Houston’s Most Successful Strategy to Combat Homelessness

(VitalNews.org) – Houston has long been trying to combat the homeless issue within the city and their newest efforts might actually be paying off. Kelly Young, who leads Houston’s Coalition for the Homeless, spoke out on the “Housing First” method which has been the leading factor here in combating homelessness in the city.

“Housing First” essentially means that the city would spend money getting people into a house or apartment first, then work on stabilizing their lives. This would help them to get people off the streets and not just add in another shelter bed to accommodate.

For Army veteran Julie Blow, who is sixty-two years old, the Housing First method helped her get back onto her feet after being homeless. She found herself swimming in medical bills after two surgeries and a lot of bad luck, which left her in the predicament she was in, but this method helped to get her into her own apartment quickly.

Blow stated, “I feel like a teenager, I am that happy!” She continued, “You know, before all the stuff happens to you in life and you get jaded? I feel like a teenager!”

Since this method was put in place in Houston, the homeless rate is down sixty-three percent and more than thirty thousand people have been housed using it.

“Our natural instinct when we see homelessness increasing is to hire more outreach workers and to build more shelter beds,” said Mandy Chapman who came up with the Housing First method.

She continued, “The idea that if you have no permanent place to live, that you’re also going to be able to transform and tackle complex mental health issues, addiction issues, complex financial issues? It’s just unrealistic.”

She stated that this method could help other cities and states follow suit and implement something similar to combat homelessness across the United States and even the world.

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