APPROXIMATELY 3.5 MILLION AMERICANS WILL EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS AT SOME POINT IN 2015.
Historically, when circumstances took a turn for the worse, the options were bleak – shelters, transitional housing, hospitals, jails, the street.
The dangers of life on the street are self-evident.
Shelters are notoriously horrible – loud, dirty, dangerous, rife with disease and parasites. They also have limited space and often require those seeking admittance to show up hours before they open to reserve a space, only to then kick them out before sunrise.
Transitional housing space, much like shelter space, is often limited. In many cases, the preconditions to gain entry are difficult to attain for people who struggle with addiction or mental illness, or those who lack documentation. Some programs have a narrow focus – offering services only to a specific segment of the population like women, families, or veterans. In short, it’s not easy to get into these programs, and if your lucky enough to make the cut, it’s usually all too easy to fail out and end up back on the street.
The result of these limited and unappealing options is that people become desperate – especially when the weather turns cold, wet, or excessively hot – and they resort to committing minor offenses or admitting themselves to the nearest emergency room. Cycling in and out of the hospital or the criminal justice system is an expensive option, the cost of which falls on the taxpayers.
Across the United States, we are changing the way we respond to homelessness. In recent years, a new model has evolved and we are on the verge of a paradigm shift. Housing First Programs bypass complicated selection and elimination processes and skip right to the important part. They put people who don’t have homes in permanent housing. The long-term success and retention rates for these programs is incredible, hovering right around 90% in most cases. These programs don’t have prerequisites like drug and alcohol rehabilitation or counseling, but the rates of substance abuse are almost identical to programs that do. And the most incredible part?
GIVING HOMELESS PEOPLE PERMANENT HOUSING, COUNSELING, AND THE CARE THAT THEY NEED COSTS LESS THAN LEAVING THEM ON THE STREET.
Take Root Georgia expands upon the concept of the Housing First model and gets to the root of the problem. Not only do we place homeless individuals in permanent housing, but we also provide them with the tools and resources to live their best lives. A roof overhead is a great start, but we also recognize the need for renewed hope, dignity, love, connection, and a sense of belonging. We create genuine communities. And because we believe in a better future for everyone, we build those communities in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way, and we offer residents education, training, and work opportunities in progressive settings, such as urban farms, sustainable development, and farm to table restaurants.
Together, we can build a brighter future for our world, for our country, and for our state of Georgia.
We cordially invite you to join this movement.