Director's Take

Social Service Responsibility image

Social Service Responsibility


I’ve learned a lot about homeless services, resources, and policies over the last year and a half. And I have to say, I’m not impressed with America. As I look at other countries, mostly European, and understand their social services, I start to also understand the choices that Americans have made.

Social services require taxes to the government to provide those services. Other countries have decided that they are okay with paying higher taxes to allow for more services provided by the government, who can, by the way, deliver them in greater volume therefore offer greater savings to the taxpayer. Ironic, I know.

However, Americans have said they’d rather pay out of pocket for services, looking out only for ourselves and not our greater society, meaning we have fewer tools to help the most fragile among us be healthy or a productive part of society. Our growing homeless population is Exhibit A of this conundrum.

Since the mental health institutions were closed in the 1980s (and not that those were great), we have collectively made an active social choice to not help the poor, mentally ill, disabled, and most fragile in our society. But if we want to live in a truly strong and healthy society, then we do need to help our unhoused populations. We need to spend money on other people besides ourselves to get the help and resources to those in need. As a result, the quality of life will increase, more individuals will have jobs and support themselves, people’s lives will be enriched, and our economy will become stronger. Everyone deserves to be safe and have a chance in this world, and in order to realize this, it will take a public-private partnership to make a meaningful difference.

Loving our city means all of us loving all of us. Hope to see you soon.

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