Homelessness in America Essay
Progressive social change involves empowering the weak in the society and ensuring that they are not exploited by the strong community members. It apparent also that progressive social change promotes social equity and justice which is essential for a community to develop in harmony. The community progressive organizing helps in achieving the social changes such as treatment of immigrants and unemployment. As a social change agent, I would address the homelessness issue in the society. This paper thus discusses the actions I will take to deal with homelessness in the American society.
What motivates me to support this cause of improving the lives of the individuals that are homeless is giving a smile to the people that were once hopeless in life. It is evident that homelessness has negative impacts to the society. One is that it may lead to increase in insecurity in an area. This is because the people who are homeless may indulge themselves in crime as they view themselves as unwanted in a society. The homeless also may involve themselves in the abuse of drugs and selling them to other locals. Statistics have shown that where people abuse drugs there is less production by the individuals which is not good for the economy. This means there will be fewer developments as few businesses will come up each year.
What also motivates me to be involved in helping the homeless is because shelter is a basic need to a human being. It is evident that the homeless people often are affected psychologically as they have no place they can call home. It limits their potential to standout and the courage to have families which form the bases to a society. Also homeless people portray a bad image in a city when the tourists visit. This may make them feel unsecure when they visit a city with too many homeless people. I also feel sorry to many homeless innocent individuals who are at times killed as they may be suspected to be thugs. This is inhuman as it has created fear among the homeless people.
One of the goals I would want to achieve is to reduce the number of homeless people in America to at least 10 percent of the current statistics. Statistics have shown that about 600,000 Americans are homeless on a given night. A quarter of this people are children and a third of them live in unsheltered places like parks and abandoned buildings. The chronically homeless people are over 100,000 and three-quarters of them go unsheltered. It is evident that New York, Texas, California, Florida and Massachusetts states have more than half of the homeless population in the country (McNamara, 2008).
The other goal that I would want to achieve is to provide long-term housing assistance. This will not only successfully reduce homelessness but also be cheaper than shelter and other institution of care. This will be done through a housing program that will enable low-income households to rent modest market-rate housing of their choice and provide a flexible subsidy that adjusts with the family’s income over time. Studies have proven that public housing is effective at reducing family homelessness and ensuring that the homeless individuals remain stably housed out of the shelter system (Hulchanski, 2009).
The other goal is to set up permanent supportive housing program in each State. It has been proven to be cost effective and a successful solution to the homelessness menace. This supportive housing model will entail affordable housing assistance with essential supportive services for people living with HIV/AIDS, mental illnesses and other serious health problems. Permanent supportive housing is expected to cost less than other forms of emergency and institutional healthcare. An example of a permanent supporting housing model is the remarkable 1990 City-State New York Agreement that saved taxpayer money which could be used on costly hospitalization and shelters (McNamara, 2008).
My other goal is to create a good environment for the addicts to heal. It is apparent that almost half of the homeless individuals are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Also, the hardest to house individuals among the homeless are the long-term drug users. I have realized that most of the drug addicts have checked into detoxification clinics for a week where they are then referred to a 28-day treatment program. Most of them find the five to six week program of forced abstinence not effective to overcome decade’s long habits (McNamara, 2008). This makes them to return using drugs within a year of completing a 28-day treatment. What the addicts need is time to recover in a supportive environment in which to rebuild their lives. This will be done through recovery houses that are cheap to operate than treatment centers. Also, the addicts can stay more than a year as they slowly rebuild their lives.
The role that I will take in this cause is of the managing director. This will help me to be in the fore front in achieving the set goals in the years to come by formulating and implementing the program policies. I will also be able to develop strategic operating plans that reflect the longer-term objectives and priorities established by the board. The managing director position will enable me maintain an ongoing dialogue with the relevant stakeholders. In this case they will be the homeless individuals, the donors and with the relevant government bodies. I will also have the role of ensuring the operating objectives and standards of performance are understood by the management and the employees. I will also be responsible for the accountability to the board in regards to all company operations. As a director also I will be responsible in maintaining the operational performance in helping the homeless population in America (Drucker, 2012).
I will mobilize others to help me through the use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to create awareness for the need to help the homeless in society. This will make people who want to be volunteers to come and join me for this worthy cause. Volunteers are essential in this cause as they tend to be people who will be passionate in executing their task which will make the various projects to be undertaken succeed. I will also go to state forums where I can access a larger population which is a representative of the state and air my objectives on the cause of helping the homeless individuals. By showing the benefits of curbing the homeless social problem I will be able to clearly define how the world will be. This approach will create concrete images that people will exactly what they are working toward (Drucker, 2012).
I will also mobilize others by talking to one person, then talking to another. The act of defining the end result is not enough. People will not have the courage to take action without trusting the people behind the movement. It is apparent that when starting a movement all you have got is yourself so for my first followers to trust in my cause they will need to trust me. To build this trust I have to sit down with people one at a time. Also as a leader I will have to embrace my followers as equals. This communicates that the social change movement does not belong to the leader but to all who join the cause (Drucker, 2012).
I will obtain funding from donors worldwide. The organization that I will form for the homeless cause will have a department that will help donors to work out all their details as they give their funds. There will be a website where one can place his donations to the organization. This will make it easier for anyone to contribute for the cause at any part of the world. Also, it will limit the chances of fraudulent fundraisers which may damage the image of the homeless cause. The organization will also be registered to the relevant authorities so as to adhere to the rule of law. It will also enable the organization to realize the tax-deductable donations. As for those that cannot be deducted such as gifts by individuals the organization will also be able to use them appropriately (Daw, 2006).
The organization will be a non-profit one as it will make it easier to raise substantial amounts of money. By making it a non-profit organization it will allow accepting tax-deductable donations directly to your organization. The organization also needs to set up a bank account for the donors to deposit their money. For the fundraising process to be successful I need to believe in my cause (Daw, 2006). This will attract more donors if they see that am enthusiastic about the cause. By showing the reasons I decided to start the cause shows every aspect of my efforts.
For the fundraising process to be effective I will write up a clear mission statement. It is apparent that the mission statement will boost the fundraising process. My mission statement will be clear and will have a direct call of action. It will explain who I will be helping and why. Also it will show the potential donors why they should get involved in the homeless individuals cause. There will be use of imagery to paint a picture in the potential donor’s mind of the social problem that my cause is dealing with. Creating a fundraising schedule is important so as to gather the volunteers and contact all the appropriate organizations in time before the fundraising events (Daw, 2006).
As an organization I will ensure that we outline how the donations will be spent. It is the right of a donor to know how his money will be spent. The information will be available no matter what format the donations occur in (Drucker, 2012). This will be a good way to show accountability and boost the confidence of the donors in the organization. In the fundraising process I will consider the audience that will easily adopt my cause. This will involve a lot of research and coming up with a message that will get the best results from my efforts. I will also make donating process to be easy. It is evident that the easier the process the more money is likely to be raised. To attract a wider variety of donors there will be low minimum donations which will make many people afford to give out their money. Thanking the donors will be mandatory as it will be a strategy to contact again when there is another fundraising (Daw, 2006).
I will contact different states especially New York, Massachusetts and California that have the majority of homeless people in America. This will be a good strategy as they will lead me to the areas that are prevalent to the homeless. The government of the State will also avail to me the data I require to know different types of people in the State. This is in terms of the immigrants who have come to the state in search for greener pastures and the chronic homeless individuals. The government of the state will be important as it will enable be find a good location where a recovery center and a permanent supportive housing project can be set up.
I will also contact the UN whom I know will be very supportive of the cause. It is apparent that the UN has a vast experience in dealing with social problems worldwide so their input to the homelessness cause will be relevant to my goals. The UN support will boost my international donor’s presence as they will have the confidence in the social problem cause. I will also contact the private sector industries in the States also to come in and give donations. This will be a way of improving the brands of the firms as it will be CSR activity to the local population.
There are several governmental policies that I would like to be changed. One is on the Funds of Department of Veteran Affairs. The fund needs to be increased to house the homeless veteran by the end of 2015 and implement a system that ensures that there is no other homeless veteran. The other policy to be improved is increasing the capacity of Runway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) programs by reauthorization and funding. This will enable the use of innovative and evidence based family intervention models to support family reunification. It will also expand data and research on the nature and extent of homelessness among unaccompanied youth.
One of the specific skills I need to develop in order to accomplish my goals is good communication skills. This will be essential in persuading the donors and other stakeholders on the impact of the homelessness cause. I have also to embrace teamwork so there is coordination in the implementation of the various projects. I have also to obtain the art of motivating others so as the volunteers will be effective in their tasks. It evident also that I have to be creative and confident so as people to believe in my vision. The best way to solve this problem is by empowering myself with good managerial skills. This will enable me to monitor the departments in the non-profit organization to work together and achieve the set goals.
One of the government agencies that I need to approach is the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department will be of great importance in terms of data relevant to the homeless social problem this is because it has being involved in programs to help the homeless people. The other agency is the senate which is essential in legislation. My approach to the Senate will to encourage them to make laws that do not diminish the homeless people in America (Hulchanski, 2009). The other department is the Immigration Department. This is because of the number of immigrants that are homeless in the streets.
One of the roadblocks that I anticipate to hinder the progress of the social problem cause of homelessness is government policies in different states. This may the policies set for running a non-profit organization in a particular state. Some state may some unfriendly policies that may make the operation of the organization to be expensive which may make others not to settle in such a state. Another challenge is how the homeless are perceived by the society. The homeless are seen as not suitable for employment and are prone to rejection and discrimination from other locals. The other challenge is the limited access the homeless have to healthcare and education. This limits their potential to be productive in the society (Wheeler, 2006).
I would evaluate my progress by reflecting on how far the goals I set have been achieved. The goal of providing long-term housing solution will be evaluated by looking at the number of low-income people have accessed to households that are modest. The other goal of permanent housing program in each state will be evaluated by the number of homeless people whom we have helped. This is for those who have mental illnesses and HIV/AIDS. The other goal that I had of creating a good environment for the drug addicts will be evaluated by the individuals we have helped come out of drug and are now productive in the society.
In conclusion, I know my goals are relevant in the cause of helping the homeless in America. It is evident that the social problem of homelessness might take time to change but am focused to be persistence. I will know that am on the track if I see the people embracing our programs and donors giving their money to the success of the project. I hope to accomplish the establishment of recovery centers in the most affected states in the next 3 years. Also, the permanent housing program will be in place for the next 2 years. One of the insights that I have gained in this project is that when you help the unfortunate in society development will be evident.
Daw, J. (2006). Cause Marketing for Nonprofits: Partner for Purpose, Passion and Profits (AFP Fund Development Series). USA: John Wiley & Sons.
Drucker, P. (2012). Managing the Non-Profit Organization. New York: Routledge.
Hulchanski, D. J. (2009). Finding Home: Policy Options for Addressing Homeless in Canada. Canada: The Homeless Hub.
McNamara, R. H. (2008). Homelessness in America. USA: ABC-CLIO.
Wheeler, C. A. (2006). The Needs and Challenges of Homeless Families with Children as Perceived by Homeless-service Agencies. USA: Indiana University.