For more than a decade now, the homeless have been visible on the streets of U.S. cities, and the problem persists despite most Americans' desire to get them help. Low-cost housing, often presented as the solution, would help the homeless who are just down on their luck. But most homeless individuals have one or more serious disabilities—disabilities that, in fact, may be part of the reason they're homeless. For them, housing alone would be far from enough.
Housing Now! That was the cry of tens of thousands of people who marched on Washington one day last October to demand that the federal government act to end what they passionately regard as a national disgrace—the plight of the homeless in affluent America.
Most Americans generally agree with the demonstrators. They want to help the homeless, too. A Gallup Poll that same month indicated that nearly 60 percent of the public favored increased government spending on programs for the homeless, even if it meant higher taxes. And when higher taxes weren't mentioned, the percentage favoring more government spending on programs for the homeless increased to 71.
Widespread homelessness has been evident in America's cities now for more than a decade. No one really knows for sure exactly how many hundreds of thousands of homeless people there are but, despite all efforts to help them, their number has apparently continued to grow.