How can we decrease the rate of homelessness?

I worked at a non-profit that was basically an Amazon fulfillment, boxing and shipping warehouse. Every employee was either homeless, in recovery, recently out of prison or some combination.

We had full-time counselors that focused on housing first, mental health later and then job placement before they graduated. We also had financial volunteers come in to sort people’s debts and taxes.

If anyone was interested, capable and safe, we had a sewing shop, a wood shop and a machine shop for learning more advanced skills than fulfillment. I taught carpentry in the woodshop.

It was pretty successful, we even made about 85% of our budget from work and selling our products. The rest came from fundraising and whatever state and federal grants we could get.

I would say it wasn’t perfect, a lot dropped out, relapsed or just went back to their habits, it was kinda depressing. But the ones that made it had a home, a financial plan, a job lined up and mental health services scheduled.

If we could something like that at a larger scale, which would be a hell of a nightmare to figure out, I think it would be the best option. A wholistic approach gets people a blank slate and a fresh start with a paycheck and a roof, without forcing them to give up their own agency and freedom.

/r/AskReddit Thread