Solutions to Homelessness Essay

1859 Words Sep 28th, 1999 8 Pages
Solutions for Homelessness

This great nation of awesome power and abundant resources is losing the battle against homelessness. The casualties can be seen on the street corners of every city in American holding an "I will work for food" sign. Homeless shelters and rescue missions are at full capacity. There is no room at the inn for the nation's indigent. Anyone who has studied this issue understands that homelessness is a complex problem. Communities continue to struggle with this socio-economic problem while attempting to understand its causes and implement solutions. The public and private sectors of this country are making a difference in the lives of the homeless by addressing the issues of housing, poverty and education.
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Homelessness means being disconnected from all of the support systems that usually provide help in a time of crisis. It means being without structure. It means being alone. The basic truth Americans must realize is that 85% of all homeless adults suffer from chronic alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness or some combination of the three which directly leads to this condition of isolation (Burger.) While millions of dollars may be spent on education, housing and employment for the homeless, these efforts do little to improve their lives if they are unable to stay sober. The majority of our nation's homeless need guidance in making major life changes to enable them to find sobriety and stability.

Unable to will themselves not to drink or use drugs, the chemically dependent homeless have lost the power of choice in their lives. Just as someone could not take four Exlax and will themselves not to use the bathroom, so be it with the addict and alcoholic. Physically and mentally they have no control; the problem is greater than themselves. Dr. Silkworth, trusted friend of Alcoholics Anonymous, described this hopeless state of mind and body with simplicity when he wrote:

Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is

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