Housing first: end homelessness (no requirements to be off street drugs, nor on psych drugs)

This is the answer, in my opinion. A definitive measure of our capacity for empathy and loving kindness is found in the way we treat the homeless, the poor, and the mentally ill.

Everything Matters

The Canadian city featured in the video below has housed all their citizens.

I worked for a harm reduction program in San Francisco in which no one was required to be off illegal drugs nor were they required to be on psych drugs (the drugs of the state which were often held over the heads of those who don’t want to take them as reason to not give housing) … The program brought down emergency hospitalizations by huge numbers by giving people one of their very most basic needs…a roof over their heads…I’m a believer in non-coercive loving care. Give people what they really need and they’ll figure out the rest.

The program I worked for wasn’t a flawless program, but I was on site 8 hours a day and folks were able to come to me if and when they wanted. No coercive requirements or expectations. The philosophy of the…

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8 thoughts on “Housing first: end homelessness (no requirements to be off street drugs, nor on psych drugs)

  1. katiesdream2004 March 28, 2016 / 6:48 pm

    Yes! I’ve worked with populations of unhoused people and been homeless myself and found that very often we were fleeing some abusive situation. Unfortunately, because homelessness is so deeply traumatizing people can seem incoherent, disorganized and chaotic resulting in many being falsely labeled mentally ill. Anyone in that level of crises can seem crazy, it goes with the trauma but they are not. The statistics I’ve heard that make the most sense to me are about 30 percent of unhoused people have a mental health diagnoses. The assumption that the number is much higher is probably based on getting funds to mental health professionals and their programs rather than to homeless people themselves that need a stable place to live.

    Homelessness is a very traumatic experience by itself. I remain convinced that becoming unhoused starts with trauma in the first place. Violence, abuse, job loss so often find their roots in some narcissistic bully that forces their victim to conclude they are safer on the streets. The question, which happened first, the mental distress or the homelessness is that it is a vicious circle. Homelessness is a desperate measure for desperate circumstances. There is a circle that goes thusly: trauma causes homelessness, trauma occurs in the process of it and trauma is often made worse by do gooders forcing treatment using controlling, dehumanizing tactics of coercion that is actually sometimes violent. Some of it can seem very much like the narcs many homeless people fled.

    I’ve heard misinformed policy makers pushing coercion in mental health treatment (forced drugging basically) that claim 90 percent of homelessness is due to mental illness. Any human being forced into a situation where survival is threatened, excluded from the mainstream without a sense of belonging or safety while being ostracized as a complete reject is going to seem “different’ But just as trauma is the natural response to an abnormal situation, homelessness and the trauma inherent in it, quite often has its roots in the failure of love, in abuse, in some narc pushing a black sheep to the curb. When that is the unlying cause, telling that person that if they want to live safely they have to take drugs that have horrific side effects, make them forget who they are and are subject to a chemical straightjacket is to simply abuse a victim further.

    Long way of saying that the statistics and evidence is in that housing first, because it upholds the human right to dignity is effective. Similarly, the Open Dialogue movement coming out of Finland, demonstrates how effective an empathetic listening response is to heal people in psychotic states. They’ve virtually eliminated the use of anti-psychotics and have a remarkable healing rate.

    I worked in the mental health profession, have relatives that still work in it and saw enough to know it is the easiest profession on the planet for sociopath narcs to hide and inflict damage. Sometimes they run homeless shelters…. sometimes they run mental health centers. I watched a housing manager make her clients grovel and beg while she threatened their housing if she didn’t like the look on their faces. She got away with it despite the brave few that came forward to complain. I’ve seen those types of abusive therapists get awards as case manager of the year while they basically hated their clientele but their coworkers adored them….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 28, 2016 / 9:13 pm

      I’ve been thinking about your excellent comment, Katie, during the past few hours since you posted it. What you said about trauma most often being the cause of homelessness, and how the added trauma of being homeless causes people to appear “crazy” when they really aren’t: that is so heartbreakingly true.

      I have a lot more to say on this subject, but I think I will make it into a post. After a good night’s sleep first, it’s been a long day.

      By the way, in case you didn’t see it, here is the link to my guest post on Lucky Otter’s blog: http://luckyottershaven.com/2016/03/27/abusers-break-you-and-then-hate-you-for-being-broken/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jncthedc March 29, 2016 / 9:58 pm

    Such important information to get out to the public. Many people’s first impression of homeless people is FEAR. This comes from a complete lack of understanding. This video demonstrates the hope and promise available to those we can provide the tools needed to help heal themselves. With so many problems facing so many people, we frequently avoid dealing with this dilemma. Thank you for sharing this important message and creating much needed awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

      • jncthedc March 30, 2016 / 10:33 am

        I am glad you have chosen this new blog and are comfortable with receiving comments. I have found that an overwhelming majority of the people are respectful and add benefit with their comments. I hope you find the same outcome on your new blog.
        Wishing you much happiness and satisfaction with all your efforts.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 30, 2016 / 11:16 am

          I appreciate your well wishes. So far, all of the comments have been great. Of course, like everything else in life, I am sure that this, too, will pass. But I can just ignore and block anything inappropriate. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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