Self-Analysis

When I first began this blog project, I didn’t understand what the big deal about blogging was. I expected the assignment to be overly difficult, especially for something that I likely would never use after the project was done. As the weeks progressed, I quickly understood why the existence of blogging was so important. I have discovered that the medium provides valuable opportunities to present research and communicate information in an interesting way, while maintaining a natural, casual style of writing.

As somebody who has always under-appreciated the humanities, this blog project, along with the two first-year English classes I am taking this semester, have contributed to my realization of how vital the humanities are and the role they play in our daily lives. Communication, for instance, is rooted in the humanities. Blogging connects people through reading and writing, informing and educating. Blogging is communicating, and communication is what connects humans with one another. I was fortunate to have another fellow blogger from Texas, who I am unaffiliated with, comment on one of my blog posts in appreciation of one of the posts that I had written. That individual was so passionate about housing-first, and it was very uplifting to have a stranger appreciate my post when I wasn’t sure I even appreciated what I had written. That is how I began to find a similar appreciation of the concept of blogging and how effective blogs are at communicating.

In addition, this blog assignment has opened my mind to a topic I had previously not given much critical thought. I grew up in a Methodist church and have been exposed to outreach and service my entire life, but after thoroughly researching and writing about housing first, I now have a more comprehensive understanding of homelessness in general and the role substance abuse and mental illness play in chronic homelessness. After completing this assignment, I now understand that homelessness is a much more complex issue than I previously thought, and that housing first is the most effective and most cost-efficient approach in ending homelessness.

Over the course of this project, I believe that I have grown as a writer, a researcher, a communicator, and a student in general. With the help of review by my peers, my writing skills have noticeably flourished. I have grown to appreciate research more than I previously had, and have actually found interest in it. I have been educated on how to efficiently communicate through blogging, which I previously had not known how to do, and quite frankly, had not been interested in doing. With the blogging freedom I was provided, I saw a boost in creativity and productivity as well, ultimately providing me with the ability to become more passionate about the topic in which I was writing. After researching housing first and its relativity to homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness, and after considering the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of the approach, I am now an advocate for housing first. The project in general has also made me a better student in general, for I truly believe that learning to appreciate the work being done as a student is a step in the right direction to becoming a better student.

Advertisements

TED Talk With Dr. Sam Tsemberis: Housing First

For my final blog post related to housing first, I wanted to introduce a TED Talk by Sam Tsemberis. If the name looks familiar, it is likely because Dr. Tsemberis is a Greek-Canadian clinical and community psychologist that has contributed to multiple works that I have cited throughout this blog project. He is the founder and executive director of Pathways to Housing in New York City, the earliest housing program modeled after housing first. Pathways to Housing, first introduced by Tsemberis in 1992, was the first program of its kind. The program proved be so extraordinarily successful, and in the following video, Dr. Tsemberis details exactly why.

Hope you all enjoyed the video as much as I did, and until next time,

Daisy

Implications of Housing First

It is clear by the numerous studies and reports I have mentioned in blogs posted in previous weeks that housing first is beneficial to both those being supported by the permanent housing and the taxpayers funding it. The primary factor those opposing housing first draw from is the cost, which is funded by the American taxpayers. Bringing an end to homelessness sounds as if it is a costly task, but every study I have crossed during my research of this topic shoots this argument down. According to Adam Gibbs of Community Solutions, housing first considerably reduces the cost of the homeless to taxpayers, making room for tax money to fund more desirable things like public education and roads.

MHCC-Evaluation_Module-Infographic1.png

One 2014 study performed in Central Florida concluded that the cost of each homeless individual to taxpayers was $31,065 per year, primarily due to frequent inpatient hospitalizations, emergency room fees, criminal justice costs, and funding towards shelters. The study also found that providing permanent housing using the housing first approach cut costs to just $10,051 annually, per person. The cost to each homeless individual was cut by nearly two-thirds, ultimately saving tax dollars to go towards other needs that benefit the community. If the housing first approach towards ending homelessness is not implemented in more communities, and not spread thoroughly throughout the United States, Americans are unnecessarily losing tax dollars.

Not only is the housing first approach cost efficient, but it is more effective in moving the homeless off of the streets and into permanent homes where they are offered services that may assist them with whatever they might need. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), between 2005 and 2007, the United States saw a 30% drop in national homelessness, which can likely be attributed to the housing first model. The NAEH also references an article published by the Philadelphia Inquirer that after maintaining permanent housing for five years through Beyond Shelter’s housing first program, 85% of formerly homeless adults remained permanently housed. Similarly, the Pathways to Housing program, a program designed specifically for homeless persons suffering from psychiatric disabilities in New York City, found that 88% had successfully maintained permanent housing, compared to the 47% of residents participating in the city’s traditional program.

housing-first

If housing first facilities are not placed throughout the nation in the areas they are needed most, the homeless population will only increase, which will in itself increase the tax dollars needed to fund a larger homeless population. There will be more homeless people roaming the streets and searching for handouts, not to mention the need to fund the construction of additional homeless shelters and services for the homeless. With a larger homeless community, there will be a rise in homeless crime and crime in general, threatening the safety and reputation of whole communities. As I previously stated, the primary result of continuing on the path of traditional housing methods is the unnecessary spending of tax dollars, especially when the housing-first approach has proven to be more successful at reducing the overall homeless population, assisting these individuals in moving forward in their lives, while reducing the cost to taxpayers.

Daisy

Be Grateful

I remember coming across this video this past Christmas season, and thought I’d share it. It is a video created by a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, Forest Hills South Park Church, with a much deeper meaning and purpose than to simply generate laughs. Enjoy!

When I watched this video for the first time in December, I remember having the feeling of gratitude the video was intended to incite. Genuine gratitude for the simple luxuries in life is something I, for one, definitely neither feel nor portray on a daily basis. I certainly should be more grateful more often than I currently am, especially when I have so much beyond the simple luxuries to be thankful for. Each and every one of us has our own struggles, yet there is always the smallest thing to be thankful for, and we should make sure we count our blessings, meanwhile respecting the struggles others may be facing, and sending prayers their way.

Happy Friday, hoping you all have a fantastic weekend!

Daisy

Fun with my Frosty Friends (:

Happy hump day everybody!

Today I just wanted to give a few shoutouts to some of my fellow bloggers that I have been keeping up with recently.

My first shoutout goes to jglandt over at FrostFit318. Jglandt, who enjoys the refreshing taste of milk (hopefully skim because skim milk is the best), has been following gun violence and gun control, focusing primarily on the availability of guns to those suffering from mental illness. In today’s day and age, this is a topic that is of utmost importance. On a daily basis, there is news coverage of homicides, mass shootings, and other gun violence, no matter where you go in the United States, all which could be reduced with limiting the accessibility of guns. I am all for the second amendment, but there has got to be a place where we draw the line, maintaining one’s freedom to bear arms while ensuring the safety of all.

My second shoutout goes to willweaver98 of Frosty and French Fries. Willweaver98 has been following the debate over renewable and non-renewable resources, another important topic with the current state of our earth, especially with the progression of climate change. I believe that this is a topic that should be followed closely since there is so much debate surrounding it, not to mention the denial of climate change’s existence by United States President, Donald Trump. Willweaver’s blog on the conflict between renewable and non-renewable resources is informative and vital to the understanding of the topic, and my recommendation would be to keep up with news stories related to the issue at hand while also following his blog.

My third, and final shoutout, goes to JPERRY2398 over at Carolina On Our Minds. I have been following JPERRY’s blog on a weekly basis, not because he tackles a largely debated topic, but because the decisions made related to the topic directly affect individuals my age. JPERRY has been following drinking culture, the debate on the drinking age, and alcohol use on college campuses. As a college student, I am exposed to alcohol on a weekly basis, and I can attest that it is oftentimes abused by college students looking for a good time. I don’t necessarily have an opinion on the debate as to whether or not the legal drinking age should be altered, but I would agree that keeping up with the topic is very important, especially for my fellow college students and other individuals affected by drinking culture, because it directly affects us.

Go check out my frosty friends’ blogs!

Daisy

Housing First Controversy

Despite countless studies confirming the effectiveness of housing first, some are still skeptical of the approach towards reducing and eventually alleviating homelessness in the United States, pushing for the traditional housing method. In an article published online by The New York Times, Vice President of Policy Research at the Manhattan Institute, Howard Husock, argues that permanent housing is not the answer. Husock believes that providing shelter and mandatory supportive services alongside with provided shelter are key to helping those who have “fallen through through the cracks of our porous mental health and drug treatment programs.” Housing first, rather, is based on making permanent housing available while offering supportive services, without making these services mandatory.

Others argue that housing first is the most effective and cost-efficient way at ending homelessness. Adam Gibbs of Community Solutions explains housing first as a stable housing method that neither requires nor makes housing dependent on completion of or compliance with treatment, mental health care, employment training, alongside other services. Gibbs also states that numerous studies have found that the housing first approach ends chronic homelessness for chronically homeless individuals quicker, more often and more permanently than the traditional, treatment first approaches, noting that on average, 85% of housing first tenants do not return to homelessness, which exceeds the retention rates of traditional housing methods. According to Gibbs, housing first is far less expensive than traditional housing methods, benefiting both those receiving housing first services and the American taxpayers funding housing first. A 2014 study found that in Central Florida, each chronically homeless individual cost American taxpayers “$31,065 per year, primarily from inpatient hospitalizations, emergency room fees and criminal justice costs.” The study also found that by providing permanent housing for the chronically homeless, the individual costs was just $10,051 per homeless person, per year.

Housing first has been proven time and time again to be more effective and more cost-efficient than traditional housing methods. In theory, if cities and towns across the United States implemented housing first approaches, chronic homelessness and homelessness in general would be reduced and virtually non-existent. As Kevin Corinth of the American Enterprise Institute posts on The New York Times website, “Housing is a good start, but it’s not enough. If we house every chronically homeless person but don’t address their other needs, then we have failed them. Real success occurs when individuals reconnect into society as much as possible – staying housed, working when possible, achieving improved mental health, overcoming substance abuse, and reconnecting with family and community networks.” I more than agree with Corinth, but housing first provides a fantastic foundation to move forward, ultimately working towards ending homelessness in the United States once and for all.

Floridian Public School Teacher Took Year Off To Live Homeless

I’m spending my spring break this week in Jacksonville, Florida, and while driving through the city, like most cities, I have noticed the presence of homeless people roaming the streets in search for whatever food and things of value they could muster. I became interested in homelessness in Jacksonville, so I simply performed a google search to see what I could find. Below is a video that my curiosity led me to, and I am quite glad it did.

Here is a link to the full article published on WJCT’s website.

In the video, Orange County public school teacher, Thomas Rebman, highlights that a predominant reason behind the difficulty for homeless people to obtain employment is their absence of a permanent home address. He is right. Most employers don’t employ individuals because it’s in the individual’s best interest; they employ the best candidate for the job. With the stigma homeless people often receive, if ‘homeless’ is on the application, that particular individual is not the employer’s best candidate despite what that individual’s skill set might be. This relates to the housing first initiative written about in my last post, and ultimately supports the housing first model. With a permanent address to write on a job application, it will be much easier for homeless people to obtain jobs, opening endless doors of opportunity.

Having fun in the sun (even though it is 58° here),

Daisy