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Correspondent of the Day, June 5, 2021: Only $20 billion needed to end U.S. homelessness

Correspondent of the Day, June 5, 2021: Only $20 billion needed to end U.S. homelessness

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COD letter for Saturday, June 5, 2021

Only $20 billion needed

to end U.S. homelessness

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In modern-day America, homelessness has been the unmentionable epidemic for decades. The number of confirmed homeless persons has reached more than half a million in the United States in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Recently, anti-homeless architecture has been appearing more and more often in public media —  such as spikes under bridges, unnecessary armrests on public benches and even windowsill spikes. Most arguments against increasing support for homelessness include a mention of how expensive it is, or how hard it would be to implement affordable housing.

However in 2020, HUD determined that it would take just short of $20 billion to end homelessness within the U.S. While this can be a staggering amount of money without perspective, it comes out to only 2.7% of the projected 2021 military budget, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Even further, the U.S. Department of Defense made $11.4 billion in payment errors alone. That’s more than half the estimated relief needed to end homelessness, and it was spent as a mistake. With advances in newer, faster and especially cheaper technology, eradicating homelessness could be easier than ever before. Additionally, the rise of three-dimensional or 3D printed housing makes mini-homes cheap, accessible and unbelievably easy to implement in large cities where homelessness is most prevalent. Even just as a high school student, I have had friends lose their homes, been evicted or even kicked out. They were forced to live with their families either on the streets, or with a relative 100 miles from school. Homelessness affects every aspect of the country, especially education and the economy. It's a cycle we can end.

Jacob Smith.



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