According to news reports, cities in at least four states use a “cost-effective” way to reduce their homeless populations: Exportation. The link below is quite an eye opener as to what happens to people in our society when they fall on bad times. However, these folks at least have somewhere to go: See NBC News report.
New York City officials are reported to point out that, for each family sent far away at the city’s expense, the city saves some of the $36,000 per year estimated to house that family in a city shelter. This approach might be good for the bottom line of “The Big Apple,” but what about smaller cities across the country, especially those that receive New York’s homeless?
How can NYC’s approach be a viable solution if it cannot be applied in a significant number of cities everywhere? What about those who are homeless in their own home cities and towns and cannot be “exported”? What about follow-up of NYC officials in countries that receive the exported homeless, for example, the poorer countries of the Caribbean, like Haiti?
And, how “green” can it be to send families hundreds or thousands of miles away? What is the “carbon footprint” of such homeless export programs?
The Saffron Strand solution is to build job skills and employment capabilities locally, among homeless persons so that they can achieve gainful employment and afford to live in or near the communities they call “home.” The advantages: Lower initial and ongoing cost to taxpayers, higher skilled and more valuable local workforce, stronger communities and local businesses, happier local residents (including the formerly homeless), and much better effects on the environment.