Opinion: The Housing Crisis and Homelessness

housing crisis cut outs
Housing crisis cut outs of newspaper | Image by zimmytws
In America we have a major crisis with housing. I am not just talking about the recent increase in homelessness, because of the pandemic. This has been going on for quite sometime now, and our government has the ability to help. They have not put the money set aside, but they easily could, and they should want to help people who are struggling and homeless.
Recently John Oliver talked about housing on his show.
He has talked about this before, and this is a must see, because while you may not be experiencing problems this adversely effects you too.
“Rents have been surpassing wages, and right now, there is not a single county in America wherein someone who earns minimum wage can afford to pay the rent for a modest two-bedroom home. The fact of the matter is that there are not enough affordable houses.”
In the Dallas, and in the surrounding areas we have seen an increase in homelessness. People can no longer turn a blind eye to it, because it is spreading into the suburbs. For most people it is extremely difficult to see them sleeping underneath the bridges. We are also seeing more, and more women, and people with their pets. Texas is not conducive for this, and we all know that it is because of the extreme heat. While some facilities have what they call a cool center they cannot remain there all day long, so it’s back outside in the blistering heat. Even in the extreme cold weather, and we have certainly had this lately.
Most people do not understand that 1/3 of all homeless people are victims of domestic violence. Financial abuse is domestic violence, and what happens is the abuser uses coercive control to maintain their control over the money. Then the judges do very little, if anything at all to help the victims to be able to get out from underneath their abusive control. Yes you would think that the judges would help, but when they don’t there’s no accountability, so this leaves families homeless and struggling a lot. Then things like this happens.

“Today the court put 4 siblings in two separate foster placements due to the family being homeless. So the state is paying foster providers about $3500 a month now to care for these kids and told their mom to magically find a house. It would cost the state a lot less to provide the family with housing.”

Domestic violence victims are not left with much of a choice when they are put in a situation like this. Either they are homeless, or they end up going back to their abuser, because they have no where else to go. Nobody should ever have to decide something like this, because the judges have the power to help victims of abuse. If only they would.
People also do not understand that if you are lucky enough to get on a housing waitlist it can take four years, or even longer to get a place to live. Think about this. What are victims of abuse supposed to do in the meantime? Even when they are lucky enough to be able to get in somewhere they have to have the money for the deposits. If someone is already struggling because of financial abuse, domestic violence where are they going to get the money to pay for these deposits? People also do not understand how Section 8 housing vouchers work, because it’s the same thing. If you are lucky enough to be able to get on the list for a voucher this takes even longer than just trying to get into housing. Some cities in Texas do not even offer vouchers. Although I do not understand why other than if this is also what John Oliver talked about. Is it that you do not understand that the majority of the people who want to have a roof over their heads are just like you are? They just want to be able to take care of their families, and they should not have to worry about where they’re going to live.
This is how Findland ended homelessness. If they can do this then it is possible that we could do the same if we went state by state, so which state is going to step up first, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, anyone?
Dr. Marybeth Shinn is a Professor at Vanderbilt University who focuses on ways to prevent and end homelessness. Dr. Shinn said, “Homelessness prevention is based on several axes: lowering housing costs, increasing incomes, reducing social exclusion, preventing domestic violence, and reducing the number of incarcerations.” All of which our government is capable of accomplishing, and they should be enlisting Dr. Shinn to help them.
What we need a lot more of is empathy, an understanding of what if this was you who was needing a place to live? What if you had children? Why would anyone deny this to another person let alone a family? What if you knew someone that this happened to? How would you feel, and wouldn’t you want to do everything that you possibly could just so they had a place to live?
Our government is capable of doing a lot more to help concerning housing, and the homeless, so what are they waiting for? They need to put more funding into this, so that people who are homeless are no longer waiting years to get a place to live. Just like with other articles that I have written I strongly encourage you to contact your local representatives, your state senators, and even other state senators as well. You might not think that this concerns you, but you know it does, because our economy thrives much better when the people that live around us are not struggling.
Lilli is a Mom, a Photographer, and an Advocate for victims of domestic abuse, and animal rights. She, and her child are victims of domestic abuse. They resides in different locations throughout Dallas due to homelessness, because of the forced ongoing battle with their abuser.

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