Housing Costs and Wage Stagnation, Not Drugs, are the Main Causes of Homelessness

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In her 5/2/21 Voice of OC group opinion article, Lorri Galloway states flatly, “Drug abuse is the one most outlined explanation for homelessness.” She cites no research to again this up, nor does she quote any specialists on the causes of homelessness. She permits that “job loss is one other trigger,” however dismisses it as a major trigger as a result of “lack of jobs is commonly the results of habit.” Psychological sickness is talked about, not as a explanation for homelessness, however solely to say it’s “typically the results of long-term drug abuse.”

Apparently, in Galloway’s world, the skyrocketing price of shopping for or renting a spot to dwell in OC has nothing to do with the rise within the variety of folks residing and not using a mounted abode. In Galloway’s world, stagnating wages don’t even get a passing point out. Nowhere does she point out the function of home violence and the rejection of LGBTQ youth by their dad and mom. This final omission is especially baffling, on condition that she is Government Director of the Eli Residence, whose tagline is “Breaking the cycle of kid abuse and household violence.”

In Galloway’s alternate actuality, correlation implies causation. She states that at the moment 90% of moms in search of shelter at Eli Residence “are or have not too long ago been drug or alcohol addicted.” She goes on to say that the incidence of homelessness and drug abuse in OC have each elevated, as if that proves the latter causes the previous. Nowhere does she acknowledge that habit typically follows the lack of housing.

Curiously, Galloway appears to contradict her personal concept when she observes that homelessness is extra prevalent in north OC, whereas opioid habit is extra prevalent in south OC.

However the entire above, essentially the most wrong-headed and self-defeating side of Galloway’s worldview is the notion that extra assets for habit and psychological well being therapy are vital for shelters to be “actually efficient.” Shelters are primarily a dead-end in OC, as a result of we have now a dire scarcity of housing that’s reasonably priced to people scraping by on a minimum-wage job. We even have a extreme lack of everlasting supportive housing, which incorporates providers (together with behavioral and psychological well being therapies) that some folks want with a view to stay housed. Residing in a shelter is unhealthy on your well being, even in the perfect of occasions. Throughout a pandemic, it may be a loss of life sentence.

I don’t know what share of Eli Residence shoppers find yourself in steady housing conditions, or what’s the common period of their keep there, however nobody needs to be subjected to residing in a typical OC shelter for greater than a pair weeks. If housing isn’t out there when somebody enters a shelter, it’s unlikely to be out there once they depart. Residents of shelters are nonetheless and not using a mounted abode, and are more likely to stay so.

The one actually efficient method to ending homelessness is to quickly produce housing that everybody can afford, in adequate amount to deal with everybody, together with those that will lose their houses sooner or later. (God assist us when COVID-related eviction moratoriums are lifted.)

I’m not disputing the truth that habit can play a job within the lack of a job or a house, or the break-up of a household. I assist Galloway’s name for extra therapy applications for habit, extra detox facilities, and extra emphasis on psychological well being points. However dismissing the primary drivers of homelessness, that are housing prices, wage stagnation and unemployment, and (for ladies) home violence (or within the case of males, incarceration) is grossly irresponsible. Shelters won’t ever remedy homelessness, no matter how good their drug therapy applications occur to be.

Thomas Fielder has been concerned in homeless advocacy for greater than 3 years, and is Director of Acquisitions for Individuals’s Homeless Activity Pressure OC. He has a Grasp’s diploma in biology and labored in biomedical analysis his complete profession, the final 26 years of which was spent at UC-Irvine. He helped his spouse elevate 3 youngsters in Anaheim, the place they’ve lived for 37 years.

For a distinct view on this problem, take into account: https://voiceofoc.org/2021/05/galloway-the-silent-sufferers-of-homelessness/

Opinions expressed in group opinion items belong to the authors and never Voice of OC.

Voice of OC is excited about listening to completely different views and voices. If you wish to weigh in on this problem or others please e-mail opinions@voiceofoc.org.

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