Looking At The Problems Of Homelessness Social Work Essay

Topic: EconomicsInflation
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Last updated: July 9, 2020

Like most big metropoliss, New York has ever had a job with homelessness within its confines. Over clip, both the composing of New York ‘s stateless population and the methods used to turn to that populations demands have changed. In order to better understand these alterations, a expression at the history of the metropolis and homelessness in the U.

S. can be helpful.In the late 1800s, the homeless in New York were thought to dwell chiefly of hapless, substance mistreating drifters. Some of the first homeless shelters and missions cropped up during this clip period to turn to the turning job. When the Great Depression came in the 1930s the comparatively slow one-year addition in homelessness turned into an explosive rise. Harmonizing to the Coalition for the Homeless ( 2010 ) , the population of homeless in New York exceeded 40,000 persons during the epoch ( A¶ 1 ) .By the terminal of World War II, America ‘s renewed economic system and the ability of veterans to trust on the G.

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I. measure for lodging reduced the homelessness population and curbed its growing. However, during the late fiftiess to 1970s a series of countrywide policy alterations sing the mentally ailment would deeply impact the homeless population. The Community Mental Health Act ( CMHA ) of 1963 provided federal financess to reassign mentally sick and handicapped patients from mental wellness installations to little homes in local communities. Harmonizing to Cohen and Sokolovsky, the figure of patients committed to psychiatric infirmaries in 1950 was around 559,000, but this figure dropped to less than 150,000 by 1970 despite the addition in the state ‘s overall population ( as cited in Bachrach, 1989, p.

57 ) . That leaves at least 450,000 mentally sick unaccounted for.Seen as a cost economy success, deinstitutionalization steps like the CMHA became common topographic point. Unfortunately, in big metropoliss like New York it was easy for those affected by such steps to lose out on the promised benefits of better attention and societal integrating.

Harmonizing to Cohen and Sokolovsky, prior to the deinstitutionalization epoch, mentally sick patients could at least count on mental wellness installations to supply for their basic necessities ( 1989, p153 ) . Now, even where assistance plans are available mentally sick people frequently have trouble accessing those plans or lodging to any agendas required by them ( p. 154 ) .

During the 1980s, the economic emphasiss of the clip along with deep cuts to federal low income lodging plans led to another rush in homelessness. With public consciousness and concern increasing through the decennary, President Reagan enacted the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act in 1987 which reallocated federal financess to homeless shelter plans. Harmonizing to the New York Department of Homelessness Services ( NYDHS ) ( 2007 ) , about 25,000 persons were in their attention in 1987.Throughout the 1990 ‘s to show, the Mckinney-Vento Act has helped shelters and other services to turn to run into the demands of the homeless by supplying support for homeless shelters and lasting lodging through the Department of Housing and Urban Development ( HUD ) ( Wright, 2002, p. 54 ) . Unfortunately homelessness has n’t gone off. Harmonizing to the U.

S. Census, New York ‘s current population is over eight million ( 2010, A¶ 1 ) , and the Coalition for the Homeless ( 2010 ) studies over 39,000 stateless people in the metropolis for 2009. In response to this, the Interagency Council on Homelessness that regulates the Mckinney-Vento Act ‘s execution began forcing for local and regional 10s twelvemonth programs to stop homelessness. In New York, the metropolis authorities committed its ain multifaceted, 10 twelvemonth program in 2004 entitled “ Uniting for Solutions Beyond Shelter: The Action Plan for New York City ” ( United for Solutions, n.

d. , A¶ 1 ) .

Chronic Homelessness

Plans like New York ‘s Uniting for Solutions Beyond Shelter are predicated on voluminous sums of research and the experience of the metropolis ‘s societal service industries. These resources can be used to understand the nature of homelessness within a metropolis. Harmonizing to Uniting for Solution Beyond Shelter ‘s action brochure ( 2004 ) , 73 % of stateless households and 82 % of stateless persons are merely temporarily homeless ( p. 26 ) . This implies that governmental assistance plans, work alleviation enterprises and the similar reach the bulk of the stateless population.The staying 18 % to 27 % are inveterate stateless, frequently enduring repeated homelessness or long periods of homelessness.

Harmonizing to Coalition for the Homeless ( 2010 ) , the chief difference between the temporarily homeless and the inveterate homeless is that, “ Virtually all inveterate stateless people have a disablement ” ( p. 1 ) . These disablements range from strictly physical disabilities to substance maltreatment issues to mental unwellness and lack. Harmonizing to Wright ( 2002 ) , in 2000 the about 22 % of the state ‘s homeless could be considered badly mentally sick and 37 % are substance maltreaters.Presumably, where physical disablements cause chronic homelessness, solutions are comparatively straightforward where financess are available. However, harmonizing to Wright ( 2002 ) , financess allocated for homeless wellness attention plans are normally unequal ( p. 77 ) and the deficiency of wellness insurance for the homeless further bounds their ability to entree needed attention ( p.

78 ) . Further, Wright echoes Cohen and Sokolovsky ‘s averments above that the mentally sick homeless can be even more hard to handle because they frequently can non recommend for themselves and frequently can non help in their ain intervention ( p. 74 ) . When substance maltreaters are homelessness, they can endure from a similar inability to self-advocate and exclusion from plans due to behavioural issues and soberness demands for assistance ( p. 74 ) . Unfortunately, there is ever the possibility that an person will endure from more than one of these disablements.

Where this occurs, particularly where mental unwellness coincides with substance maltreatment, an person ‘s troubles are normally compounded as intervention plans for each issue may reject an person that shows symptoms of the other.Traditional methods for helping these persons with mental unwellnesss and substance maltreatment jobs are typically “ intervention foremost. ” This means that before clients are deemed ready for lasting lodging, they must first get the better of their disablements. Substance maltreaters must be clean and sober for a set clip and remain so, and the mentally sick must subject to ratings and take their medicine for a perquisite continuance. Many plans will unfit clients who have non met these demands or who fail to keep them.

While this initial period of soberness, proving, and preparedness preparation goes on, clients are normally placed in dearly-won transeunt lodging. Unfortunately, those that ca n’t or wo n’t run into the choice standards end up back on the street, frequently go oning to utilize drugs or suffer from their unwellnesss ( Gulcur, Nakae, & A ; Tsemberis, 2004, p. 1 )

Housing First in New York

Noting the weaknesss of plans aimed at the inveterate stateless, Dr. Sam Tsemberis of Columbia University created the Housing First theoretical account of attention in 1992.

Chiefly, this theoretical account focuses on supplying clients with stable, lasting lodging every bit rapidly as possible alternatively of transeunt lodging. In order to efficaciously help the inveterate homeless and maintain them off the streets, Dr. Tsemberis concludes three things.

First, lodging should dwell of flats “ scattered ” around the community. By populating in bing flat edifices and communities clients find it easier to reintegrate back into society. Second, after lodging is secured, or during the procedure if lodging is n’t readily available, clients should be offered a wide spectrum of services including mental and physical wellness aid, substance maltreatment interventions, developing plans, and employment assistance. Finally, because the system of requirements found in treatment-first theoretical accounts leads to many clients returning to homelessness, Housing First methodological analysis does non name for clients to subject to ratings, compulsory interventions, or drug abstention. Alternatively, counsellors focus on clients ‘ safety and public behaviour ( Gulcur et al. , 2004, p. 651-652 )In order to implement his thoughts, Dr.

Tsemberis founded Pathways to Housing in 1992 and began proving his theories. In their 2004 survey, Gulcur, Nakae, and Tsemberis compared the rates of success of two groups of New York City homeless over two old ages. The control group consisted of 118 people placed in province and federal, intervention foremost, Continuum of Care plans, and the 2nd consisted of 87 persons placed in Pathways to Housing ‘s Housing First plan ( p. 652 ) . After initial baseline studies, participants were interviewed at 6th month intervals over the class of the experiment ‘s two twelvemonth range ( p.

652-653 ) . Participants were asked about their current degree of pick, their clip spent homeless during the experiment, the sum of clip spent stably housed, and their usage of drug maltreatment intervention plans ( p. 653 ) .

In each instance, those enrolled in the Housing First plans did provably better than the control group. Subjective degree of pick was rated over four out of five for the experimental group versus less than 3.5 out of five for the control ( p. 654 ) . Proportion of clip exhausted homeless during the experiment was reportedly less than 5 % for the experimental group but about 30 % for the control. Next, usage of drug intervention services averaged over one time per six month interval for the control and less than one per six months for the experimental group ( p.

654 ) . While this information was self-reported and may hold been affected by the demands of the plans the control clients were enrolled in, it at least shows a lower dependance on such plans for the experimental group and therefore a cost nest eggs. Finally, by the terminal of the survey the Housing First clients averaged an over 80 % lodging stableness rate compared to the control group ‘s about 33 % stableness rate ( p. 655 ) . This means that at least for this survey, the Housing First theoretical account far outshines the Continuum of Care intervention foremost theoretical account.Since 1992 Dr. Tsemberis and his co-workers at Pathways to Housing hold been using the Housing First theoretical account in New York City. This non-profit organisation employs over a 100 full-time staff, tonss of voluntaries and liaises with country landlords and service suppliers to finish its mission.

On their web site, Pathways to Housing self-praises over 500 current clients with assorted types of disablements, demands, and backgrounds ( 2009, A¶ 3 ) . Over its 18 twelvemonth history, 85 % of Pathway to Housing ‘s clients have been successfully provided with stable places, and to the full 30 % of its clients finally gain employment ( A¶ 4 ) . In response, Dr. Tsemberis ‘ organisation has been endorsed by local governmental plans that employ methods patterned after his ain. Harmonizing to Uniting for Solutions Beyond Shelter ( 2004 ) Housing First, “ has proven highly effectual in prosecuting inveterate street stateless persons to go forth the streets ” ( p. 10 ) and will be expanded.


Despite the claims of New York City ‘s authorities in 2006 that the metropolis was winning the battle against homelessness, current figures dispute this. Harmonizing to the Coalition for the Homeless ( 2010 ) , the homeless population in New York has risen to about 40,000 and continues to turn ( p. 5 ) . It is assumed that the lodging crisis of 2007 put more people into homelessness than would hold otherwise been the instance.It is alluring to judge Housing First initiatives in visible radiation of the swelling population of homeless. Detractors may observe that 500 clients is a really little figure compared to the 10s of 1000s of homeless life in New York. However, it is of import to observe that the nest eggs Housing First passes to the metropolis could be used to assist more stateless persons. For illustration, harmonizing the Pathways to Housing ( 2007 ) , an nightlong stay at a local psychological establishment costs about $ 1200, a province tally psychiatric infirmary costs around $ 450 a dark, the metropolis gaol costs over $ 150, shelters cost about $ 75, but Pathways ‘ Housing First plan costs merely $ 57 per dark ( p.

9 ) . Every dark Pathways to Housing operates at the reported capacity of 500 clients saves New York at least $ 8,000.In the terminal, Housing First methodological analysis was non designed to stop chronic homelessness fleetly, nor all homelessness in any clip frame. Rather, it is a targeted, many-sided response to a smaller and much harder to handle subset of the greater stateless population. It is a testament to the successes of the Housing First theoretical account that organisations like New York ‘s United for Solutions Beyond Shelter endorse it so strongly.

As quoted above, the methodological analysis is effectual and should be expanded.

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