Policy analysis and development-Homelessness

Policy analysis and development-Homelessness

Homelessness has emerged as a critical violation of human rights even in States that possess sufficient resources to address it. Experiencing homelessness means one lacks safe, adequate, and stable housing, nor the ability and means of obtaining it. According to the UN-Habitat, homeless people include those living in open spaces or cars, in the streets, temporary emergency accommodation, camps, women’s shelters, or other provisional accommodations provided to refugees, internally displaced persons, or migrants. In addition, persons living in severely insecure and inadequate housing such as informal settlements are also considered homeless. Therefore, rough sleeping on only one way homelessness manifests itself, but not essentially the most frequent one. 

The roots of the homelessness problem can be traced back to the economic changes that were made during the era of the Great Depression. Specifically, the mental health and housing stock policies significantly influenced affordable housing and homelessness in the 1950s (Noren, 2021). During the postwar period, residential hotels and single-room occupancy (SRO) units provided cheap and affordable housing for low-income couples, families, and single adults. According to (Noren 2021), there were approximately 129,000 SRO units throughout New York City in 1960. 

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However, deinstitutionalization affected thousands of mental institution patients who were being discharged from psychiatric hospitals and centers in New York. Failure of the local governments to invest in housing for the discharged patients resulted in them occupying the SROs (Jeantet, 2018). Eventually, the SROs hit their maximum carrying capacity, and the housing stock began to decline. Further, gentrification and changes in property tax policies resulted in the renovations and conversion of SROs, warehouses, and dilapidated buildings into condominiums and higher-cost rental houses, fuelling the housing shortage. 

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