How Do You Help Homeless People Who Won’t Accept Help?

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Listener Question:
“When social workers and police poll the homeless people in my town 60% of them say they don’t want any assistance. But the amount of garbage, human waste, needles in downtown and residential areas keep increasing. How do we help those that haven’t decided they need a solution?”

Call in and leave a voicemail any time, day or night: 844-477-PUNK (7865)
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Or on social media @Fixerpunk on Instagram and TikTok and @GreysonNation on Twitter


Get The Latest Insights First

– Unhoused People don’t trust the system and hence cannot rely on promises of help, or just won’t even engage because they have been burned so many times
– Flaws with survey methodologies
– Current services and shelters are so bad they’d rather stay on the street
– Crime and drug infested, unsanitary facilities
– There are peer networks among unhoused people – just like you’d tell your friend if a restaurant was bad or good, word gets out
– Prior episode on the Montana county that got upset by how resourceful homeless people are:
– Street clean-ups, missing items, developing a community, being near resources
– Housing First means unconditional permanent housing with supportive services, not requiring getting sober, mental health treatment, a job, etc. as a precondition, but making the help available
– Giving help and housing without preconditions builds trust
– Law enforcement is especially not trusted by homeless people and even generally with attorneys and civil rights experts advising not to talk to the police
– Lots of negative reviews of “community mental health centers” with overworked, underpaid providers
– Treatment services are often poor quality and punitive Would you want to get services in that way?
– Friendship Shelter success story of getting someone who has been homeless since 1974 into housing
– Santa Clara study on most severe cases of hardest-to-treat homeless with mental illness and/or health problems (UCSF). The results of the intervention were extraordinary: housing-first-not-housing-only
– Implementation makes a big difference – Houston vs. San Diego
– Houston reorganized all its resources towards Housing First and succeeded
– 10 year wait times in San Diego for housing
– Some feel guilty about getting help
– Lots and lots of past trauma
– Housing first but not housing only
– Housing First was designed as an intervention for mental health patients in NY by Sam Tsemberis, a clinical psychologist
– He stated “If you run the program well…you will have an 80 or even 90% success…”
– Rebuilding trust is a long process
– Today’s nuisance is tomorrow’s champion
– Peer support workers with lived experience being a part of the team and shared governance can help
– There will be a small group remaining but that is inconsequential until we have the resources in place to help even the majority of them
– We then need to hold them accountable in a restorative way, if they are causing harm. Otherwise, people have freedom and can make choices.
– The major importance of Harm Reduction
– Keeping streets clean and safe doesn’t have to wait as we build trust and transition people to housing

Call In with your comment, rant, or problem you’d like me to discuss on the show: 844-477-PUNK (7865)

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This content is for entertainment and general informational purposes only. We do not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of the information herein. The viewer should not rely solely upon such and consult a competent professional before deciding to follow any course of action.

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