Despite the fact that there are more efficient and effective ways of returning homeless people back into mainstream society, people still insist that the homeless be put through rehabilitation programs ranging from 90 days to a year, or more. One organization actually requires a three year commitment from homeless people to their program.
Though the Housing First models have proven such programs to be wasteful of time and money, people are still insisting that the homeless submit to such programs before giving them the opportunity to return to a more normal life.
And this got me thinking, since these programs are not really necessary, and the homeless are not asking for these programs, then who are they really for?
Some would say that issues such as addictions and mental illnesses cause people to become homeless and so the homeless must overcome these problems before they can maintain a home. But this has proven to be false time and again. There are many people with supposedly “debilitating” issues who are still able to maintain their homes. I have said it many times, though it falls mostly on deaf ears, that these issues do NOT cause homelessness. Homelessness is the result of a person coming to the belief that maintaining a home is no longer of any benefit to him or herself. Homelessness is the result of a mindset, perhaps inspired by a situation, but is not a result of the situation itself. This is why I say that all homelessness is a mental health issue.
But I digress.
Putting homeless people through the paces of rehabilitation programs is done not for the sake of the homeless person, but for the sake of society. They are not preparing the homeless for a “homed” life, but preparing society for the homeless persons return. It is society that is uncomfortable with accepting a homeless person “back into the fold” until the homeless person jumps through all the hoops placed between him and the opportunity for housing assistance. Whether the homeless person actually needs all this isn’t even considered. (Housing First has proven they don’t) It’s just assumed that they do.