So, we know it’s not Friday but we’ve got big surprises headed your way this Thanksgiving week so we’ve decide to do a Monday News Roundup (I know – we’re living right on the edge!)
In honor of the holidays quickly approaching, we thought we’d do a quick recap of the efforts being made across the country to provide homeless assistance services to our friends and neighbors in need – and summarize how great the need has become during these troubled economic times.
Topping the news of the season is the city of Los Angeles. I know we’ve talked about it before, but it’s worth a second note that the city, which has long struggled with its homeless population, released an ambitious plan to end chronic homelessness. The plan, supported by business leaders in the area, has the potential to permanently house some of the most vulnerable homeless people and measurably reduce homelessness in a city that has been called that “homeless capital of the nation.”
Youth homelessness seems to have hit a stride in the news cycle. While a few stories have percolated over the year, the issue seems to have reached the top of the collective media consciousness in recent weeks: on Monday alone, there were at least five stories on the subject across the county. While the issue of youth homelessness still requires research study, the gravity of the situation needs an equal amount of attention. Youth represent an overlooked and often underserved homeless population – one that we have the capacity and responsibility to help. Kudos to the news media for paying special notice to this important group.
Unfortunately, need is always met with appropriate resources. Along with the stories about youth homelessness on Monday came a rash of stories about lack of aid. In states from New Hampshire to Massachusetts to Washington, journalists detailed the rising need of services coupled with the declining supply. This time of financial instability, strapped state budgets, and high unemployment seems to present a perfect storm for the most economically vulnerable among us.
This is exactly why solution-focused, cost-effective, and practical conversations about social problems – like homelessness – are so important year round. So while you may be paying particular attention to homelessness this winter, make sure to try it remember before Turkey Day 2011.