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The Surprising Solution to Homelessness   Leave a comment

This is one of the assignments I had to do for my recent return to college. I feel it was well made, and wanted to share it, in its original entirety below. The recorded version references the site I had to create for class. If or when I decide to re edit my recording, I will send it here.


How do we help the homeless? Simple, give them homes. In the below recording, I will explain why. (Transcript and further reading below.)

Homelessness is a major issue today, both in Downtown Salt Lake City, and in other major cities across the nation. Officials are scrambling for a way to tackle the issue that is both effective and low cost. But I believe Utah has found the most effective solution. It’s simple: if you want to solve homelessness, just give the homeless homes.

I know – it sounds both too simplistic and unrealistic. But from 2005 to 2015, Utah reduced its number of chronic homeless individuals by 90%. This was accomplished by giving the homeless homes first, before working on their other issues. It is almost impossible for someone to find a job, keep appointments, or improve their life if they don’t have a stable place to live. Our typical methods of providing job training, addiction therapy, and food, are well intentioned, but if you don’t get the homeless out of their bad environment, you can’t help them effectively.

Isn’t providing housing expensive? According to the Utah Homeless Task Force, in order to provide a home and social worker to a person in need, it would cost $7,800 a year. That sounds like quite a lot, but the average cost per year of a homeless person living on the street is over twice that amount at $19,000. That is the cost when you take into account emergency room visits, jail time, etc., in addition to the social workers and care programs we already use. Society is already paying the higher cost, so why not pay half of that in order to help twice as many people?

But are these figures true? Well, it is a little more complicated than that. Firstly, the numbers above are only for chronic homeless people. That means someone who has been on the street for over a year and has some sort of mental issue, like schizophrenia or drug addiction.They make up about 20% of homeless people. The remaining 80% of homeless people are temporary homeless. These are people who are in-between jobs and homes. Secondly, as Kevin Corinth from the Huffington Post has pointed out, Utah may have padded the numbers a little bit.

However, no matter how you interpret the numbers, there is a definite decrease in homeless. On top of that, whether we provide longer term housing to a chronic homeless person, or a temporary place to live while you get back on your feet, it still helps you recover. I understand it can seem too good to be true. But even a marginal effect is better than no effect, and that is exactly what we get right now.

For example, let’s talk about counselling programs. These are programs designed to help homeless people with addiction and mental illness tackle their problems, and integrate back in to society. At the moment, many of our housing programs are contingent on people staying clean or making all of their appointments in order to stay in their home. If someone messes up, they are back on the street until they prove they are willing to try again. But addiction and mental illnesses are diseases. We wouldn’t kick someone out for having an unexpected seizure or an allergic reaction, right?

Giving someone a home that is not contingent on them behaving “correctly” allows us to remove them from an environment that actively agitates their issue. If you are living in an apartment with other people who are trying to improve their life, it is going to be harder to do drugs than if you are sleeping on the street corner a block away from your dealer. I’m not saying we never have to push someone to clean up their life. But making someone’s chance to get clean their only chance denies human nature. We fail all the time, especially when we are learning something new, or gaining back skills we’ve lost.

I am not promising a panacea for the problem of homelessness. I also acknowledge in the long term we need to solve the issues that caused someone to become homeless in the first place. But if we focus on giving people houses first, it gives us a much better position to fix everything else. On top of that, it’s much cheaper that our current methods. So, if it is cheaper and more effective, what do we have to lose? Let’s give the homeless homes.

Thank you for reading,

 

Shaman


Works Cited:

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Posted 08/17/2017 by Shaman in Writing

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Its been six weeks   Leave a comment

I haven’t seen my daughter in over 6 weeks. It’s not for any malicious reason on my ex’s part. Not that I know of, at least. It’s just bad timing and busy lives.

I always told myself I would always make time for my daughter. I would threaten to quit jobs before I would miss my weekends with her. I still feel that way. At least I feel I do. But feelings and thoughts don’t count for much. In the end, I still don’t see my daughter. If I had to say it to her face, would I still make the same excuses? Would she care?

Or does it just matter that daddy isn’t there again?

I don’t even know why I’m writing this right now. I’m not depressed, just sad. I guess its because this is something more concrete than a journal I throw in a box and never look at again. By writing this, maybe I’ll try harder from now on. But who knows?

– Shaman

Posted 07/27/2017 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

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When Friendship Ends   Leave a comment

I just did a Facebook purge. I went through my list, and really thought hard about who I actually cared about, and who cared about me. It brought back memories. Of times where these people made me smile. Times where they comforted me. Times where we laughed, times where we talked; meals, movies, and parties.

But I don’t do that anymore. Not with them. I didn’t think it’d make me sad. Many of them were strangers to me now. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even notice me if I passed them on the street. Some of them I didn’t talk to any more for a reason. A bad break up, or a mutual connection severed our connection. Some were withered connections; people that I always meant to check up on. But I couldn’t find the time to do that between video games and stuffing my face.

My birthday was last month. I only had 3 friends show up. They are really close friends who I love very dearly, and I truly enjoyed the company. But it made me realize how isolated I am. My friend was putting the dinner together, and she tried to contact people. But there wasn’t anyone to reach out to. The few she tried either didn’t care, or were those withered connections, angry at how I never talked to them.

Friendships are plants. Some are cacti, only needing  little bit of water to grow. Others are crops, needing tons of work to foster a bountiful harvest. All are beautiful. All need nourishment. Other wise, they dry up, and turn to dust. If you neglect the garden too long, you are left with a pile of dirt and nothing to show for it.

I understand life is a journey, and people will drop in and out of that journey. Just like love, you either grow apart or one of you dies. I shouldn’t be surprised. When I think rationally, I know they weren’t friends anymore. They were bittersweet memories I would view as I scroll through Facebook. They were just ghosts of my garden. Now that they are clear, maybe I can get to adding new plants.

But not today. I don’t feel particularly optimistic. So I’ll sit in the dark, and mourn over the husks.

– Shaman

P.S: I know things have been sparse lately, I’ve been going back to school and it eats up my time. But I have been writing a lot in my classes, and hope to share it when I have the time.

Posted 07/06/2017 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

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I Could Never Love You   Leave a comment

​I could never love you.
It’s not because I don’t love you;
It’s just that I can never love you
The way you’d love me to.

– Shaman Romney 2017

Posted 07/05/2017 by Shaman in Poetry

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Untitled #3   Leave a comment

I think I’m funny
But I know that I’m not that funny
At the best I’m kind of punny
But mostly I’m punishing the people
Around me who have to hear another attempt
At me trying to tempt them to like me
For more than just the jokes that I say.
I’m keep on praying that my prey
Won’t run away from the mask of a clown
I wear when I try to make new friends.
I can’t show them the lone kid crying in his room.

Performing illusions for the illusions
He made up to make himself feel wanted.
All I’ve wanted was to make others happy.
I want to make others smile.
To make them forget all their problems for a little while.
But its not my style to be entertaining.
So I end up complaining to the echos
Alone in my room.
Alone with my thoughts,
Alone in my tomb.

Posted 06/21/2017 by Shaman in Poetry

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Funny Guy   Leave a comment

I think I’m a funny guy
With tears dropping into my salt free chips
Lazing around while chugging energy drinks and blasting speed metal
Speaking my mind and saying so little
Taking the rooftop exit instead of the stairs
Trying to take serious
How absurd the world is
It’s funny I think
I’m funny

– Shaman Romney 2017

Posted 05/20/2017 by Shaman in Poetry

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Small Talk   Leave a comment

I brought it up
‘Cause it bothers me too
I didn’t mean
To bother you
So I’ll shut up
Like I usually do
And talk about the weather.

– Shaman Romney 2017

Posted 05/18/2017 by Shaman in Poetry

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