Its funny that I posted on homelessness earlier because I just responded to this discussion posted by a classmate for class. My response is below.
********* Homelessness is definitely a problem in SLC. I have worked directly with homeless people in the past and I can tell you the problem goes much deeper than one program or even multiple local laws could implement. There are people that are chronically homeless due commonly to severe mental illness and/or addiction. This is a public health, as well as a social issue. Addiction and severe mental illness are often cyclical. People try to get better, get back on their feet but many obstacles are in the way and then they relapse because society has essentially set them up for failure.
Access to healthcare is a major issue. How can someone get better if they can not see a provider to be treated? How can someone work if they can barely function? How can someone get a job if they can't shower, don't have clean clothes or don't have the technology to get a call or email for an interview?
I propose these rhetorical questions for you to ponder on, because while I agree that homelessness is a problem but it is not the Problem in this situation.
Building more shelters will not fix homelessness. Shelters can keep people “safe” and warm at night when they are living on the street and possibly offer resource assistance during the day like all of the programs in SLC do, but it does not attend to the primary causes of chronic homelessness. Healthcare, behavioral health access, criminal justice systems, affordable addiction treatments and shifting the view on homelessness (that these people are dangerous, dirty and “ruining” this city) are the things that must be first be addressed in order to lessen homelessness.
I would also argue that because homeless people are living in poverty they are not producing the waste the “dirties” downtown Salt Lake. As explained in the City Solution article, people in poverty produce less waste overall because they can not afford to be wasteful. They physically have less and from personal observation, tend to be very protective of the few things they own. #slc #micdrop #shutitdown