Be careful. I might criticize our glorious profit-motive system here, but what kind of economic system can’t provide food and shelter for everyone? Forget this individualistic lifestyle. We’re all human beings sharing this earth together. This is disturbing because the world population happens to be growing at about five people per second. If we can’t house the population we have now, what about the future?
A quick look at worldometers.info shows that the birth rate is much faster than the death rate for an equivalent ten second period of time. You can literally “see” it with your own eyes, a net growth of roughly five people per second. This equates to about 80 million people added to the earth every year. The current human population stands at around 7.7 billion.
If the mayors and governments of our cities would actually try to house the homeless, I wouldn’t have to write this article. I recommend we provide extensive housing in large numbers with no time limits on their stay. The homeless, like the rest of us, need a place to go to the bathroom, have sex, eat, sleep, the usual activities. Instead of doing that outside, let’s get them indoors. Work or no work, everyone needs food and shelter.
Marc Benioff, a San Francisco billionaire, has donated $30 million to launch a study of homelessness in coordination with the University of California at San Francisco. It’s designed to properly channel the $300 million that will be produced by Proposition C. The money would invest in programs that will help resolve homelessness, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can read more about it here at, the University of California at San Francisco’s Center for Vulnerable Populations. What an impressive name and mission!
However, I don’t see why the issue needs a special study. The homeless simply need housing with or without an income, but they’re treating it like rocket science. I suppose the public is frightened of any kind of “free housing” concept. Heaven forbid it might be used for people who need it the most.
I have some familiarity with the issue. For three years I volunteered and worked with the homeless population. I served meals, helped with job applications or email at various shelters and worked as a floor monitor for a very large social service organization. I recommend more people get involved with poverty relief in the United States. You need to see it up close and personal particularly, with the “hard-core” homeless who are living out of a shopping cart and stink like they’re covered with excrement. If you’re worried about “free-housing,” well, these are some of the people who need it most.
Providing housing for the homeless does wonders for public health and the economy. How do very wealthy people live with themselves when there are half a million homeless people in the US? My best guess is that they just don’t know about the homeless. It’s not a concept that crosses their lifestyle.
It’s a fairly easy problem to solve. I would prefer a direct approach with large housing facilities produced exclusively for the homeless in addition to an economic fix with much lower apartment rental rates. Now, you might get someone who will try to challenge you and ask “Have you ever been to a third world country? Have you seen the poverty in those countries?”
Well, I guess that means we’re not supposed to do anything, right?
There are those who have a very defeatist, submissive attitude towards life and simply say, “Oh, that’s just how it is.”
Wrong. We can change anything if we put the effort into it.
I wouldn’t want to blame the homeless for their own problems all the time either. People become homeless for a variety of reasons. I would rather be on the compassionate side and simply give everyone what is needed, like food and shelter, to function on a basic level.
Others would then ask, “why would I want to work if I can find free food and shelter?”
I would respond with “because you’re a good person with strengths that society values that you can use to contribute to society in a meaningful way” People generally have motivation to do something with their lives, whether it’s volunteer work or full-time employment, we just have to ensure the opportunities are available for them
Homelessness is not a funny thing. Homeless people occasionally freeze to death. However, most homeless people don’t want to be homeless. You should ask yourself, “Has poverty or homelessness ever crossed my life?”
Homelessness is one of the many problems society is facing caused by the “free-market” system. It’s as if the free-market is supposed to make up for any other deficiencies. This is more like a “forced-market” system to me, if you’re suppose to do the market thing all the time. Yes, capitalism is part of the problem. Overpopulation and dependence on growth are too. Does housing have to be a part of the profit-motive?
If you really want to help the homeless, you can email the volunteer coordinator at your local soup kitchen and ask where they need help.
If you would like to learn more about the homeless, here is a reading list:
- Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
- Voices from the Street, Truths about Homelessness from Sisters of the Road, by Jessica Page Morrell
- Poverty in America, a Handbook, by John Iceland
Afterall, don’t have too many kids, they might become homeless, and watch out for that human excrement on the sidewalk.
Michael Harrison has a self-published booklet available online entitled, “Are There Too Many People on the Earth?” He is currently volunteering for Population Connection, a population organization based in Washington D.C. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.