There are different types of homelessness. Not all Homeless are bums and thieves. It is important to understand the differences in order to better help end homelessness.
A) Chronic Homeless: an individual who has experienced homelessness for a year or longer, or who has experienced at least 4 episodes of homelessness in the last three years, and has a disability. The solution to the problem of chronic homelessness is permanent supportive housing.
B) Mentally ill Homeless: The majority of Homeless has some form of mental illness. Mental illness was the third largest cause of homelessness for single adults. Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.
C) Veterans Homeless: Though research indicates that veterans who served in Vietnam and the post-Vietnam era are at greatest risk of homelessness, veterans returning from the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq often have severe disabilities, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that are known to be correlated with homelessness. And as the military evolves, so too do the challenges. Homeless women veterans, for instance, are far more common now than in any other time in the past.
D) Youth Homeless: It’s not always easy to identify youth on the streets through typical counts of un-sheltered people experiencing homelessness. Homeless youth are less likely to spend time in the same places as homeless people who are in an older age range. They are often less willing to disclose that they’re experiencing homelessness or may not even identify as homeless. They may work harder to try to blend in with peers who aren’t homeless. They also go to school but may not identify themselves. There is a crescent number of homeless teens couch-surfing.
E) There are those that have suffered traumatic experiences, causing them to become homeless: like the loss of their entire family due to accident, have suffered severe illness affecting their income and lost of their assets, loss of a job and not being able to find a new one in time while living from pay check to pay check. Most of them fall into alcoholism and/or drug addiction to "ease the mental pain".
Housing first saves taxpayers money:
● Housing first measurably lowers taxpayer costs by reducing chronically homeless people’s reliance on expensive services like shelters, psychiatric hospitals and the emergency room. Permanent supportive housing is far cheaper than these services.
● For example, a 2014 study found the cost of homelessness in Central Florida to be $31,065 per year primarily from inpatient hospitalizations, emergency room fees and criminal justice costs. In contrast, the study found that providing permanent housing for these chronically homeless individuals costs just $10,051 per person/year - one third the cost of leaving these individuals on the streets