The only way we’re ever going to solve homelessness is by giving free housing to homeless people.
Not cots in homeless shelters. Not beds in domestic violence shelters. Real, actual, permanent housing, with a door they can lock and the freedom to come and go as they please.
It seems like a stupidly simple solution to an incredibly complicated problem, but this is the only way we’re ever going to end homelessness for good. Everything we’re doing right now is like flinging thimbles of water onto a house fire, and it’s time to call the fire department. Don’t believe me? Consider that:
Providing free housing is actually cheaper than what we’re doing right now. Even when you factor in the cost of having round-the-clock mental health staff on hand in housing facilities, giving the homeless housing costs about one-third as much as leaving them on the streets. How is that possible? People who sleep on the streets go to the hospital a whole lot more than anyone else. Being homeless is hard on your health - you are more likely to be assaulted, experience frostbite or heatstroke, or fail to manage a medical condition like diabetes. Homeless people are also more likely to get arrested for minor things like public urination or loitering, and it’s hugely expensive to arrest them, process them, put them in prison and put them through court dates. We save so much money and eliminate so many problems by just giving them somewhere to live.
It’s extremely difficult to get a job when you don’t have an address. There’s a huge amount of prejudice against homeless people, and the same people who shout “get a job!” are the first to toss someone’s application in the trash as soon as they see “no fixed address”. Having an address also makes it easier to vote, open a bank account, keep up with your taxes and obey the terms of your probation.
Homeless people waste a lot of time standing in line for shelters and services. Shelters have limited space available, and if you want to make sure you have a bed for the night, you need to be there long before the doors open. The same thing applies to soup kitchens. When your whole life revolves around being in line for vital services for hours on end, it’s hard to make much progress in getting your life together. Providing people with housing gives them more time and more flexibility to return to school, find jobs, or reconnect with family.
It’s virtually impossible to manage a mental health condition or recover from addiction when you have no permanent housing. It’s just not going to happen. Recovering from a mental health issue requires stability, routine and a safe place to retreat to, which are impossible when you live on the streets. Living rough makes it extremely difficult to show up to appointments, hang on to your prescription medications and avoid trauma. It’s more efficient for everyone involved to provide housing to the mentally ill first, and bring mental health services right to their doors.
It’s hard to make much progress in life when you can’t accumulate possessions. Think about how hard your life would be if you had no safe place to store your things. When you’re homeless and sleeping in shelters, you can only keep as much stuff as you can carry with you, and most of your energy is going to go towards keeping that stuff safe. You can’t take advantage of clothing drives, because you can’t carry too many clothes. You eat a lot of fast food, because you have nowhere to store or prepare groceries. Showing up to appointments, interviews or shifts is difficult, because you have to lug everything you own with you to ensure nothing is stolen. Having a room with a lock changes everything.
It keeps children out of the foster system. Ending up on the streets often means losing your children - if you can’t provide children with a stable home, that’s grounds to take them away. Families fleeing domestic violence can find themselves re-traumatized when children are placed in foster care due to inadequate housing. Providing stable housing allows families to stay together and minimizes trauma for children and parents, as well as foster care costs.
It preserves basic human dignity. It’s hard for most of us to imagine how humiliating and dehumanizing it is to be homeless. Imagine not having access to regular showers, or even toilets. Having nowhere to clean your laundry. Having your schedule dictated by a homeless shelter. Sleeping in rooms with dozens or hundreds of other people, with absolutely no privacy. Being chased out of businesses and public places. Enduring the crushing boredom of having nowhere to go. Being treated as less than human. It’s impossible to maintain hope and dignity in those conditions, and no human being should have to endure that.
We live in a society that treats housing like something you have to “earn” by proving yourself worthy of it, and that toxic thinking has put us in a position where we’re literally willing to spend more money to have people sleeping in the streets. It has to stop. Housing is a bare minimum requirement for human dignity, and it should be a human right. Everyone deserves a safe and private space of their own, regardless of their abilities, mental health or circumstances. No one is asking for luxury condos here - dorm-style settings with private rooms and shared bathroom and kitchen facilities have proven to be effective. This isn’t about who “deserves” housing; if you are a human being, you deserve a safe place to call home.
“Hank, so I’ve been studying the maps and why haven’t we invaded this Earth yet?”
“No, you want to stay away from Earth, Bob.”
“What do you mean. These hoomans are very primitive. It’s the only planet in that area that we haven’t conquered.”
“Humans. Hey, you don’t want to mess with those.”
“I don’t get it.”
“You should talk to Dave.”
“Dave? Dave from accounting Dave?”
“Yep. He was there.”
“What? On Earth? Why is he in accounting?”
“You should ask him that.”
“Dave? I’ve heard you’ve been to Earth…”
“Has Hank sent you? He always does this. Sends the newbies to me. To explain why Earth is off limits.”
“I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. The humans are very primitive and…”
“Primitive they are yes, but they are fearless, man. They drink poison, eat poison, inhale poison-”
“You mean like soldiers in training?”
“I mean everybody. Sometimes even their young ones. Sometimes it’s encouraged in their young ones. We think they’re trying to build up immunity from a young age. But that’s not the worst. No. They seek situations where they could die. They jump off cliffs and bridges with nothing but a thin rope tied around them, they jump out of aircrafts with nothing but a bag on their back, they try to get close to a natural predator every opportunity they have. All of it with absolutely no regard to the danger. I mean they’re also beating each other for fun. They get their bodies broken, but do those things again and again.”
“So they’re fearless, I still don’t see why we couldn’t beat them.”
“That’s because I haven’t gotten to the worst part. Okay, so we were supposed to get a specimen for observation. We got one, sedated and all that according to the protocol. We start the standard examinations and that’s when we find out that it’s bleeding. Nothing we did, it had this hole on its body and it was actively bleeding. But all the vitals seemed fine, the only thing we saw was that it was in a huge amount of pain. So we finished and let it go to observe it further. We left the sensors in to see any changes. And man, it did nothing. We let the human go and it just walks around like nothing is happening all the while we can see it’s still bleeding and in pain. And I’m talking off charts pain. So we sent the readings to HQ and they told us to get out of there, don’t engage, if attacked start peace negotiations. Nobody’s been allowed to come near Earth ever again. I mean, it messed me so much I asked for an office job because I couldn’t do missions anymore.”
In the days after Team Voltron and the Garrison freed Earth from the Galra Empire, there were many memorials to those lost and celebration of the planet’s liberation. At night, Shiro and Keith could see the fireworks from Keith’s room window.
So I was thinking today about how almost everyone in ME wears translators (not just for talking with aliens)… And about how some words just don’t translate.
What I want to consider is words that don’t translate well into one Earth language, but do in at least one other.
So whichever alien word might not come across in English, but when translated into Swahili or Chinese or German… And vice versa, aliens getting the best overall understanding from translating someone speaking Hebrew or maybe Tagalog.
Anyways, that’s what I’m interested in, and I hope you’re all having a nice day.
Ask Ethan: What does the edge of the Universe look like?
“If the universe is finite in volume, then is there a boundary? Is it approachable? And what might the view in that direction be?”
When we look at the nearby Universe, it looks a lot like we, ourselves, appear. Nearby galaxies are similar in structure to our own; the stars inside them have the same properties, masses, ages and distributions as our own. But as we look to greater and greater cosmic distances, we find that more distant galaxies appear younger, bluer, smaller, and less evolved. If we go back beyond a certain point, there are no more galaxies at all. What’s going on? Does this mean that, if we go back far enough, there’s an edge to the Universe? And if so, what does that mean? What lies beyond it? And what would someone living on that edge see and perceive? It turns out that there is a boundary to our Universe, but not in space.