Part 2: Getting Ahead of the New Homelessness by 2030

Dr. Alina Turner
February 1, 2024
Delve into 'Getting Ahead of the New Homelessness by 2030 Part 2,' focusing on building sustainable communities and tackling root causes of homelessness with integrated health, economic policies, and community engagement.

Building Sustainable Communities Beyond Housing

“Getting Ahead of the New Homelessness by 2030” goes beyond the traditional focus on housing to address the root causes and broader social issues related to homelessness. Homelessness is more than a lack of physical shelter; it's a symptom of systemic failures in our social fabric. This includes inadequate mental health support, insufficient economic opportunities, and barriers to accessing essential services.

Integrating Health and Economic Policies

The integration of healthcare, mental health services, and economic policies is critical. Improving access to healthcare, particularly specialized and integrated mental and physical health services, can significantly impact the well-being of those experiencing homelessness. Economic policies that create job opportunities and support income stability are vital as technological and macroeconomic changes impact social structures. This integrative approach aims to create a safety net that prevents individuals from falling into homelessness.

The destabilization of middle and lower-income segments has historically accompanied mass societal and economic transformations. Think WW2, The Great Depression, the Industrial Revolution, Black Death - the list goes on. Power holders of the time responded with a consistent combination of punitive and progressive policies to variety. History suggests the relative perception of success depends significantly on prevailing cultural understandings and norms about how it treats its most vulnerable.

The etymology of common terms of these periods gives us a clue: the 30’s hobo, Roman vegabundus, post-COVID’s zombie.

Technological Innovation and Systems Planning

While we might lament the inevitable turn of technological change, this wheel will inevitably continue to spin. What if we leverage this turn in understanding and addressing homelessness rather than observing it?

Case for Change Infographic_2

Innovative social data collection and analysis can inform policy decisions, leading to more effective and targeted interventions. This kind of data is not just for its own sake. Taking this social data and feeding it into systems planning is essential. Systems planning is a strategic approach that looks at a society's entire ecosystem of services and policies. The next step after planning, of course, is solution implementation. When done well, this requires coordinating across different sectors and levels of government to ensure that efforts are not siloed but are part of a cohesive, focused strategy.

Reducing Stigma

Ultimately, building disruption resilience and sustainable communities involves the active participation of said communities. The paper emphasizes the importance of engaging local communities in designing and implementing solutions. This ensures that solutions are grounded in local realities and helps reduce the stigma associated with homelessness. By involving community members, we foster a sense of shared accountability and empathy, which is crucial for sustainable change.


Going forward, our aim should be to build communities where everyone can access the support they need to thrive. This means going beyond providing housing and addressing the underlying social determinants of homelessness. It's about creating a society where homelessness is addressed with a collective effort, innovative thinking, and preventative solutions.

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