Thursday, August 12, 2010

Homeless Awareness Walk

Today’s Youngstown Vindicator includes a story on the front page covering yesterday’s Homeless Awareness Walk. There will be another one of these in December to kick off the Cold Weather Emergency Program. Here is the link to the Vindicator article.

As I found the link, I also read the comments posted regarding the story. Some of these expressed concern that agencies are enabling people who want to remain homeless. While it is true that some of the homeless population is homeless secondarily to mental health issues and substance abuse, it is unwise to broad brush the situation.

It is true that people are homeless because they make bad choices. People tend to be homeless because it is the price they willingly pay to continue their addiction. In that case, they are homeless because they want to be. Likewise, it is naïve to think that the homeless problem can be solved by throwing more money at the issue. While we all know that it takes money to do anything, more money is not the solution.

The agencies that are involved in the Mahoning County Homeless Continuum of Care realize that enabling behaviors that contribute to homelessness will be counter-productive in the end. Each of them strive to correct and resolve the issues that lead to homelessness, whether that includes mental health care, drug and alcohol counseling, employment help, educational services, or religious and spiritual instruction.

Mahoning County is blessed to have such great collaboration among a diverse range of agencies.

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