In a stark revelation, new statistics have underscored the profound disparity in homelessness rates between two key states in the United States – California and Florida. Here’s the whole story.
California’s Homelessness Surge
According to research conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, California has witnessed a staggering 45% surge in homelessness from 2013 to 2022.
The numbers paint a distressing picture, with the homeless population climbing from 161,548 in 2020 to a massive 171,512 in 2022.
Significant Reduction in Homelessness
Contrastingly, the situation in Florida tells a different tale. The Sunshine State saw a significant reduction in homelessness, dropping from 27,487 in 2020 to 25,959 in 2022.
What Was the Working Approach?
This marked change has brought attention to the different approaches and policies these states adopt in addressing their homeless crises.
Urgent Attention Required
The disparity in these numbers underscores the severity of the issue on the West Coast. The crisis has become so severe that it’s now classified as a ‘calamity,’ demanding urgent attention and effective solutions.
Governor DeSantis’s Concern
Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has not shied away from highlighting the homeless problem, particularly in San Francisco.
Linking San Francisco’s Woes to “Leftist Policies”
In a campaign video posted online in June, he decried the deterioration of the once-great city, attributing its decline to what he termed as “leftist policies.”
Governor DeSantis expressed shock at witnessing people defecating in the streets, using heroin, and smoking crack cocaine.
Miguel Carranza Challenges DeSantis’s Approach
However, his strong stance faced criticism from Miguel Carranza, the lead organizer at the Coalition of Homelessness, a charitable organization.
Carranza Emphasizes Resilience of Those on the Streets
Carranza, who has personal experience of homelessness, having endured it for ten years, spoke of the challenges faced by those on the streets.
He emphasized the importance of recognizing the resilience and potential of individuals who have faced adversity.
Humanizing the Issue
Carranza stated, “When you suffer so much, when you pass through so much, when you’ve been treated really, really badly, when you have these skills and these opportunities, and everywhere you go, everybody is closing your doors. But when you have one door open, and that door is open, is when you really know what you have inside your heart, what you really want to do.”
Jennifer Friedenbach Calls for Dignity and Empathy
Jennifer Friedenbach, the Director of the Coalition of Homelessness, echoed Carranza’s sentiments and criticized DeSantis’s video.
Beyond Political Grandstanding
She emphasized the need for action over political grandstanding, stressing that individuals experiencing homelessness deserve dignity and empathy.
Friedenbach Points to Systemic Issues and the Need for Federal Intervention
Friedenbach remarked, “I’m not that interested in political stunts. These are human beings that we’re talking about. They’re not pieces of trash in the way that they’ve been referred to, and they deserve dignity. We’ve been pushing the state, and we need the Federal government to step in because the reality is that none of these presidents, Republican or Democrat for many, many decades have really seriously addressed this problem that we have in the United States.”
The Deep-Rooted Challenges of Homelessness in the United States
This contrasting situation between California and Florida reflects the stark realities faced by the homeless. It underscores the importance of policies and actions taken by state leadership.
As the crisis continues to unfold, the nation watches, hoping for substantive change that will address the deep-rooted challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness.
The post The Human Face of Homelessness – Advocates Call for Dignity and Empathy first appeared on Thrifty Guardian.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / SeventyFour. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.