people is greatly helpful. 
CommUNITY is the solution to homelessness | Angela Belford | TEDxDicksonStreet (January 2018)

It has to be compassion, grace, and empathy (the solution to homelessness). We have value because we are humans.
How do you build a cargo net? To pluck somebody out of the water and put them into housing. HOUSING FIRST. The idea that I have to get my crap together before I can get a house has to be eliminated. Because there are legitimate barriers to getting housing.
-- Mental health issues is one of those. 
-- Substance abuse (drugs and alcohol).
-- Physical disabilities. 

We must provide permanent housing abilities for folks that are experiencing physical disabilities.
PTSD makes it tough to get a job. 
Once you fall off, it's tough to re-engage.

Already when you're out homeless, people ignore you and make you feel ashamed.

Those who do not have all of these barriers - they should move on to becoming a homeowner, from being a tenant. We must teach budgeting. 

How can you help? Be a community investor (using your time to be a friend/volunteer at homeless shelters).

We must decide that our community is only the best to live in when we have created a net for everyone, including the homeless.
Poverty is not an aspiration: Breaking the poverty cycle (July 2016)

People don't intend to be poor. But they may need help to get out. It is to help families become self-sufficient.
I thrived (to get out of poverty) because of a combination of having a family, public housing, welfare money, and a gray haired man who donated $20 to me for an applications fee.
15% of the united states is poor and lives in poverty. That's 44 million people.
A family of 4 living on $24,000 annually is considered living in poverty. 
There's a difference between situational poverty (losing job), and persistent poverty (you NEVER have enough money). The difference between being broke, and being broken.
Why is there still so much poverty? Because we often treat the results of somebody living in poverty, and not the root cause of why someone is in poverty.
People living in poverty don't want handouts. People in poverty don't want gifts. People in poverty don't want more service. People living in poverty want barriers removed so they can get access to job training, and a job so they can take care of themselves and their families. I know this, I was once them.
Breaking the cycle of poverty -- by bringing together people who are willing to work with every member of the family (local. logical. and integrated). In other words - to meet people and serve people where they are.

A teacher. A banker. A stranger. A volunteer. A social worker. A job coach. A foot stamp coordinator. A housing advocate. A job development support.
All of these people have the authority to remove these barriers. And they come bearing HOPE, A SMILE, DETERMINATION, PATIENCE, PASSION, COMPASSION, AND A CAN-DO ATTITUDE.
The goal of the model is to ensure that families are educated. are healthy, and are employed.
A family success center -- it brings together experts and families co-navigating to end permanent poverty.

"Maybe we can stop blaming people about being poor and in poverty. Instead, let's learn about poverty. TWO ways to do that: a site visit to a homeless shelter. Or learn through published reports. We can end generational poverty one at a time. It is all about removing the barriers." — Michelle Gethers-Clark [2]
Opportunities unlimited - poverty is no excuse! Auma Obama at TEDxVienna (December 2013)

To define poverty beyond what we see. 
Development aid is NOT sustainable. We take development as something that is philanthropic (charity) rather than economically sustainable. Ownership is important.
We must move away from thinking we are poor and we must focus on our assets and resources (to focus on the positives) --- the challenge and fight against what people THINK OF YOU AS. 
The minute you are complacent you become a victim to your circumstances.

In defining self, there three words: LIGHT. VOICE. FIRE.
LIGHT -- being seen. you must be seen. you have to look at you when you talk to you. When the light shines in your eyes, it means you are alive. Look up and stand straight.
VOICE --- once you're heard, and you hear your own voice - you realize you exist. and if you have something powerful to say - you become something!
FIRE --- your potential. be aware of your potential. they just need exposure, these young kids. to realize their potential, and have been seen and heard, they take action and that's when they take ownership of their lives.

Learn a vocational skill (to make development happen).
Education is key (everybody needs an education).
Use the internet to get what you NEED, not what you want.
Look at TRADE, not AID..... Enable yourself to become part of the economic value chain.

What in it for me? It has to be a win for everybody. It has to be fair. Development must be part of the economic value chain. You sit at the table and you have a conversation. We must learn to say NO, and that's when we get our strength and our voice. You have to learn to take a position. When you do the eye-to-eye approach when negotiating; we must teach how to fish rather than giving fish. You must know first however, do they eat fish? Must know how to help! To ensure it is a worthwhile effort being established.

Sustainable economic development --- if young people take responsibilities, and the potential in their environments that they can utilize to build themselves up.

You are responsible for your destiny.
Fix poverty. Fix education, or Fix nothing (December 2015)

Providing quality education to the least blessed kids in our society.
The beginnings of fixing poverty and education --- equity for all kids. 
Not doing so, literally threatens our community security.
An equality in education is essential.
Those who were invested in once upon a time.
Now, more than ever, all of us must come together.
The Brain on Poverty | Jessica Sharpe | TEDxGreenville (May 2018)

The effects of poverty start in women. When pregnant moms are addicted to drugs and alcohol, the baby becomes so too.
Such babies are then already compromised. The first 3 years of life are critical to brain-development (80% of the brain develops during this time).
Low income children have read fewer books too (therefore they know fewer words and never reach levels of education and opportunity).
Chronic stress is also prevalent among the poor --- such is linked to weight issues, and early death. Living in poverty can literally kills us.
They are also more likely to rely on food stamps and (SNAP and TANF).
The solution to ending poverty starts with EMPATHY (knowing what it's like to want to be loved and have faith in society).
Fatherhood as an anti-poverty strategy: Joseph T. Jones Jr at TEDxBaltimore 2014 (February 2014)

Children from fatherless households are more likely to be depressed, they're more likely to drop out of school, they're more likely to be incarcerated -- thereby these facts and data are then resulting in more prisons being built - and once those prisons are being built, they have to be occupied (thus the shitty laws that keep people in the criminal justice system unjustly).

Poverty versus privilege: Ashley Canas at TEDxLincoln (November 2013)

What I have discovered is that there is some poverty in privilege and some privilege in poverty. There is poverty in beauty, poverty in thinking, and poverty in lack of perspective. My several encounters with poverty have led me to believe that this is not about judging, but merely an observation of what I have witnessed. The most important thing that I learned in life is to never give up. 
Canas grew up in Cozad, Nebraska, in poverty with a single mother, but then was the first person in her family to receive a college degree and completed graduate school with a 4.0.  Not bad for such humble beginnings. She believes that the ability to pioneer change starts inside each one of us,  through increased awareness, perseverance and strong, caring actions.  We must be resilient and desire to be more.
There may be no hope to resolve poverty unless we have tremendous hope to look at it for what it is.

Poverty is more than being hungry.
There's mental poverty (those who are rich but feel horrible inside)
Privilege is really a special opportunity to do something that makes you proud (a sense of belonging that no dollar amount could buy).
We do not have to accept Poverty - we should be allowed to dream. We must look at the real face of poverty. We need to honestly tackle the greed that enables Poverty to flourish.
It is what YOU DO with your poverty stricken situation that MATTERS.
Using Brain Science to Create New Pathways out of Poverty: Beth Babcock at TEDxBeaconStreet (December 2013)

It wasn't that long ago that finding a job to get out of poverty was pretty straightforward. Jobs were plentiful and you didn't need a lot of education to find a good job and decent wages in construction, transportation, or the public sector. But the world has changed drastically since then. Family sustaining jobs now require education beyond high-school, public supports for the poor have been slashed, and the bottom half of Americans are losing earnings. This talk will show how we use new findings from science and technology to help us design better programs that lead to new pathways out of poverty.

The lasting impacts of poverty on the brain.
Poverty affects our memory, focus, follow-through, motor skills, behavioral control, language memory (the effects of poverty on executive functioning).
If we've been experiencing this stress for years -- our brain wiring changes.
The very areas of the brain (to optimize our time and resources) that we need are the areas that poverty wipes out! That's not a very nice thing to hear about science.
We must create new brain wirings essentially. Playing cognitive apps that help improve mental skills. Who are sitting down with counselors - and are getting their issues arrayed and figuring out what next step tomorrow they can make to make change and progress in life!
These internal skill-sets are thereby enabling themselves to get out of homelessness and not get into it again.
There are major corporations who are selling these critical thinking tests/modules for students who want to get into Law school, etc. 
Neurologists also apply these tests/modules on PTSD patients.
We must begin to use these same modules to change the world of poverty.
How do we end generational poverty: Dominique Lee at TEDxUofM (April 2014)

The more serious cause of poverty is hidden behind the very real problem of racial and ethnic discrimination. Throughout history the condition of poverty was the condition of landlessness. #PALESTINE
And, landlessness for the majority of people in a society or even a significant minority of the people is caused by the systems of property law and taxation that secure and protect entrenched landed privilege.
In almost every country, including the United States, fewer than 5% of the population controls upwards of 90-95% of the total land value. 
The landed are thereby able to claim a very high portion of what the remainder of the population produces. 
What they claim is referred to in works of political economists as the "rent" of land, a value that is societally-produced but under current laws is individually-appropriated.

A long list of philosophers and other thoughtful people have identified the problem of land rent monopoly and tried to do something about it. Adam Smith wrote extensively about this in his book Wealth of Nations. Winston Churchill in his early political life declared that monopoly in all its forms was the cause of most of our problems, and that land monopoly was "the mother of all monopolies."

The only way to eliminate poverty is to eliminate monopoly privilege, to create the basis for a full employment society. Adding highly educated and highly skilled people to the labor pool without an expansion in the number of jobs available eventually leaves people competing with one another for fewer and fewer jobs. Poverty is shifted but never reduced.
Rethinking The Paradigm of Poverty | Jennifer Gurecki | TEDxUniversityofNevada (February 2016)

Through her own research and personal experience, Jennifer Gurecki has learned that conceptualizing poverty as only lack of financial resources will not help us end poverty. 
Understanding how other forms of capital – social, natural, and human – contribute to poverty is essential to grasping the complexity of poverty and ultimately how each of us can become part of the solution to ending it. 

-- very powerful, she speaks on the IMF! and how GDP is measured falsely to not contribute to fighting poverty (the measuring of progress is faulty). 
--The poor don't need our pity, they need our partnership........Move away the trap of "them" and "us". If you can help re-change the narrative, the impoverished might be able to get the resources they need that will make their lives better. Ending poverty is about doing for ourselves because what's good for the poor will ultimately end up being good for all of us too. 
Rethink Homelessness | Shelley Lauten | TEDxOrlando (August 2017)

Shelley, the CEO of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, shares her organization's "Housing First" approach to homelessness along with the organization's surprising results.
The Commission is a tri-county organization whose mission is to eradicate homelessness across
the region.
The Housing First approach and it's great impact (is much better than the Treatment First model).
It is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.
We must get families stabilized in HOMES. 

The strategy based on a shared common vision of what we want to see happen
We must raise wages.
We must lower housing costs.
We must subsidize certain costs (transportation, etc).
We need Data, deadlines and a clear vision to get this accomplished.

It all starts with great data -- with deadlines (clear and consistent so we don't forget who we're serving). 
We all need to invest into homelessness to resolve it (not just government funding). It's going to take all of us. 
Can you believe that everyone deserves a home!...
Why why matters -- why poverty?: Mette Hoffman Meyer at TEDxLundUniversity (May 2013)

She is an executive producer of Why Poverty?, which consists of  eight documentaries dealing with aspects of poverty. The films were shown around the world in November 2012 on more than 70 national broadcasters. In her talk Mette will focus on the value of asking why.

When we open peoples hearts, we often open people's minds. 
If you're poor enough, and you're schooling is bad enough - you don't really have an opportunity to compete.
We are wealthy yet we are poor.
Giving your aid and money is not a real solution to poverty.
Power and wealth created a greater divide.
Designing business models for the poor | Jason Fairbourne | TEDxSaltLakeCity (June 2011)

4 billion ppl live on less than $4 USD a day. 
Most don't have access to water and health care.

They try to be innovative to create something that they can potentially sell.
1. Those in poverty are poor because of lack of opportunity.
2. Listen to what people really want.

**Micro-Franchising -- A business model that gives the individuals they need to operate a successful business.
-- standardized business
-- training
-- access to products
-- strong branding

Difference between business-owner and entrepreneur. Business owners create economically sustaining livelihoods (without needing to be an innovative entrepreneur).
The Poverty Phobia | Rodney Jonathan Likaku | TEDxLilongwe (November 2016)

It's unhealthy to use money to say thank you for a poor community.
Those who are poor fear being poor the most.
Our fear of poverty has made us the poorest country in the world.
Fiction can form a reality - the reality of the world we live in.
How education can end homelessness: Tracy Sharp at TEDxABQED (June 2014)

-- lack of affordable housing
-- poor economy
-- mental health
-- substance abuse

But I believe it is the loss of community that is the underlying factor in homelessness (inherent in which is: educational and support systems).

Give a family a house (increases stability and happiness) and that does not increase their income.
Children who grow up in poverty learn to survive, but not THRIVE.

What if we could:
-- engage a family in homelessness from isolation to community.
-- homeless to housed
-- high school grad to college grad
-- to find the underlying causes and fully change them
-- give housing and giving them a chance to complete a course of study (to increase their incomes)

To break the cycle of homelessness and poverty though housing, education, and community.
The only way to truly address the complex issue of homelessness is to tackle the root causes of poverty, empowering families to not only survive but to thrive.
Changing one's life is possible given the right support and environment.
Given housing, education, and a supportive community - the homeless can change their lives.
Beyond HELLO: Changing the Perception of Homelessness | Kristi Blakeway | TEDxWestVancouverED (November 2015)

Homelessness is not just about a lack of housing. It's about trauma. It's about emotional pain and broken connections.

The homeless have stories to tell. 
~~When we begin to repair relationships and connect as people, only then will we overcome the pain of the streets and rekindle the human spirit. 

~~Next time you see someone who has lost their connection with society, i invite you to go beyond "hello". Look in their eyes and see their untold story. 

~~Treat the homeless like a neighbor you have yet to meet, or a child whose spark has yet to ignite. 

~~Engage with curiosity rather than judgment. 

~~The people on the streets may be hungry - but they are hungry for so much more than food. 

~~They are hungry for LOVE. 
~~They are hungry for HOPE. 

~~And they are hungry for HUMAN CONNECTION. 

Together, let's change the perception of homelessness.
Small Business Homeless | Glen Dunzweiler | TEDxWilmington (October 2018)

We have programs to continue to support people who are homeless.
In other words, we don't have money to get people off the streets, but we have money to give them a sandwich. And another sandwich. 
And then some programs just run out of money because the charity ends, and the giving stops.
So many communities move people to other communities (by giving the homeless bus tickets and thinking "please don't come back").
We've got to let go of who we think these homeless people are - because you have no idea who they are until you talk to them. They could be mothers, children, and yes, they can be drug addicts and ex-cons, and the populations that we feel it's OK to neglect.
But the one thing they have in common is that they don't have a personal support network/family to support them in their time of need. 

So what i think each community needs is to support those homeless in their community for 2 reasons: 
1) those homeless don't have anybody else. 
2) that community has a vested interest in it's own success. 

****Now, this has to be self-sustainable. Charity only goes so far; it burns out. So we have to see a direct return on our investment of the homeless. This means we have to find some advantage to us doing this deed, and some reason to continue on in doing this deed.

Instead of neighborhood watch, why don't we have NEIGHBORHOOD HELP buy the domain: So we say, "hey man, i see you're on the street, can i do anything to help you? what do you need?" and you start pooling your resources. The good story is in the deed, it's not in the conclusion.

I know a barber that cuts hair for the homeless on weekends.
Everyone needs a haircut. 
And he's become an Instagram star because of that. 

Social entrepreneurship -- if your business helps out the community (homeless) then other people will want to do business with you. 
Anderson Cooper: How I see homeless people now (February 2014)

We all have support networks. We all have family and friends and a job and things that support us when we trip. These (homeless people) are people who have burned through those support networks. And that's the only difference. -ANDERSON COOPER

You're asking very personal questions. I think we were surprised by how upfront people were (the homeless people). And how honest people were. And how people seem to appreciate you just talking to them like a regular person. -ANDERSON COOPER

So many people walk by homeless people all the time. I've done it. You pretend you don't see them. There's a homeless guy who camps right outside my house actually. And it was interesting, because I noticed before he really annoyed me (him pan-handling, etc), and after this story, I asked him his name, I say hello to him, I talk to him. Before the story I just ignored him. I just pretended he wasn't there. And after the story I was like, this is ridiculous. This is my issue. Me pretending not to see this person is insane. And offensive. And it humanizes people - anytime you stop and talk to somebody, and you learn about them, you will start to walk in their shoes a little bit, and you see things through a different lens. -ANDERSON COOPER
Finding Home Among The Homeless | Derek Snook | TEDxCharleston (May 2015)


Working as a day laborer, he built upon the insights he had gained, while teaching at a school for orphans in a fishing village of Kenya— the disconnect between those who want help and those who want to provide it. From this experience, Snook and Pete DeMarco co-founded a temporary services organization, with an innovative rewards program that incentivizes workers to fulfill their goals, resulting in better outcomes for the workers, the companies hiring them, and ultimately the community.

Each of us knows, that great stories require great obstacles.
Most of us will spend our entire lives trying to avoid them (obstacles).
THE MESSAGE OF SELF-PRESERVATION SAYS: avoid obstacles at all costs ("it's not the right time". "it's too difficult". "how will this pay for my mortgage". "what will other people think of me").
But we can never always escape obstacles. They will catch up with us. We all have to face loss, failure, and even death. 
Furthermore, when we listen to these reasons, we slowly build silos around ourselves that disconnect us from the realities of the world; from the needs and cries of society. And none of us can live a meaningful life while disconnected from others. People disconnect from the poor out of cowardice | pride | selfishness | greed; all of which are vices.
So what's the solution? When we help others overcome their obstacles, we ultimately overcome our own. I know it sounds crazy. How can we give up a piece of ourselves and ultimately gain more than what we've lost. But as I began to put workers ahead of myself, it gave me a sense of meaning and purpose that'd i'd never felt before: that no obstacle could interfere with and no circumstance could change.

We invest in more than 100 workers lives on a daily basis. More than 30 found permanent positions through our company with our customers. And our dream is to replicate this across the country.

Examine your own heart. Examine your own story. And know that the obstacle you've gone through, the obstacle you're going through, the one you will be going through, or like me the one you're trying to avoid: is your opportunity to LOVE a world that desperately needs it. 
And when you help them overcome their obstacle, you'll find a sense of meaning and purpose that is far greater than you can ever ask or imagine. 
We all start off wanting to be different things (doctors. teachers. lawyers).  But it's for the same reason: each of us desires in our hearts to live for something greater than ourselves. To serve and not to be served.  And that is the only STORY that can change this world. 
The poor know how to overcome poverty. | Robert Hacker | TEDxBocaRaton (March 2016)

For almost forty thousand years governments, have failed to solve the problem of poverty. Now is the time for individuals with Internet connectivity to become empowered entrepreneurs. 
Robert Hacker relates the lessons he learned about poverty at One Laptop per Child.
Robert Hacker is a consultant and author and teaches social entrepreneurship at FIU and MIT Sloan. 
Previously he built a billion dollar public company in one of the poorest countries: Indonesia.
Robert Hacker works at the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship and complexity as a consultant, adviser, professor and writer.
He worked in Asia for twenty years, including seven years in Indonesia where he built a billion dollar publicly traded company. Bob returned to the U.S. in 1999 and later worked with One Laptop per Child where he sold over a million educational laptops to foreign governments to freely distribute to children.
The invisible people = the homeless. 
The last person you saw who was homeless - they became invisible to you because you didn't remember them as being a person.
Poverty isn't a lack of character; it's a lack of cash - Rutger Bregman (June 2017)

The poor are not making dumb decisions because they are dumb, but they're living in a context in which anyone would make dumb decisions.
Investments in education are ineffective -- poverty is NOT a lack of knowledge. 
The psychology of poverty --- George Orwell experienced poverty and stated -- "the essence of poverty is that it annihilates the future".
We so often treat the symptoms but ignore the underlying cause of poverty. 
So why don't we change the context in which the poor live? Why keep tinkering around with the software?

Milton Freedman - basic income guaranteed (monthly stipend enough to pay for food, shelter, education) -- completely unconditional - nobody tells u how to spend the money.

Dauphin Canada -- everyone in this small town was guaranteed a small income (ensuring no poverty!)...... then a new gov't was established... 25 yrs went by, and an analysis found records-- the experiment had been a resounding success. .. the school performance had become great. hospitalization rate went down. domestic violence rates went down... similar results have since been found in other experiences from the USA to India.
When it comes to poverty - we the rich should stop pretending we know best -- we should stop sending shoes. The great thing about money is people can buy things they need rather than what the rich think the poor need.

Basic income is venture capital for the people... poverty is hugely expensive. 

The cost of child poverty in the US is estimated at 500Billion per year (i.e. higher health care spending. higher drop out rates. more crime). 


For 175B, you could lift all impoverished Americans above the poverty line.

THE COST TO END POVERTY = $175 Billion <------ now THIS should be our goal

BASIC income is so much more than just another policy. It is also a complete re-think of what work actually is - and it will not only free the poor but the rest of us. Many people feel their jobs have little meaning in their lives for them.

Just imagine how much talent we're wasting simply because we tell our kids they have to "earn a living". 
The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people "click ads"  (Fb marketing, etc) ---- WHAT A SHAME. 

We CANNOT stick to the status quo. We need NEW IDEAS.

I believe in a future where the value of a your work is not determined by the size of your paycheck, but by the amount of happiness you spend and the amount of meaning you give.

I believe in the future where the point of education is not to prepare you for another useful job but for a life well lived.

I believe in a future where an existence without poverty is not a privilege but a RIGHT we all deserve. 

So here we are, here we are - we've got the research, we've got the evidence - and we've got the means........ Now --- more than 500 years after Thomas Moore first wrote about basic income, and 100 years after George Orwell discovered the true nature of poverty -- we all need to change our world view, because POVERTY IS NOT A LACK OF CHARACTER, POVERTY IS A LACK OF CASH.....

Mark Zuckerberg supports universal basic income to all.
""We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas," Zuckerberg said at his Harvard commencement address Thursday."
Homeless by design | Maurice Young | TEDxIndianapolis (November 2015)

POWERFUL speech on how the dude helps out the homeless (having had 3 previous wives, and a good corporate job), he gave it all up to be HIMSELF, helping out the poor, taking his soul and spirit servitude to the roots of the most vulnerable so as to assist them and thus fulfill himself more than the corporate life he encompassed previously.

Middle Class and Homeless | David Raether | TEDxAmherst (August 2015)

This guy was homeless for TWO years. 
Not a drug addict, nor an alcoholic, nor a criminal.
He failed however: his career ended. His financial savings vanished. He lost his house. His family broke apart. And he ended up homeless and alone.

It was an incredible experience and one that shaped him in many ways... It was very hard for him.

He worked on the Rosanne show as a TV comedic writing. He got paid a lot of money. It was HEAVEN for him, but not for his family and children.

In America, it is shameful to be poor. And one of the things I learned is NO, IT IS NOT SHAMEFUL TO BE POOR. 
I know what i can endure. 
And I'll have a great story when I get to the other side
Can homelessness be solved?: John Maceri at TEDxUCLA (July 2014)

John Maceri talks about an issue that is lingering across the US that unfortunately fails to be addressed on a daily basis. He reminds us that there is indeed something that can be done to help alleviate this issue and get our citizens off the streets.
John Maceri is the Executive Director of OPCC, a nonprofit social service agency based in Santa Monica. OPCC provides a wide variety of housing and services through its ten projects serving low-income and homeless youth, adults and families, battered women and their children, at-risk youth and people living with mental illness.  

"The richest country on earth and yet you let your citizens live like abandoned animals on streets." -Moral outrage!

While we've always had very poor and homeless people as part of our society, widespread homelessness today has only become prevalent over the last 30 years.

There are many reasons for this:
-- Policy decisions many decades ago that shut down many mental institutions. 
-- The loss of jobs and declining wages that help people obtain and keep their housing.
-- The widening income gap that's pushing more people into poverty.
-- The proliferation of highly addictive and very cheap street drugs (crack cocaine; crystal meth)
-- Veterans returning from war without adequate support to keep them from falling into homelessness.
-- The high cost of housing especially in our urban areas where low income people simply cannot afford to pay their rents.
-- Jails and prisons and foster care - which continue to discharge people into homelessness.

It's easy to blame an administration or another for these problems, or one political party or another for how we got here. The challenge is not to understand what created the problems; the challenges to understand is how do we get out of this mess.

One of the arguments that's used for why we haven't been able to move the needle on homelessness - is a lack of resources. "WE need more money. If we just had more resources we could do better". 
Well of course resources are important, and we can't do our work without them, so yes resources are a critical component in the solution, but it is a lack of resources that's really at the root of this problem? 

Over the last 30 years, we've spent billions of dollars funding homelessness services across the country.
We've spent billions and billions of dollars in health care dollars treating homeless people in hospitals. Law enforcement dollars incarcerating them. Mental health dollars treating them. Added together, we're talking about billions and billions of dollars and yet we haven't made significant progress. 

In Los Angeles , the numbers are increasing. Why!? It's NOT A LACK OF RESOURCES........ It's the lack of a holistic fully-integrated comprehensive service-system that addresses all of the multiple and complex needs of the homeless people, and then uses our resources in a targeted way to meet those needs. 
Just as we know that humans are comprised of BODY MIND AND SPIRIT, we also know that it's impossible to make lasting change without a holistic SYSTEM.
A practical way to help the homeless find work and safety (September 2017)

When Richard J. Berry, the mayor of Albuquerque, saw a man on a street corner holding a cardboard sign that read "Want a job," he decided to take him (and others in his situation) up on it. 
He and his staff started a citywide initiative to help the homeless by giving them day jobs and a place to sleep -- and the results were incredible. 

Handing out money to pan-handlers (which oft-times is not spent replenishing the body but rather on drug/alcohol addictions) is not resolving the root issue.

If you have something to do or need people to do something - it is a perfect solution.
We ask these panhandlers if they'd like a days work rather than panhandling for the day.

And if you're wondering if they really mean it, almost everybody we ask takes up the job we offer them for the day. <----NEED A DRIVER FOR THIS.

You also need a great non-profit organization that provides (food.housing. counseling.). They provide agility.  <-----------THE HAVEN IS WHAT THIS FULFILLS.

We pay our panhandlers $9/hr. 

We cleaned up trash, weeds, and litter in the city (the panhandlers jobs they did). 

It takes resources, but it doesn't take much. We started with:
--an old van
--a driver for the van
--a great local non-profit 
--and $50,000  

We also had to have community trust (built up in years prior).
Housing people is 31.6% cheaper than keeping them homeless.
We've saved over $5,000,000 while housing over 600 people. So we had that community trust.
We had to get people to understand that when they hand those $5 out the window - they might be minimizing their opportunity to help those people in need (that they're handing the $5 to on the street).

We ask the homeless people
Where's he from?
How did he get here?
How can we help him?

We've reduced unsheltered homelessness in our city by 80% in the last year.

We've been able to reduce the chronic homelessness in our city by 40%.

And we've literally eliminated veterans homelessness in our city by being intentional.

Chicago, Denver, Dallas, are now starting to implement programs where they bring the DIGNITY OF EMPLOYMENT (work) to the equation.

Homelessness is not separate from domestic violence, of illness, or substance addiction -- that's not to say all homelessness people experience these problems -- but every one of these problems is connected to homelessness.

We need to change the way we do business ---- if we believe a system is a group of integrated parts forming a complex whole - then there is no health care system or mental health care system or homeless service delivery system.
There are health care programs and providers! Mental health care programs and providers! Homeless service programs and providers! But integrated on a large consistent scale across the country? IT DOESN'T EXIST.

Well by now we should all be pretty discouraged and depressed. A decade of work by smart educated people spending billions of dollars without great results.
(Next column)

Here is a model of what works, that can be scaled up and sustained, to move the needle on resolving homelessness.

The poor will be with us always - i know - but the poor don't have to live like abandoned animals on our streets.

Instead of having silos of programs serving homeless ppl as if they're one dimensional -- why don't we create holistic systems of care that are genuinely fully integrated and address all of their needs.

Until we have a fully integrated system, we are never going to solve this problem. 

What people need is stable HOUSING with the ongoing services of mental health care, hospital care, substance abuse care.
Rather than discharging your homeless people to the streets, we said please discharge them to us (the homeless shelter). <--------- this creates a decrease in costs and creates permanent solutions.

The challenges facing homeless people are not isolated one-off solutions. They're integrated. But we don't treat them holistically. 
We need to embrace radical change in how we connect all of the dots. (like a cell phone, the power and effectiveness is how they're all connected #apps on iPhone for instance).

A holistic system
-- they're housed and off the streets
-- their health improves
-- they have an ability to become community contributors
***they're no longer in and out the streets (into hospitals and jails) etc. This saves tax dollars!

We continue to serve homeless people on the cheap (bucket by bucket rather than holistically). These bucket to bucket contributions are not adequate on their own.

Homeless people do not need our pity or deserve our scorn.
They all want a chance to connect and belong with others, to share their gifts and talents. 

Homelessness is solvable --- what we're lacking is the collective moral outrage, and the political will to get it done. 

If you think that leaving people on the streets isn't costing you anything, you're wrong.. we're spending a fortune in police, paramedic, jail, and hospital costs most of which is covered by citizen tax dollars.

We could be spending far less and having much better outcomes for homeless people, and at the same time creating much better living communities across this country.

I want to see this holistic model scaled up and implemented in every community on our planet. 
Let me Hear Your Story: Putting a Face on Homelessness | Sam Sawchuk | TEDxRundleAcademy (May 2016)

The worst thing about being homeless is not the cold and not the hunger. It's the fact that people walk by you and look down at you like it's your fault. 
Take a risk. Share your story with the world. And let others share theirs. Because sometimes the bravest thing you can say is "Hello". 
You're Homeless... Now What? | Martha Stone | TEDxPiscataquaRiver (May 2015)

Homeless can and does happen to all types of people. 
How do people become homeless?
It's rarely just one thing that happens. It's typically a series of things. 
-- lack of resources / money is always one of the issues.
-- breakups of a relationship or a severe event can cause somebody to lose their housing.
-- alcohol and drug addiction
-- people with developmental disabilities (caregivers unable to take care of them anymore).
-- people leaving prison who need a place to start over.
-- physical and mental illnesses (which are often untreated).

Once the homeless go back to work they don't always have money enough for housing, so they put themselves on a subsidized housing list.

The challenges for children who are homeless are unique
-- they grow up way too fast
-- truancy is also common
-- shame

Without volunteers, shelters would not exist.
The Untold Story of Homelessness | Alan Graham | TEDxYouth@Austin (June 2017)

A sad, powerful, profound story

A solution for homelessness: Community-Based Problem Solving | Adam Rideau | TEDxTemecula (October 2017)

There's 3 types of homelessness
-- transitional: a medical catastrophe. It can be any one of us.
-- episodic: they go in and out of homeless. They have behavioral issues that need to be taken care of. They become chronic.
-- chronic: these are people who really need help and resources.

The increase of our homeless population in 1 year - 129%. 
But there's government programs right? 
Cities, states, nations are doing what they can but they're not taking care of it. 

Community-Based Problem Solving
IN TIMES OF CRISES, people come together. during 9/11. during hurricanes. etc. How in America can you have someone that's living on the streets? 

Get people gloves (if your hands are cold then the guy who's homeless, his hands are definitely cold). Get them clean clothes for job interviews. etc.......

Solving Poverty Without a Big Wallet | Davis Nguyen | TEDxUCDavisSF (May 2017)

We don't solve poverty by throwing money. We solve poverty by helping people create opportunities for themselves. 

-- Find out what a homeless person is good at doing.
-- Write a review/testimonials for them to kick start the reputation of their service for the public to trust in their ability to deliver the service successfully.
-- Market/promote the service to customers.
-- Thus then the homeless person has his first customer to start making him money, providing that service of his!
The Poverty Paradox: Why Most Poverty Programs Fail And How To Fix Them (April 2017)

The question is not how can we eradicate poverty.
The question must be how can we create prosperity.

This is not a resource problem at all... This is an innovation problem.
Innovation = practical solutions to real problems.

And we find that many of the resources that are pushed on these poor communities are not practical because they cannot afford them, and they're not getting to the root cause of the problem.

To fix poverty in America (as opposed to Africa), America innovated itself. 
Henry Ford built the car.... This created industry (jobs) around the car industry (especially when the car was made affordable for the average american), and thus agriculture became more productive (as you could easily transport food using a car), and the US government was then able to build roads (by taxing the US cars and gas taxes). The cars came before the roads! #INNOVATION

Innovators created products that were affordable and simple so that millions of Americans could pool them into their lives. 

Now the one thing that these innovations have in common is that they make products SIMPLE, AFFORDABLE, CREATE JOBS, and ENABLE DEVELOPMENT.

Big time prosperity exists if we think about market creating innovations (that are affordable for everybody). Focusing on these kinds of innovations is more important than ever.

We must stop focusing on eradicating poverty, and we have to start creating innovations that can lead to prosperity.
Why poverty has nothing to do with money (June 2014)

Poverty is not the absence of wealth. It's the absence of dignity.

The answer to that is jobs. It's if they get up and go to work and earn their own money. Jobs end poverty. 

We place the poor into one specific neighborhood, and with jobs.

The poor don't lack resources, they lack ACCESS.

Poverty is NOT THE ABSENCE OF WEALTH. Poverty is absence of dignity.
Empowerment plan - bringing warmth and pride to the homeless (May 2012)

Founder of "The Empowerment Plan" Veronika Scott, has built an organization started around a single idea: to design a coat specifically for the homeless. The coat is self-heated, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag at night. That idea has now transformed into a system of empowerment in which homeless women are paid to learn how to produce coats giving them an opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence for themselves and their family.

Relying on the whims of others for everything. Where you can sleep. and sit. We live in the wild west of creativity. We live in a time where anything can happen that we want to do. But there's 3.5 million people that are homeless right now. And you can't categorize them as being lazy, or addicts, or that they're just failures at life. In Detroit alone, we have lose to 36,000 estimated homeless people.

Did it for pride, independence. We all want to be able to take care of ourselves. People design their homes and coats out of pride (the homeless people that is).
Sowing coats meant nothing. Jobs (for the homeless) is what matters. To create jobs for moms.
Running forward to alleviate homelessness (February 2013)

This lady started a running club in her city at the homeless shelter. The Director of the shelter figured nobody would be interested, but nine guys signed up for it.
She told them, "Listen, you have to come with a positive attitude. You have to respect your teammates, and you have to respect yourself. No excuses. A high standard of excellence!"..... I demanded of them exactly what I demanded of myself. And I swear to you it was almost as if they were waiting for someone to look at them.

People did not believe this was going on because there is this unfortunate stereotype about homeless people that is: "they are just lazy. they don't want to work. and they sure don't want to work hard." - and there is this allegiance about running: It is hard! It is for people who are ambitious, driven, type-a people who are responsible. All of these media people were taken aback and were at that corner that morning capturing and asking "why are these homeless guys running!?".  and they gave the same answers you and i would give:
-- i wanted to try something new
-- i wanted to meet new people
-- i wanted to get healthy
-- i wanted to see if i was good at this

And all these stories start to be written, and I start getting all these messages of people wanting to come run with us. And there were two amazing observations that were happening:
1) these guys were showing up voluntarily on time.
2) tracking these guy's miles they were running - and these guys would fight for the best seat behind my shoulders in competing against each other constructively!

We want to be noticed, recognized, cared for, loved for, cheered for, appreciated, valued. 
We seek it out in our friendships and relationships and jobs. And if we don't find them we go to other places to find it.
What if we could change the way people see themselves - from undeserving, homeless to somebody who is a runner, teammate, discipline, reliable, focused -- if we do this can we see them change the perspective of their lives!
Nobody thought it made sense. 
My mom was wandering how i was going to pay my bills. 

~~~~changing the direction of people's lives by changing the way they see themselves!~~~~ <--------so powerful and essential.

All of these people are not comfortable banking on the "could be" identity. Our current identities challenge us not to move and to stay put. If we can set the right expectations - it will be scary and uncomfortable, but isn't that what life is all about?

Her website:
The unexpected face of homelessness (December 2013)

I truly believe that the language we use, the attitudes we have, and the judgments we make have the potential to change the world that we live in, and to ultimately end youth homelessness.

Take any issue for example. If you develop a deeper understanding of that issue, you then have the opportunity to choose how you wish to respond to it. 

So if all we see is a stereotypical image of a homeless person - or if all we see is that 6% of the pie, then how many young people will reach out for help when it's far too late, when it's so much harder for them to get back on their feet. 
MEANING, before we can attempt to even assist them with a bed, we need to accept that they are carrying the weight of a label and shame that's associated with being a homeless person. 
I really believe that by choosing to say 'someone is experiencing homelessness", rather than labeling them a homeless person, has the power to make a difference. 

Because homelessness, that journey may be a chapter in someone's life, but it doesn't have to be the whole story.

I used to think that the response to homelessness just needed to be food, clothing, and shelter. But I realized i'm more than those three things. A big part of me is community. The people around me. My goals and my dreams.

If we can just look at the language, attitudes and judgments we make, it really does have the power to make a difference.
A simple and easy way to help the homeless -- clean fresh socks (December 2017)

Simply handing out socks or saying hello to someone who wouldn't say hello to can lead us to human connection, to story.

Steven Pinker, the author of the book "THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE" (why violence has declined), suggests that the humanitarian revolution had it's advent through story. It re-framed the human imagination toward empathy. And empathy can sometimes lead to embodied empathy which is Compassion. Empathy leads to compassion.
It's hard to not have that kind of desire to help. Which can have a powerful impact.

The ancient Greeks called compassion "splagchnizomai", and that word literally means "being moved from your insides to help alleviate the suffering of someone who is in need".

When we have safe places to tell our stories to; the pain, the violence, the hurt, the hopes, the desires, the failures, the successes; that can re-frame our sense of self-worth.
When we begin to see the vivid sense of goodness - that they too have a great sense of worth and vividness and sacredness.
Through the compassionate support of others, substance abusers begin to get clean.

The beautiful thing about compassion is that they found community and a sense of self-worth.  They discovered that BEING ON THE MARGINS OF SOCIETY WAS NOT THE END OF THEIR STORY, IT WAS JUST A PART OF THE STORY. And that something better was about to emerge for them.

-- street kids
-- gutter punks
-- meth heads
-- prostitutes
-- former gang-bangers
-- non-religious and religious alike
We found that we need to have a safe place for our friends who are marginalized, to begin telling who they are, without being judged. Without being shackled in shame.

Compassion connects unlikely people to one another. It comes at unexpected times through unexpected people.

It's very hard to imagine the compassionate side of ourselves, but if we have the courage to give out a fresh pair of socks or a hello - it might lead to a story, a friendship which might lead to the deeper and grander possibilities of human connection.
Acknowledging Another Human Being | Milton Brown (March 2016)

Heroin -- you're at the closest point of death you'll ever be, besides dying. That's all I lived for - was to get high. issues of abandonment, rejection, feeling less than - I never knew my father. I thought nobody loved me and my brother - who wanted us? So i never got any help for that. Those things were deterring me - they were dictating who I was. 

I ended up and NY Avenue shelter - one of the worst shelters in the DC metro-area.

I learned how to pray and trust God and put my belief and faith n him to bring me through this demonic state that i was living. 
Yes, I made some bad choices - i take the responsibility. but there are some people that didn't make those choices - circumstances took them there to a place that made them lose their minds.

Being in a shelter for a year or two years in a half - mental illness begins to development. Many come that are already mentally ill. That was one of my worst fears - of losing my mind in that shelter. If you do, you'll be stuck forever in that shelter, unless you get some mental help.

God uses people to Help you. 

My point is: acknowledging another human being. I know the feeling of not being acknowledged not as a human being -- people would look at you with so much hatred. I'm just like you - i just made a mistake. 

Next time you see a homeless person, please acknowledge them. 
It can help them so much. 
I've seen a doctor and a lawyer living in these shelters. 
It can happen to someone you love.

As fAr as you have one parent or both - respect them, enjoy them.

Do that for your parents - buy them a card consistently. 
Stop taking your parents for granted.
For it's their sacrifices that you have this nice school here and the opportunities you have.

Show love to another homeless human being the way you show love to animals. Show a little love. Just a little small thing of saying hello. "Can i buy you a cup of coffee or tea."

As a human being I didn't want your money - I just wanted you to look at me like a human being; instead you looked at me with shame, disgust, hatred. It's wrong. If you don't talk to me how can you know who I am and what I am, if you don't talk to me. What you do, is you show them love, and they have to respond.
Unsheltered...New Possibilities | Reba Stevens | TEDxCrenshaw (January 2017)

HOMELESSNESS creates emotions of shame, fear, despair, helplessness, hopelessness.

Arrested for stealing or being homeless. Each time i was out of jail i had no home to return to so i would end up right there. I became depressed, suicidal. I felt hopeless. I didn't want to feel, i didn't want to live. 
She's remained sober since. 
These experiences inspire her to eradicate homelessness.
Great questions to always ask the homeless:
-- What brought you here. 
-- What are your needs.
-- What are your desires

The county of LA ranks in the top 3 in the world for homelessness. 
36% are women. 
It is a crises that is extremely grave in South Los Angeles.

Housing first model. (housing doesn't stabilize, we also need support).
We all came in on different boats but we all end up on the same shore (that of being homeless).
What I and many others need are providers and agencies to exercise compassion, listening, empathy. 
We all come here on different boats - our needs truly are all different!
Housing First - a way towards ending homelessness | Juha Kaakinen | TEDxBratislava (September 2014)

People without homes. Homes without people..
We have 11 million EMPTY homes in Europe. 
We have 4.5 million homeless people in Europe.
To end homelessness, you need also to build new homes (despite the statistics shown here). But that is economically reasonable. 

BY INVESTING $1M FOR CONSTRUCTION - you can get homes for about 10 homeless people, and you can give work for about 15 homeless people per year. My goal is to buy and build 6,000 more flats for homeless people. 

^^^THE KEY WOULD BE TO MIGRATE HOMELESS PEOPLE TO PLACES WHERE IT IS CHEAP TO LIVE, AND WHERE WORK IS AVAILABLE ---- thereby my funding for ending homelessness is being utilized to the utmost of ability! i.e. THEY LIVE IN AREAS WITH LOW COSTS OF LIVING  ~AND~  WITH a boosting economy (low unemployment rates) with JOB OPPORTUNITY for folks of manual labor, or whatever skill-set the homeless person has and is able to work in. (we need a careers counselor to help them with this part of seeing what they can do as a means of living). -LUOLA

To change the world you have to change the way people think.
Originally the way to end homelessness has been the STAIRCASE Model -- you stop drinking, you become housing ready (from shelter to group home / supportive housing) and then a rental apartment of your own.

Some homeless people can make it but not all (some drop back to homelessness). That is called the REVOLVING DOOR syndrome. This was the dominant model in the 1980s and it was state of the art at that time. 
But then there was another way of thinking as well -- to get proper homes by buying flats from the free-market #FINLAND; municipalities make the contract with the homeless people. 

HOUSING FIRST, established in NY in the 1990s.
1. listen to him
2. provide him a suitable apartment
3. offer him the support he needs to get on with his life
This model has gained widespread recognition in the USA and European countries and has proven to be very effective in ending homelessness.

Housing doesn't solve everything. when a homeless person receives the keys to his apartment, he begins asking where are the keys to my life, where are the keys to my future. so the hunger for meaningfulness (meaningful work) grows.
You have to start from their strengths and capabilities. Not from their failings. "Nobody has yet failed in the future".. there are NO hopeless cases.

It amazing how big of the changes you can make with so few tools. In fact all you need is your head and your heart. Where everyone's human dignity will be respected. "A fair world without homelessness, with head and heart, together".

No One Expects To Be Homeless (March 2013)

Solving homelessness comes down to three aspects: 

1) is PREVENTION from anybody ever becoming homeless in the first place. 

2) is EMERGENCY RESPONSE by providing a safe haven (like the haven) to accommodate and house homeless people from dying/starving on the streets. 

3) is RECONCILING homelessness back into non-homelessness by making people self-efficient once again (affordable housing. income. #knowledge #skills).

Prevention – Stopping people from becoming homeless in the first place. 
Emergency Response – Providing emergency supports like shelter, food and day programs, while someone is homeless. 
Housing, Accommodation, and Supports – The provision of housing and ongoing supports as a means of moving people out of homelessness.

Everyone has realized that it is impossible to solve our present problem unless the individual moves from a theoretical standpoint and ceases simply talking about how things should be done, to the dynamic experience of personal growth. 

He can start where he is, he doesn’t have to worry.

The problem may be a need for a job, a domestic difficulty, a wayward child, whatever it is, if at this time he has not found a footing in a pattern for his own personal growth, that problem which he faces today must become that footing or one of its equivalents.

It must be something done by the individual himself to prove a sincere dedication to advancing the cause of the common good. Once he makes one statement, the seed is planted, and will never die. One good deed leads to another. One bit of wisdom leads to greater wisdom.