Homeless life is a hard, hard slog. You’re always hungry, you’re always tired and society always thinks the worst of you. I used drugs and alcohol to self-medicate against my mental illness, which no doubt caused people to write me off as a drunken bum who chose a bottle over a better life. But the life I lived is one no one in their right mind would ever choose. Homelessness can, in fact, feel like a waking nightmare.
The thing is, absent serious addictions or mental health problems, there are, to any realistic statistical value, no long term homeless.
Even if you want to pump up the problem there are two distinct populations. Those above, then a series – you can argue about whether it’s a trickle or a flood – of those transiently sleeping rough. This second group we do have the systems to aid and we do aid them.
It being fairly important to distinguish, because there simple provision – as we do – of housing deals with the transients rather well. This other group aren’t and won’t be aided by the simple provision of housing.