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Solving Homelessness with Rental Vouchers
Temporary efforts to alleviate homelessness are not doing enough. We must shift our focus towards permanent solutions.
Many of the efforts we see in Sonoma County and all around the country have focused on providing temporary housing solutions. This has proved to be relatively ineffective, as this leaves more room for people to end up back on the streets. According to Andrew Henning at Opening Doors Marin, 94% of the 416 people utilizing Rent Voucher services through Opening Doors have stayed housed and off the streets. Rental Vouchers require tenants to pay 30% of their income in rent, and the voucher covers the rest. As they are better able to get back on their feet, tennants eventually begin paying the full amount of the rent. Permanent housing efforts such as the one exemplified by Opening Doors Marin have proven to be one of the most long-term solutions to homelessness. Sonoma County has already begun implementing this strategy in some areas, and we must continue to implement it in all the other areas if we want the most effective solution possible. It will be costly, but it is achievable if we completely reshift all of our mental, physical and financial efforts from temporary to permanent housing. 74.4 billion dollars of California’s budget are being allocated to homelessness efforts, and the organizations who receive this money would be wise to funnel it into Rent Vouchers and permanent housing.