In discussions on homelessness, the focus is largely on triaging the issue by providing shelter as soon as possible, which is critical and necessary.
On that front, nonprofits do a lot of good work in our communities and in general, prove to be more effective with their money and resources. Top charities, such as local Habitat for Humanity chapters and others, use approximately 90 cents of every dollar donated to the direct benefit of those they intend to serve. This often contrasts with government, which can offer lifetime retirement and health benefits, increasing their administrative costs.
Nonprofits remain key partners in leading the way in providing aid and support to those who find themselves homeless. However, while that is an essential component, it is only a temporary fix. We cannot solve this issue unless we also address its root causes.
Much of the problem is caused by government. If government is not limited in its scope, in line with our nation’s first principles, it becomes the problem.
In general, we know it is expensive to live in California, driven by many government policies. High gas prices and taxes increase the costs of goods and services. Mandates on employers limit entry-level work opportunities. All of these issues together compound the problem and can push individuals and families onto the streets or out of California.
Still, there is a role for government, and the recent state budget does allocate a record number of funds to provide local governments resources to help the existing homeless population. As always, though, with new money comes increased accountability. It has to be used effectively, efficiently, and with prudence if there is to be actual relief.