Audience: Homeless people, those with homeless programs, and the general public.
Purpose: To argue a position on homeless shelter programs, that they are effective, and should be continued.
The problem about homeless shelter programs is that they are becoming less funded by the government, being discontinued because of a lack of funds, and having a lack of knowledgeable personnel for handling the many issues. According to Lauren Wise’s article, “About Funding for Homelessness,” “The U.S. federal government provides the majority of dedicated homelessness programs, from funding nationwide shelters to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.” When it comes to the topic of homeless shelter programs, there is much debate of whether the programs are effectively helping the homeless, adding to the problem of homelessness, and/or worth the time and money put into them. For all intents and purposes, homeless shelter programs provide assistance to homeless people to become independent and from becoming homeless again. Without these programs, homeless people would continue to be homeless or at the very least, struggle. Also, without these programs, the homeless population would continue to grow. Homeless programs are indeed effective and shouldn’t be withdrawn, but need to be meticulously implemented.
Homeless shelter programs shouldn’t be withdrawn because they are vital to lowering the homeless population. These programs help lower the rates by helping homeless people find jobs, offer food and shelter, and counseling for becoming financially independent. There are a number of homeless people that have received help from these programs and are no longer homeless, which is decreasing the homeless population. According to Rafael A. Olmeda’s article, “Homeless No Longer, Thanks to the Salvation Army,” “the Clarkes got a case manager, along with financial and other counseling to teach them how to sustain their independence” and because of the shelter program, this family is no longer homeless. Although Olmeda’s article only discusses the success of one family, C.W. Nevious’s article, “City's Homeless Shelters Clean, Safe, but Shunned When it's Dry,” states that one shelter program’s “retention rate runs above 90 percent”. With the rise in the homeless population and based on the evidence that homeless shelter programs are effective, these programs need to be continued. Laura M. Caruso and Ralph da Costa Nunez’s article, “Are Shelters the Answer to Family Homelessness? (Life in America),” mentions there was a 17% increase (the year 2000) in the homeless population and 22% increase in the year 2001, and that “today in America, over 600,000 families and more than 1,000,000 children are homeless, living in shelters, on the streets, in cars, and on campgrounds,” which proves that the homeless population is indeed growing. This is just added proof that homeless shelter programs are effective in keeping homeless people from becoming homeless again. Sure, homeless programs aren’t entirely eliminating the homeless population, but they are contributing to its reduction. According to Caruso and Nunez’s article, “it is here--in shelters--that the reduction of family homelessness may actually begin”.
While homeless programs shouldn’t be withdrawn because of its importance to helping the homeless, it’s the main source and needs to be managed with strong guidelines. The majority of people won’t help the homeless because of the lack of knowledge about homelessness. This majority believes that the homeless are druggies, alcoholics, and for whatever other reasons, don’t deserve being helped. Wise states in her article that, “Many tax-paying citizens feel that a person brings homelessness upon themselves, but the truth is many people are forced into homelessness and need help for their conditions.” Therefore, this only leaves the shelter programs for help.