Previous   Next

What do you think is the best way to help homeless families?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 10, 2007

Browse the archives

Photo of Spencer Walsh

“I think the main problem is that people want to displace responsibility on the issue. It needs to be a topic of discussion in the community, and multiple parties need to combine their efforts to help.”

Photo of JoBeth Allen

“I think there needs to be a community-based effort to provide affordable housing and especially a living wage, because many of the homeless are the working poor. We have an Interfaith Hospitality Network that brings community resources together.”

Photo of Kevin Walter

“I think it’s up to the community, churches and the government to provide an environment for families to get back on their feet. One with mental, emotional and some monetary support to restore hope. But ultimately I think it’s up to the families themselves.”

Photo of Shelbie Nelson

“Through government programs. The government needs to be taking care of its people. That’s what it’s there for.”


Bone777 10 years, 5 months ago

Survival of the fittest..... Exterminate!

KS 10 years, 5 months ago

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for life.

gyroduck 10 years, 5 months ago

"Through government programs. The government needs to be taking care of its people. That's what it's there for."

People should not be dependent on a government that is using imaginary money as its means of helping its people in the end it doesn't help, it hurts us all. We need the money to be in the hands of the people not in the hands of incompetent bureaucrats. In order to end poverty we need more entrepreneurs, more money in the market place and less money in Washingtion D.C. It is the free market that creates wealth and philanthropy and big government and welfare create lack and greed. Vote for Ron Paul and get real!

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 5 months ago

gyroduck, I don't disagree that with a thriving economy there will be fewer homeless people, but where will a mother go if a father runs out on her, and she's been a stay at home mom? Yes, she may be able to get a job in a good economy, but she's going to need help until she does. And what about someone who suffers a long illness? Do we just let he/she and the family starve to death. Yes, there are those who milk the system, but our welfare system has helped people in rough times. I know when I was a newly divorced single mom it helped me to sleep at night knowing that if my company shut down or I got sick my daughter would not have to go hungry. I don't think families have that security net anymore. Rent is higher, food is higher. Wages haven't changed much. Back then I was making $10.00/hour and paying $200/month in rent. For some $10.00/hour seems like heaven now, but they are paying twice as much to live in a dump. Our economy is making the rich richer and has created more working poor. I don't see it getting any better with this war and the economic quagmire that Bush has put the government into. Before long there will be a whole servant class again. It will be a privelege to be a live in maid so you can live in a decent house. Of course, that might be what some people want.

Crossfire 10 years, 5 months ago

A good sharp smack in the head. And a firm, "What the hell is wrong with you?" Along with a bus ticket to Colorado, destination... South East Colorado Homeless Shelter 710 W. Olive Street Lamar, Colorado

denak 10 years, 5 months ago

First, I was happy to see the word, "families" in the question because from what I have read women with children ares becoming the fastest growing segment of homeless people. I think it is easy to be unsympthetic when we are dealing with grown adults but it is a whole different story when there are children involved.

With that said, I think we need to look at each individual family and try to address "why" they are homeless. Was it sickness/medical bills, job loss, dependency issues, mental health issues, loss of home, etc and try to address the most pressing, underlying issue and get it resolved as quickly as possible, if that is possible.

There isn't any reason to put someone in a home if the reasons for them being homeless to begin with aren't being addressed. I'm not saying to leave them out on the streets, but these issues need to be addressed. Personally, I would like to see some little cottages built. Nothing fancy. Maybe 2 or 3 bedroom houses/trailers whatever, where the family is allowed to stay free..for six months while the underlying problems of why they were homeless are addressed. Then at six months, they take on more responsibility and more and more, until the underlying issue is resolved..and some of the other issues can be addressed. During this time,they have to attend AA or NA, parenting classes, budgeting classes, literacy classes..etc.

Women with children should have priority only because of the children. If the children go into the system, she has to move. Not trying to be harsh, and that might not work, but there are men out there who need a leg up also and just because she is a woman, doesn't mean she should get a break if it is just her.

Anyway, I think it is good to have shelters but shelters are temporary. You can only stay in them for up to a certain amount of time and most of the problems that a lot of homeless have can not be cured in a year so I think there needs to be some type of stop gap measure where they aren't on the street but they are also working towards resolving their difficulties.


kugrad 10 years, 5 months ago

If you can't understand that it is a legitimate purpose of government to help the most needy citizens, homeless families with children, then you should be ashamed to call yourself an American. We have a long tradition of helping each other and everyone who falls on hard times is not some kind of lesser person than you. I think that the way to help these families is to provide a short-term living space, transportation for the children to get to school and the doctor, medical care if needed, and keep as much constant for the children as possible [keep them in the same school, get them there and back safely]. As there is no shortage of work, a caseworker of some kind should be assigned to provide assistance in landing a job as quickly as possible [as in less than a week], and helping the people figure out how to get there [bus, walking, whatever]. The finances of the family should be under the control of that caseworker until they leave the short term public housing. Once a job is secured, the caseworker would help the people find a place to rent. They will need food stamps [wic card, whatever they use now]. They may also need to help them find clothes [there are lots of sources for donated and/or cheap clothing] and some basic hygiene products so they can keep the job. There should be a maximum of 90 days in the public housing. Drug/alcohol counseling mandatory if necessary for the family. Once they have a place to live and are back on their feet, control of their $ continues for 90 more days and they take mandatory budgeting counseling with the caseworker to make sure they understand how to keep finances in order. They will also be assisted in opening a bank account. If the same family ends up homeless again within a short period of time, it is time to strongly consider removing the children from the home. That's my opinion. I think people need a hand up sometimes. Once you are homeless, it is hard to get back on your feet. Homeless families are generally not homeless by choice - NO children are homeless by choice. We should give them a hand up. If they don't take it, protect the children.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 5 months ago

When I was young my father worked construction, which was seasonal, and my mother worked as a cook in a restuarant at minimum wage or less. My father was plagued with a mental illness, what we call bipolar today. They were the working poor, but we could still afford a house (not an apartment) to rent, and didn't need public assistance. Today, a family of 5 (like my family) in the same situation wouldn't be able to find an apartment to rent. Maybe an ancient bug infested trailer. They definitely could not afford a car.

On the other side, when I was young, we didn't have CEO's who considered their workers a liablity, not an asset. Although Ford was long before my time, he didn't see an use of mass producing his cars, if his workers couldn't afford to buy one. On the other hand, we now have CEO's who lay off workers, so they can show a false profit. We have religous leaders who sell salvation to poor people who ride in limos, and own private jets. We have the children of one of the richest families in the country (Walton) paying for MU's field house, naming it for their daughter who is too much of a snob to attend the school, and instead is paying someone a lot of money to "earn" her degree for her. I can find plenty of stories just like this one. Minimum wage was meant to protect people from companies who wanted slaves. It worked for awhile, but could you live on minimum wage, even with no family? I dare you to try it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 5 months ago

But your argument is that companies can be filthy rich, but pay their people little of nothing, in the interest of making more profits, so they can get richer. In our greedy society trickle down theory doesn't work. Labor is no longer organized to make demands. The government is in the back pocket of the corporations. They can give our corporate welfare, ie tax breaks and providing infrastructure almost for free, in return for low paying jobs and an empty building when the tax breaks run out. But paying for training programs, one on one care for the mentally ill so they can be productive, guaranteeing that wealth does trickle down by requiring living wages, etc. You assume that anyone who is homeless isn't working or is capable of working physically or mentally. Do you just want to euthanize them?

Amy Heeter 10 years, 5 months ago

"It is required of every man," the ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death." - A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

geekin_topekan 10 years, 5 months ago

"Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote."_President Grover Cleveland ++++++

Grover's quote as posted by RI,shouldn't be read as monetory (rent,food) support.But more as the government should not endorse private entities such as a certain Pharmacuetical company. As in>>Hack's idea (the government) should be supported by the people.The people (Deciphra) shouldn't be supported(tax deal) by the government. That's how I read Grover's Quote.

GretchenJP 10 years, 5 months ago

"Through government programs. The government needs to be taking care of its people. That's what it's there for." - Shelbie Nelson

Shelbie, do you sell pop tarts on Neptune?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.