Utah's fight against chronic homelessness initially began back in 2003, yet actually had surged ever since the early 1970s. Costs regarding this were also soaring as well. A study from the University of Pennsylvania had also showed that New York City was spending approximately $40,500 annually on each homeless person who was dealing with mental issues. From there, a solution was developed: provide homes to those who need them the most.
It was shown that this solution not only would greatly reduce the number of chronic homeless on the streets, but it would also drastically cut spending as well. Many who heard this solution described how much it made sense to them, and were asked if they would be willing to go to Utah to work with those involved to help make it a reality.
More than ten years later, chronic homelessness may soon come to an end in the state of Utah, which is considered to be perhaps one of the most conservative states in the entire nation. Back in 2005, the state recorded nearly 1,932 homeless people, and by the time 2014 came around, that number dropped to 539 – a whole 72%. Gordon Walker, Utah's Director of Housing and Community Development Division, states that Utah is approaching a “functional zero” because of this plan that has been implemented. He also announced that more exciting news would be announced soon that would generate an even larger headline, but refused to elaborate any further on what that may involve.
The initial thought of giving homes to homeless people was quite absurd due to the fact that a lot of them victims of serious trauma and issues involving addiction and mental health. Thousands more have spend countless nights on the streets and aren't familiar with living in an actual home anymore. However, the general consensus in Utah was that if you want to end homelessness, then you have to put a homeless person in a home.
At Art From The Streets, we're all about finding different solutions to homelessness. We just specify in art. To learn more about our mission, visit our website at www.artfromthestreets.org