In the Last few Days there has been numerous articals and discussions on the issue of Homelessness and mental illness, and drug addiction. first and foremost let me say that not all homeless people fall into this category we do not all have mental disabilities nor are we all addicted and these are simply a small # of homeless people, however A large majority of homeless people have at some point battled with these problems both mental illness and addiction. I remember before I quit drinking 14yrs ago that in order to get through the drudgery of being homeless and alone I would often do what ever it took to get me to sleep or just make it through till the next day I have for years had a sleep disorder stemming from the inability to get a good nights sleep for so long due to laws against it. but I live a life where homeless people are almost the only people I know, and in that I see there ongoing battles they face daily.
I am also very aware that a vast majority of homeless people are at present for one reason or another receiving a social security check for their conditions weather they be one of physical mental or drug disabilities. and yes I would go as far as to say drug addiction is in its purist form a mental illness. I watch as every month a person who has no chance of beating this problem alone are given money in the form of social security and food stamps and are set free to their own devises and in the first week of the month they have spent the monthly check they receive on drugs alcohol and cheep motel rooms there are many reasons for this the biggest being they are in an abuse cycle that has never been addressed. we simply have said Ok here is a check for your addiction or illness and we believe this somehow justifies our neglect of the true problem at hand.
But ask yourselves something is it of any help at all to a addict or a Mentally ill person to think that if we just give them money it will go away when they are still in a cycle of abuse or have withdrawn from society because of their condition?
We are in a sense simply trying to put a fire out with a can of Gas!
The problem with all of it is we are screwed up from the floor up we have so many misconceptions of what we are dealing with we talk about providing affordable housing as if that will solve the problem but we continue to see affordable housing in terms of subsidized housing and this is wrong affordable housing is just that it is housing that independent of any outside source a person of low or fixed income might afford and not have to be subsidizes to reach affordability, we have also a belief that everyone should be in this category or that one, which does not allow for the individual needs of people. We have set up a system of social help programs which by their very nature keep people in the bonds of abject poverty. If you are addicted Or mentally ill we place you into a section 8 housing project where as an addict you will find yourselves in the seediest most drug infested neighborhoods, and if Mentally ill you are in these same section 8 housing developments facing isolation and fear and no outlet for self discovery outside of those with whom you have been surrounded by. with no continuum of care.
In short we think that if we continue to throw money at the problem it will just go away, and it has for years evaded the very best minds, why because these minds while being the best have a one sided view and they are the ones with the ability to throw the money in what direction they choose. We are faced with a problem bigger than most people are willing to admit, It is one of out of site out of mind if we hide the impoverished and seclude them to a certain part of society then as long as there are none in our neighborhood they do not exist If we give the homeless and addicted and downtrodden a check or a house they will simply go away. what about Jobs What about the ability to pursue happiness what about the right of the individual what about our ability to better our lives, what about this society that not just on this continent but around the globe that views the degradation of others as simply the cost of doing business. how screwed up are we that we think that it is Ok to give a drug addict a check for His addiction rather than treatment for his addiction what is it that makes us give a mentally ill person a check instead of a doctor? It truly is the hope of those administrators that with enough money they will just go away. and it in a sense is working. because Little known facts like every month between The 1st and the 10th we lose 1000’s of people on social programs to the infirmities that got them there in the first place, drugs, alcohol, depression, anxiety and mental illness. yes 1000’s in this country seems insignificant But it is doing what as a people with all of our talk and all of our plans can not do it is taking care of the homeless problem a few at a time. Yes Giving a check to a drug addict has gotten more people permanently off the streets than the Department of housing and urban development ever dreamed of.