Nationally Harris county and Houston of Texas are considered the USA in miniature as is found within it,s homeless population all races of the USA, the most diversified homeless community in America unlike in many other states and cities where they may be predominantly White, Black, Brown, Asians, Hispanics, Latinos, American Indians, and others.
Homelessness means different things to different people at different times in many places and countries and all nations and all cities in the world have some form of homelessness.
The new definition of Homelessness by HUD has four categories including, people living a place not meant for human habitation, in emergency shelters, in transitional housing, or are exiting an institution where they temporarily resided like prisons or jails.
Many hide their homeless population in the jails by rounding them up in the prisons behind bars. Some cities create homeless communities with shelters and social institutions to cater to the homeless like Skid Row in Los Angeles California. Homeless people are mostly considered a nuisance in society as they sleep in libraries, public parks, under bridges, in metro buses, trains, on roadsides, inside abandoned buildings most of which are considered unsafe for habitation by city leadership, county, and state and panhandle downtown and by the roadside of major streets
. Many have no respect for the homeless considering them lazy, alcoholics, drug addicts, and prostitutes.
Health care for the homeless is one of the social programs that cater to the health needs of the Homeless population in Harris County and Houston.
During the COVID19 pandemic, the homeless population is considered one of the high risk or vulnerable populations who are also expected to respect the stay at home orders as part of COVID 19 prevention without homes to go to or stay in.
The city of Houston and Harris County have worked tirelessly during the Covid19 pandemic season to temporarily House many Homeless people in hotels, some of the rooms reserved for COVID 19 homeless population isolation and or quarantine.
In trying to find a permanent solution to Homelessness in Houston and Harris county, Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston and the Harris County Judge Hildago have announced a $65 million homeless initiative partnership, a form of Public-Private partnership or PPP to provide housing for the Homeless.
The announcement took place on the 7/1/2020in the city of Houston Gallery room during a press conference with speakers including Mayor Turner, Judge Hildago, county Commissioners Elis, and Garcia, head of the City of Houston homeless office and, president of the Houston Coalition of the Homeless.
The speakers, in answering questions from Dr. Akwo Thompson Ntuba related to the multifactorial causes of Homelessness, how to deal with those who enjoy living outside as a way of life and how much of the money will end up in administrative cost, agreed that mental services, addiction treatment, criminal justice programming, jobs, retraining for placement for those homeless because of loss of jobs, reentry for those associated with the criminal justice system, domestic abuse victims and related causes of Homelessness will be factored in the initiative.
Judge Hildago and Mayor Turner invited the business private sector to come on board and contribute as partners in the initiative that will be mostly run by the Coalition of the Homeless and house more than fifteen thousand more Homeless people.
Dr. Akwo Thompson Ntuba