The Empowerment of a Forgotten Population Open Access
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs identifies shelter (specifically safety and security) as a basic need that motivates people to continue through life. Many Americans are at risk of losing this basic need, yet we continue to stigmatize specific groups of people based on their inability to secure permanent housing. The integration of crisis intervention, resource networking, education, and empowerment into a supportive housing strategy in Washington, DC could reduce chronic homelessness. Homelessness is a major issue that does not receive adequate attention in most cities. As gentrification continues, affordable housing is rapidly declining, placing longtime residents at risk of being displaced. An issue that can’t be overlooked, homelessness contributes to social issues such as crime and violence. There are several stages of homelessness; therefore, multiple approaches must be developed to combat the issue at different points in the cycle. While an intervention may be successful in only one stage of the cycle, it could potentially provide the answers to questions surrounding other stages of homelessness. This thesis will explore the causes of homelessness and only its associated problems. By identifying some of these problems and shedding light on some of the causes of homelessness (and realizing that those issues are present throughout society), this thesis will identify why it is important to create supportive housing and how this type of approach will help end chronic homelessness. To develop a solution to this problem this thesis will use correlational research, observational research, qualitative data and quantitative data to identify the current homeless population, and the potential growth of the population within specific geographic areas. This information will help me identify a site and develop a replicable housing solution that will reduce the number of destitute residents, as well as potentially provide strategies for reducing the homeless population. It has been determined that supportive housing, along with consideration for sustainability and several factors that affect the human psyche, will help end homelessness, which is costly in a small city such as Washington, DC. This thesis will explore supportive housing as one solution to chronic homelessness.
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