Changes are continuously occurring in communities across the nation. Whether they are national policies or architectural changes to local buildings, changes often add to the hardships of homeless individuals. Yet more recently, there is a trend leading the other way, and favorable policies are heading in a better direction for the unhoused community.
Some recent architectural changes in major cities are criticized as being “anti-homeless.” These changes entail dividers on benches, adding spikes on sidewalks, and ultimately creating a hostile environment that no longer allows homeless individuals to rest or sleep. Rather than better distributing government funds to improve the community and the lives of all individuals, some leaders allocate money to these sorts of projects. While spikes and bench dividers are easily spotted, some cities attempt to be more sly in order to achieve the same results. For example, they make small alterations to benches to make them uncomfortable to sleep on. Less vicious, but evil nonetheless.
While we can easily spot architectural changes by simply walking through our cities, some policies often go unnoticed. A big topic of conversation surrounding the rise in homelessness is the lack of available and affordable housing. On a positive note, cities are reforming zoning codes to ease the process of constructing new homes. However, an issue with this is that the new homes are being priced high, making it difficult for most people to afford. Luckily, some states are creating more accessible options for housing funds that may make the process of owning/renting a home easier for lower-income individuals.
These positive changes affecting real estate are significant advancements for the housing crisis. On the other hand, several legislative policies discuss different aspects of homelessness that Congress must consider. One is the Homelessness Assistance Grant (HAG), a major billion-dollar request for funding to provide resources to local communities. This grant would allow for critical advancements in moving towards reducing the homeless community’s difficulties. Another to look out for is The Better Care, Better Job Act. This act will provide services for housing and health care plans that better suit the needs of the elderly and disabled, two groups that are highly likely to experience homeless. These policies and changes are creating a very encouraging environment which is necessary when combating this complex issue.