Kent Paredes Scribner
(Courtesy of the Fort Worth ISD)
Are tent cities problems that need to be solved? If so, it makes sense to forcibly evict all of the persons staying there. Who cares if this does not solve their homelessness, and just means they set up camp somewhere else? If, however, they are assets that need to be invested in, than it makes sense to get to know them as individuals, build rapport and trust with them, and connect them to housing.
Are persons experiencing homelessness problems that need to be solved? If so, we view them all as the same, and the focus needs to be getting them off the street, and then “readying” them for housing through traditional lengthy and costly programs. If, however, they are assets that need to be invested in, we need to treat them as individuals, and the focus needs to be on empowering each person with necessary and cost effective tools that fit their situation. In other words, instead of asking, does this person fit our program, we ask, what solutions best match the needs of this person or household, and will end their homelessness quickly and permanently?
The thing is there is nothing new here, after all. It all goes back to the Golden Rule. Do YOU want to be treated as a problem that needs to be solved, or an asset that needs to be invested in? Treat other persons, regardless of their circumstances, background, life choices or luck, the same.