Deborah is homeless in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. At the time of this interview, she has been sleeping outside for three months.
Deborah received a 28 voucher for a homeless shelter. She was to go into housing, but like in most communities, there is never enough housing so the whole system bottlenecks. Deborah is disabled, and apartments wanted more rent than her disability check. The shelter extended Deborah’s stay, but then she was exited back to homelessness.
If Deborah’s story sounds confusing, that’s the social services system. The homeless sector does not make it easy for people to get out of homelessness. It’s a dead-end referral after dead-end referral. The bureaucracy is maddening. Homeless people often don’t have resources like a phone or transportation to navigate the broken system and on top of that, people have to carry all their belonging everywhere they go.
The bottom line is Deborah is disabled and cannot work. As taxpayers, we pay huge money for each homeless person that sleeps outside. Housing saves lives and saves taxpayer money – your money. The broken social services system that works against homeless people like Deborah, is expensive. We have to fix the broken homeless services system and we have to create more affordable housing or we’ll never end homelessness!
Your voice can help end homelessness. If we do not fix the affordable housing crisis, homelessness will continue to get worse. Click here to tweet, email, call, or Facebook your federal and state legislators to tell them ending homelessness and creating more affordable housing is a priority to you.