What Can We Do to Prevent Homelessness?
June 12-13, 2017
Richmond Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, CA
Homelessness is a whirlpool that traps more than 1.6 million Americans each year, including tens of thousands in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many never escape and need rescue again and again.
Programs designed to lift the homeless and those at risk out of the whirlpool can become self-perpetuating “revolving doors.” Successful exits to long-term economic independence are few and may require large public expenditures over long periods.
Sustaining these low-performance traditional efforts — let alone expanding them to meet the growing need — seems unlikely in the face of tight local, state, and federal budgets. Where is the new money for “transitional” employment and “housing first” programs going to come from?
Our recourse is prevention — reducing the flow of at-risk people into the whirlpool of homelessness. That means “working upstream” to address causes of homelessness closer to their source, including inequality of opportunity for education, employment, and housing.
What can we do today to work upstream to help those at risk to stabilize, recover, and rebuild their lives — before they become homeless?