Throughout an article that quotes many experts on ending homelessness, Covert also profiles Kirk, a man who has been homeless since 2009.
“’If I got housing I’m sure I’d keep it. I know I’m mature enough to keep care of an apartment, I did it for years,’ he said. ‘I know I could be successful for any housing program, but I don’t get in.’”
At one time our country had an adequate supply of affordable housing but this changed in the 1980s when funding was slashed.
“Federal incentives to build affordable housing dried up. Add to that the AIDs crisis, the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, cutbacks to the social safety net, and the rise in incarceration and subsequent hurdles for reentry, and you have today’s crisis.”
But providing the homeless with homes could end homelessness. One solution put forward by the Bipartisan Policy Center is to give “Rental assistance to everyone whose income is at or below 30 percent of area median income (AMI), or between $13,650 for a single person to $19,500 for a family of four, through a reformed voucher program.
At a cost of $22.5 billion, the report notes, ‘It could, in effect, end homelessness for the vast majority of those experiencing it,’ given that nearly all homeless households fall into the category of earning at or below 30 percent of AMI. (Nan) Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, who served on the commission, noted, ‘It would basically solve homelessness.’”
But this solution among others requires resources.
“The bipartisan support for the idea of ending homelessness hasn’t led to a bipartisan effort to actually fund the things that work, particularly in the current era of budget cutting.”