Opinion: We can end the rising homelessness issue right here in Newark
Homelessness today is far too common. The U.S. has one of the largest economies in today’s global market. Yet, homelessness seems to continue to be a public policy concern.
The number of people experiencing homelessness is on the rise. Take a look at The Review, Newark Post or Delaware News Journal. Just search the word “homeless” in the upper righthand corner and countless articles pop up. Even a quick Google search will reveal this issue is not small, but rather wide-ranging.
Many plans to end homelessness exist, but are enough resources being utilized to combat the reasons why individuals may become homeless in the first place? Modern day homelessness affects our campus, community and city, so let’s place more emphasis on the root causes.
There are many reasons why someone might be homeless — they may not be able to afford housing, they work in poverty, they can’t find a job, they may be mentally ill or have other personal reasons. But it’s not just individuals who don’t want to work or are too lazy to find a job: children and families are experiencing homelessness too.
According to Delaware Online, more than 1,200 elementary and middle school students who took the 2018 Smarter Balanced Assessments in Delaware were homeless at the time of the test. From a quick walk of Main Street, you can see homeless individuals. Even if you don’t see homelessness, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem.
I read over the Delaware Continuum of Care 2017 Report and it seems like progress is being made when it comes to planning. As far as implementation, it seems like we really haven’t made progress in the prevention of homelessness. This means that one’s social determinants of health may not be equal and equitable right here in Newark.
There are countless studies and research reports that have been conducted. It’s time for the community to come together to identify opportunities to prevent homelessness and to provide adequate support to those who need a shelter or access to affordable housing. Another special consideration must be made for those who have mental illnesses. For example, the city and the university could benefit from increased mental health support services in the community. Let’s look at community-based solutions to guide progress in combating homelessness.