What Do the Experts Say?
What Do the Experts Say? According to the San Francisco Examiner, “Many of San Francisco’s homeless are mentally stable, but some are not. As a sanctuary for the mentally ill, the Navigation Centers were designed to help transition these folks into self-sufficiency, employment, and housing. Yet, despite the fact that Navigation Centers has helped thousands of people, many of them with chronic disabilities, there is still a great deal of need.” Unfortunately, in spite of the large support system for the Navigation Centers, many local officials believe that they have had little or no success in reducing overall homelessness or driving down property crime. According to the same report, quoted at the same site, “The success rate for Navigation Centers has been less than 10% in several locations.”
What Do the Experts Say? In an article at the Los Angeles Times, the authors suggest that instead of investing in the Navigation Center as a preventative measure to reduce crime, it might be more effective to invest the same capital in more affordable housing assistance programs, which would then provide housing for those experiencing homelessness. As the author puts it, “There is plenty of opportunity here to make a difference without creating a burden on local taxpayers.” Indeed, there certainly is room to make a difference without creating a burden on local taxpayers. As such, we must remember that it is the local officials who control how much money goes to the Navigation Centers, while we have the opportunity to control how much money goes to housing assistance programs.
What Do the Experts Say? According to the American Society for Psychotherapy and Addiction Studies, “while it is true that the Navigation Centers can provide some short-term respite from the symptoms of mental illness, they do not offer any long term help with substance abuse issues, nor do they offer any treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs.” The same study goes on to point out that “for persons already homeless, [the] options currently available to them do not meet their need for permanent shelter and support.” So, what do the experts say? We have a tremendous opportunity to take a proactive step forward to save lives, to create a better future for our children, and to ensure that our tax dollars are invested in more meaningful ways.