Everyday, more and more Americans are being evicted from their homes. According to the Public Policy Institute of America, “In California alone, there were over 130,000 homeless just last year” (Mejia & Hsieh). In 2017, the town of Beaumont alone had 2,406 counted homeless (Schiavone). Which for the size of the town is significantly larger than it should be. This begs the question, why is the homeless population in the county of Riverside so high? Hopefully this paper will be able to answer that question, as well as finding potential solutions to the problems of homelessness in Beaumont.
There are multiple factors that lead to homeless, from lack of education, to mental and physical health. Johnetta Hardin and her partner Diane Wille from the University of Indiana found that lack of education leads to a lack of a well paying job. They also found that mental illness in the homeless population averages sixty percent in the group they interviewed. (36) Mental illness is shown to be the leading cause of homelessness. However, harsher problems, such as addiction, are also some of the more common sources. Because of the cost associated with drugs, addiction can lead to debt which can result in loss of employment and transportation, which in turn leads to loss of a home, amongst other things.
Shelters are not as available as your local Starbucks, but they are still around the surrounding area. So why do we have homeless still sleeping on the streets? It turns out it is actually more difficult to get into a homeless shelter than it appears. To start off, the nearest shelter to Beaumont is in Hemet which is about a thirty-five minute drive. Second, women and children are prioritized in entry for most shelters. With only a limited number of space, it increases the chances of not gaining entry if you’re a male. Additionally, if you fail to get into a shelter a couple nights in a row, what would be the point of returning? Many shelters require a clean drug test to enter and if your are under the influence in any way, they do not admit you. A significant amount of those with mental health issues often turn to illegal drugs to self medicate. This makes it difficult for many people to gain access to shelters that are designed to rehome many of the people who are living on the street. And being that addiction is one of the highest causes of homelessness, it makes sense that there is such a high number of homeless on the streets (Hardin & Wille 37).
There are many theories on how we can lower and even potentially solve the homeless problem. Even though Beaumont is not the largest city in Riverside County, it is still fairly populated. Beaumont also has a large amount of open land available. The solution that I am proposing is one that can hopefully aid in many of the problems homeless have today. Having a rehabilitation center for the people in need of it. A center that can help in solving drug addictions, financial issues, and even find alternate solutions for the mentally ill.
According to the county of Riverside’s website, the County Supervisor for Beaumont receives $5.6 billion dollars a year to finance the county (“About the County”). If the Supervisor was able to dedicate 2% of that money, it would be enough to finance the construction of buildings and hire trained professionals to aid these individuals. The center would not only help with addictions, but it would also focus on helping families get jobs and teaching them how to properly finance their money. This center can provide mental health therapy, as well as an AA – NA meetings for addicts. These meetings can meet once or twice a week for a certain amount of months/years.
Not only would there be a center for them to meet but there would also be a tiny home style community. The benefits of tiny homes is that they are cheap and do not take up a lot of space while still providing some sort of shelter. According to Deirdre Sullivan, a reporter in New York that covers home design and improvement, the average tiny home can cost as low as $12,000. (5) These homes come built standard with a working bathroom and shower, as well as a fully functioning kitchen and bed. Although they are smaller in size, the tiny home would be a fantastic starter home for people who don’t even have one. It is also beneficial because of the different sizes. If you are a family of four, you can have a bigger tiny home than say someone who is on their own or has a spouse.
Because of the cheaper costs of these homes, it gives the opportunity to provide more of them. If you were to have a plot with sixteen tiny homes, it would cost roughly $192,000, which is almost the price of a modern four bedroom home. These cost effective housing units provide a place and job for the new found dwellers, that of course being the upkeep of their new home. This will slowly help the individual integrate overtime into our community. What’s great about this solution is that it does not stop with the housing. It would also be a cooperative style of living. It would be a way to create jobs within the community. One of the new tenants could grow fruit, another veggies. There could even be one who watches the children when their parents are out working or finding a job.
It is a huge task to try and solve homelessness and help the needy. I am not trying to find a solution to homelessness as a whole. I am merely trying to propose an alternative that would help keep individuals off the street and maybe help cure them of an addiction. Or aid families in financial need. Maybe even finding the proper care for people with illnesses, both mental and physical.
Hardin, Johnetta, and Diane E. Wille. “The Homeless Individua’s Viewpoint: Causes of Homelessness and Resources Needed to Leave the Sheltered Environment.” Social Work & Social Sciences Review, vol. 19, no. 2, May 2017, pp. 33–48. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=sih&AN=126500977&site=ehost-live.
I chose this article because it goes into major detail about the reasons people go homeless. As well as not just men, but women and families. Eviction, loss of job, natural disaster, it is all covered in this article. This article will be one of my opening points in the essay about the reasons people end up homeless. Both positive and negative. The authors are reliable because both contain PHDs In Social Studies and are widely known in Indiana for their studies on the homeless. This article is also peer reviewed.
Brown, Molly, et al. “Waiting for Shelter: Perspectives on a Homeless Shelter’s Procedures.” Journal of Community Psychology, vol. 45, no. 7, Sept. 2017, pp. 846–858. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/jcop.21896,
This article dives into the shelters and everything about them. How they run, the requirements for entering, the time you’re able to stay in one, ect. This article also describes how difficult it is to get into a homeless shelter. Which I will be using as one of my main points in how to combat homelessness. This article was composed by a number of different authors with multiple degrees in their respective fields. The authors came together to create this study, using their talents in their field, to give a thurow review of homeless shelters and their advantages/disadvantages. This article is peer reviewed
“About the County.” County of Riverside, 19 February 2019, countyofriverside.us/AbouttheCounty/BudgetandFinancialInformation.aspx.
This is the official Riverside County page. It describes the county representatives, as well as all of the budgeting. I’m going to be referencing the amount of mo available for the district of Beaumont. This is a credible source because it comes directly from the main office of the county and is an official government site.
Schiavone, Renee. “Banning, Beaumont Homeless Population Count: Volunteers Needed.” Banning-Beaumont, CA Patch, Patch, 22 Dec. 2017, patch.com/california/banning-beaumont/banning-beaumont-homeless-population-count-volunteers-needed.
This article puts numbers to the homeless specifically in Beaumont. It describes the amount of homeless and how many were sheltered and how many were not. The author also describes minor ways to improve homelessness in the Beaumont/ Banning area. This author I believe is a credible source because she is a local journalist who focuses on environmental problems around the Riverside county area.
Mejia, Marisol Cuellar, and Vicki Hsieh. “A Snapshot of Homelessness in California.” Public Policy Institute of California , Third Strand, 19 Feb. 2019, http://www.ppic.org/blog/a-snapshot-of-homelessness-in-california/.
This article gives a more focused numbers and statistics on homeless in California as a whole. It shows the specific numbers in change of homeless population in all the major counties. I will use this source to state the number of homeless in California and The county of Riverside. The is a credible source because this article is from the Public Policy Institute of California. It is a reliable source for general and specific information about California. From water policy to education, ect.
Sullivan, Deirdre. “How Much Does a Tiny House Really Cost?” The Spruce, 6 May 2019, http://www.thespruce.com/how-much-does-a-tiny-house-cost-4139914.
This Article describes the costs and benefits of living in a “tiny home”. It describes the cost of a tiny home and all the amenities built into the said home. The reason I chose this article was because I am going to use its information and facts as apart of my solution to the problem of homelessness in my town and potentially many others. The author is a credible source because she is a journalist from New York who focuses on house design and construction.