I recently saw a press release discussing the issue of paying a decent wage versus employment and homelessness. Being in the employment industry, I see the constant struggle in our community with companies who do not pay a “living wage” adequate for people to live on. We decided long ago that our clients would be only those who have the same core principles as we do, which is to pay a decent wage and hire good employees who are treated well.
I try to make sure we are aligned with companies who also have compassion for their community and are proactive. With this said this article and the organization, House the Homeless below are trying to promote this concept while also offering a very solid argument, that America can do something about the homeless in our community.
A recent report from Salvation Army in our community recently stated that they have over 50 Families on the wait list for long term shelter.. Families.. we are not talking about 1 single man with alcohol problems (because that tends to be Americans view of the homeless right? That there is a reason and that they choose to be homeless.) However, I fully concur that there are in many cases those who have serious addiction issues who end up homeless and those too who literally seem to like their existence. But I ask you this question, who would “choose” to live on the streets or in a cardboard box long term, if they had a way out?. The truth be told there are all kinds of reasons for entire families, with kids, to become homeless.
It is “our problem” and there is a solution. I understand that not everyone agrees with what I am saying, but I will tell you this, unless you have firsthand experience working with the homeless and families and hearing their stories, well then I find your argument hardly sustainable. Before you judge others, try reaching out and volunteering with the local soup kitchen for a month, sign up for blanket distribution with a local church. Actually meet some of the families and kids who are staying at homeless shelters and hear their stories. Stand hand in hand with your fellow American first, before you think you know them.
The full press release is pasted below.
Thank you for taking the time to read and care about this issue!
Britanie Olvera, CEO of Building Team Solutions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Prevent Homelessness at Its Core": Nonprofit House the Homeless Releases Report Detailing 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, Restore Human Dignity and Save Business and Taxpayers $ Millions!
AUSTIN, Texas, December 4, 2013 – In a newly released report, House the Homeless (http://www.housethehomeless.org/) argues persuasively that the world's richest nation has the power to end homelessness within its borders; the political will to do so is the only ingredient lacking.
The perplexing tragedy of homelessness today is that even people working 40 hours per week often cannot afford adequate housing. In previous generations, this was never the case. Thus, one of the themes of the 92-page report is the establishment of a Universal Living Wage, guaranteeing that basic necessities—shelter, food, clothing, etc.—can be met by everyone. For those unable to work, an overhaul of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) system is in order, for it too has not kept pace with inflation.
While establishing a Universal Living Wage will take time, House the Homeless also addresses steps that will make a difference in people's lives today. The report explores the idea that society's institutions (military, school, prison, hospital, etc.) have the power and responsibility to discharge individuals into safe, appropriate environments. "Discharge No One into Homelessness" encapsulates the ethic behind this approach, which admittedly will require a fundamental (but undeniably positive) shift in how many institutions view their members. House the Homeless investigates this concept through the practical example of the nation's prison institution.The paper boasts a Forward by the esteemed Edgar S.Cahn and a historical perspective by Sue Watlov Phillips National Coalition for the Homeless- Board-Emeritus.
The positive impact of ending homelessness will extend well beyond those who were formerly without stable living situations. Small businesses, local governments and taxpayers will see benefits, and not in an abstract, trickle-down economics kind of way. A Universal Living Wage will ease the burden on social safety nets and charities, while restoring dignity to the lives of millions.
House the Homeless firmly believes that all people are valuable and that no one should labor under the specter of homelessness or abject poverty. The organization mailed its recent report to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, select Cabinet members, and the entire US Congress.
About House The Homeless, Inc.
House The Homeless, Inc. is an educational and advocacy group that was founded in Austin, TX in 1989. Our mission is education and advocacy surrounding all issues of homelessness.
Richard R. Troxell
Author:Looking Up at the Bottom Line (The Struggle for the Living Wage)
Board Member: National Coalition for the Homeless