Haley Scholar Reading Groups
By Cindy Lyles
Malcolm Gladwell's essay “Million-Dollar Murray” details the issue of homelessness and how various cities have attempted to remedy the problem. Gladwell explains differing points of views on the issue, one being that dealing with homelessness is less expensive to solve than ignoring it. On the other hand, some believe that aiding the chronically homeless (also known as the hard cases) via assisted-living programs merely exacerbates rather than rehabilitates the problem.
Gladwell cites homelessness expert Philip Mangano, who says that rather than "manage a social wrong. You should be ending it” (187). Homelessness, according to Mangano, is a social wrong that those in civic power fail to tackle with urgency. By spending more money in medical costs and treatment for the homeless than it costs to provide them housing, Mangano believes civic leaders are only coping with homelessness instead of alleviating it.
Based on the different views, what do you view as the most viable option--managing vs. solving? Why?
It is better to solve the problem than manage it. The way homelessness is dealt with now is deplorable. Are they really being helped? I don't think so. If only a fraction of the homeless are "hard cases" and need extended help, why not give them the assistance that they need?
The solution of giving those cases their own apartments and help them become self-sufficient seems like a great idea and a better alternative. It is better than helping them here and there and their condition does not improve. There is a upside and a downside to every possibility, but more stand to benefit from the homeless problem being solved, instead of simply managed, because is the problem truly being managed? Evidently not if millions of dollars is essentially being wasted and no one is truly being helped.
Homelessness is a tough subject to address let alone begin to formulate a solution. However, applying much broader methods to solve this problem seems to be a better solution. Giving the homeless a strong foundation to arise from may be a good chunk of the hope and encouragement they need to survive, in a healthy manner. Managing the issue seems to remain only temporary. Solving the issues sounds much more permanent. Despite some unsuccessfullness and those 'hard cases' all some homeless people need is a huge boost. After losing lots of hope and commonly gaining mental disabilities the homeless are, indeed, going to require extensive work to rehabilitate.
I think homelessness is as managed as it needs to be. There are shelters and volunteer areas that feed the homeless. If you provide housing for these people, how do you expect them to maintain that with no source of income. To me there are a lot more serious issues in the world that are more of a priority than solving homeless individuals problems. However those people got to where they are at is there own fault. You can only help people so much.
Homelessness in America should not exist in my personal opinion. We are one of richest countries in the world and are always so helpful to other countries when they are experiencing issues with natural disasters and other unfortunate situations. If we have enough money to go outside the country to help others, then why can't we help those who are disparate for housing. I feel like a lot of our problems in America are overlooked and do not receive the proper aid that it should be given.
Obviously solving would be the ultimate goal but I don't think that's really possible. At any time, people can fall under hardships and lose everything they own. Others may simply give up trying to succeed or lose themselves in substance abuse like Murray did.
The most viable option would have to be managing with incentive. Maybe provide shelter, food, substance abuse programs, and job programs, as long as the recipient agrees to make progress. Dumping money into the system won't work if there is no encouragement for success. Money and encouragement can only go so far however. Homeless individuals have to want to succeed as well.
I think the money that is spent for medical bills only covers the effect and not the cause. The money could be better used towards a goal of prevention. Incentives, job programs, and monitoring could be a possible way to combat any future medical costs. The problem will be solved when homeless individuals aren't just given handouts, but are given the tools to succeed.
I believe that it is better to solve the problem rather than manage it. Perhaps people have been conditioned to know how to help the homeless rather than to know how to get them off the streets and into homes. Maybe its just easier in the short term to go out and feed them for a day rather than building homes for them.
I agree that is would be much more cost effective to solve the issue of homelessness rather than just maintaining the problem. By completely removing the problem we could focus on other issues that require more time and money to solve. When the poor are the majority in this country perhaps there is a greater problem with the politicians that run it.
With all the prosperity this country portrays, I think homelessness should not even exist. Managing a problem to me is a lazy form of handling a situation.
In my opinion, managing homelessness is an indirect way of supporting it. While taking care of medical costs and treatments is very generous, it is not solving the problem. We need to show homeless people ways to escape this. I think this should be a process that involves the homeless and the non homeless. We have to tackle this issue as a country, because although many complain that our country is in an economic slump, most of us are living well off compared to other countries.
We don't need to manage the problem, but STOP it directly.
Being homeless is not something that should exist in America. People have too much wealth to allow women, men and children to go without while glorifying material things. If we look at moves like the Pursuit of Happiness, we see that homless people have all the potential in the world, they just need help, as we all do.We can change this by re evaluating our own lives in order to make personal decisions that could help those in need, others will follow by example
People can be homeless for many reasons: drug use, they lost their job, mental illnesses, or a combination of these. To just give all these people a place to live could enable them. If you give a drug abuser a free home then you are facilitating their drug habit. If you give someone with a mental illness a home without treating their underlying problem then this helps no one. Giving homeless people a home no questions asked seems like a great idea, but when you get down to it this just isn't reasonable. We have to treat their underlying problems so that they can get back on their feet again and provide for themselves. We shouldn't just give people something without them making a change or else we're not fixing anything. We would just be hiding the true problems behind a closed door.
Homlessness. Many people shudder at the idea. Others stick their noses up at it. Many completely ignore it. As a society, we have so much power to help one another. No, I am not just talking only about donations and charities, but beyond monetary assistence. As humans, we carry the strongest antedote in our hearts for pain: love. Many "hard cases" become hard cases because people aren't willing to catch the problem when it's easy. Homelessness is not something that can be cured over night, but it is a problem that has a root, that can we weeded out. We have to open our eyes to certain issues that lead people down the road to homelessness and deal with those. As for those who are already homeless, positive action needs to take place. We can't just send them blankets and bread. Yes, these things are good,but we need to do more than just aid them. We need to get them back on their feet, and off of the streets. We need to spread the gift of hope and possibility.
As nice as it is to claim that we can solve this problem, it is one that is only going to be a manageable one. The minute you think you have solved the problem, someone else will end up without a place to sleep. Whether that is a battered woman or a man who has been laid off or a child who has run away, there will always be a homeless problem. The best we can do is what we are doing now- with the economy the way it is, the wealth is not spread out, so we can't expect to find more money to help these people- we need to make better use of the resources we already have. Non-profits with small permanent staff and a volunteer base are probably the best resource for the homeless and the most economical.
I feel that homelessness is a tricky problem because I don't think it can be solved. There are homeless people out there who just don't want to put in effort or are content with where they are at. This only contributes to the problem because no amount of help will get them out of the situation. You can't force someone to change their lifestyle. This can also lead to an abuse of the system which is the problem with managing. At the same time though, there are people who really want to get back on their feet. Managing can help by giving food and other resources that will support them and give them a push them to better themselves.
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