Reduce Emergency Response

Reduce Emergency Response
As soon as someone sees these three words they most likely immediately say ‘No, we cannot reduce emergency response. How can anyone think of reducing emergency response, we need to have more emergency response. Well, that all depends on what you are talking about. We certainly do not want police and fire responding less to emergencies. In fact most citizens want more response from police and fire, not less.

When we are talking about the homeless situation we are talking about something totally different when we say reduce emergency response. The following chart will bring clarification. After looking at the chart I think almost everyone would say ‘lets reduce emergency response.When talking about Emergency Response regarding the homeless we are talking about having to deal with the end results of the homeless problem: addiction & crime problem; loitering, littering, panhandling; medical services because of overdoses; emergency shelters, etc.

Would it not be wiser to spend more funds on preventing homelessness and providing accommodations and support to help individuals getting out of being homeless than spending money dealing with the consequences from having people homeless?

Spending funds to feed, clothe, and provide medical and dental services to the homeless has its place and is an ethical thing to do. Homeless shelters are important. We certainly want the police to deal with the issues that come from some people being homeless. However, as a society we need to move away from an, at times, over-emphasis in emergency response. We need to become more proactive. We need to look at more long term solutions instead of having a band-aid approach to the homeless situation.

Sadly some agencies profit in the emergency response of dealing with the homeless situation. Their profits become more important than having more effective strategies. At times some people are more concerned about finding ways to relieve their guilt than if what they do is effective.

There certainly is a place for feeding and clothing programs, homeless shelters, and the police dealing with loitering, panhandling, and crime. Notice the chart does not do away with Emergency Response. But what would happen if more money was spent helping those who want to no longer be homeless, than helping those who don’t mind being homeless? Maybe there needs to be more stipulations for individuals to receive free services. Thus less money spent on those who do not want help and more money spent on those who do want help. Something to think about.

Now some will jump on the bandwagon and say, ‘see we should not feed and clothe the homeless, unless….’. Those who jump on that bandwagon don’t fully understand the homeless problem and how to help the homeless. It is critical that a homeless person has some kind of hope or they will not change. Feeding, clothing, and providing medical treatment help to bring a person to a place of hope. To a place of wanting to change. Writing off the homeless does not solve the homeless problem. In another post we will talk about The Homeless and Hope.

P.S. We could take away ALL funds from emergency response and apply it to prevention/accommodations/support and there would not be enough money to solve the homeless problem. Why? Because first off homelessness is not just a financial issue. There is an emotional, mental, spiritual component to homelessness. Money cannot fix all those things.

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