Soubirous Housing/Homelessness Q3
Society must first admit that chronic homelessness is mostly due to drug/alcohol use. Many substance users are self-medicating due to past trauma, abuse or situation. A smaller portion of the homeless population is there because they do not take prescribed medications that help mitigate their congenital mental health disorders. They are unable to live a productive lifestyle because they self-medicate. These people need medication assistance/monitoring from county or state mental health departments. The smallest homeless populations are those who have suffered some form of economic loss and ultimately wound up on the street. This group is fairly easy to help. Most are willing to accept offered services. The other two groups rarely accept offered supportive services. Understanding the truth about how these people ended up on our streets is paramount to mitigating homelessness.
Government has a huge part to play regarding laws, enforcement, policies and funding. However, our government cannot adequately provide the time-consuming social based partnering with the chronic homeless population that’s sorely needed. There are not enough trained government professionals who can spend quality time with those who are drug addicted and self-medicate to escape past problems or abuse.
Until these affected homeless people develop a long-term trusting relationship with someone, there is little hope in getting the addicted person to accept help. From their point of view, they have been mistreated, let down or abandoned by many from their past. They need someone to help them through their recovery process. Someone they can partner with. They know they can’t do it alone. Our faith-based community, non-profits and other volunteers can be those partners. We need an army of trained volunteers to mentor our addicted fellow humans who can’t cope on their own. Government cannot provide this level of long-term support. Volunteers can.