John Maceri talks about an issue that is lingering across the US that unfortunately fails to be addressed on a daily basis. He reminds us that there is indeed something that can be done to help alleviate this issue and get our citizens off the streets.
John Maceri is the Executive Director of OPCC, a nonprofit social service agency based in Santa Monica. OPCC provides a wide variety of housing and services through its ten projects serving low-income and homeless youth, adults and families, battered women and their children, at-risk youth and people living with mental illness.
“The richest country on earth and yet you let your citizens live like abandoned animals on streets.” -Moral outrage!
While we’ve always had very poor and homeless people as part of our society, widespread homelessness today has only become prevalent over the last 30 years.
There are many reasons for this:
— Policy decisions many decades ago that shut down many mental institutions.
— The loss of jobs and declining wages that help people obtain and keep their housing.
— The widening income gap that’s pushing more people into poverty.
–The proliferation of highly addictive and very cheap street drugs (crack cocaine; crystal meth)
— Veterans returning from war without adequate support to keep them from falling into homelessness. The high cost of housing especially in our urban areas where low income people simply cannot afford to pay their rents.
— Jails and prisons and foster care – which continue to discharge people into homelessness.
It’s easy to blame an administration or another for these problems, or one political party or another for how we got here. The challenge is not to understand what created the problems; the challenges to understand is how do we get out of this mess.