The world has never been a fair place to live in. Poverty is rampant everywhere and only a few gets to enjoy most of the riches of this world. This unequal distribution of wealth has left millions (if not billions) of people hurt, starving, lonely, at a disadvantage, and left to fend for themselves against the elements and basically everything else. If you look around you, especially if you are living in highly urbanized areas/cities, the number of homeless people scattered all over the streets is growing. They seem to be popping here and there and mostly reliant on the generosity of other people.
Just imagine what it would be like living on the streets – without a wall and a roof to protect you from harm. For years, the government and the private sector have teamed up to help clear the streets of these unfortunate souls yet many still remain and the number keeps on growing. Blame it on our unstable economy and other personal variables, it seems like an impossible endeavor to clear the streets of the homeless population and help them stand on their two feet once more.
Hoping to place thousands of homeless people into affordable housing regionwide, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to partner with all cities across the county that step up and help in the effort.
A motion introduced by supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl will allow county officials to fund supportive services to all 88 cities that provide rental vouchers, for example. The supportive services will be paid for by Measure H funding.
“Homelessness is the defining civic issue of our time and addressing it requires all hands on deck,” Ridley-Thomas said. “By working cooperatively, efficiently and urgently, the County and cities are not only taking people off the streets but also putting them on a path to long-term stability and recovery.”
Aside from helping the homeless find jobs so they can support their needs, there are also efforts that aim in helping the homeless escape the streets by providing them affordable housing options. How can a country like America claim to be a progressive and first-world nation when there are thousands (possibly millions) of its citizens loitering in the streets? Only when it can provide for all the needs of its citizens can the US be as proud as other nations that know how to take care of its citizens well.
A key policy framework was evolved to involve private players in building homes and a milestone reform was initiated to allow 100 per cent FDI in real estate in 2005. This was supplemented by a flagship mission of JNNURM to provide shelter for the urban poor, which however, did not prove very effective due to deficient guidelines to states about parking and utilisation of funds. The net result is that today we have a shortage of about two million dwelling units.
It’s in this backdrop that the Modi government launched a new urban renewal mission — AMRUT, to rejuvenate 500 cities, targeting two crore urban households, with an allocation of Rs 50,000 crore. Simultaneously, a mission to develop a hundred smart cities was launched at a cost of Rs 98,000 crore. These twin missions were supplemented by the ‘Housing For All’ mission to build two crore urban homes. Realising the need for massive funds, the government liberalised FDI norms and went ahead to accord infra status to affordable housing. This had the desired result, with FDI in real estate touching a record $5.7 billion in 2016.
Homelessness is actually a big problem in various parts of the globe not just in the US alone. Many nations have been the face of poverty where people line up on the streets asking for alms and sleeping under the sun or rain. While we don’t know the circumstances why they end up living on the streets, let us not easily pass judgment on them and try to do our part in helping one human being reclaim their lost lives and be self-sufficient again. Governments are busy thinking of ways on how they can address the problem but we should also do our part in extending help in whatever way we can. Let our random acts of kindness inspire others to help and pitch in because humanity still isn’t lost, after all.