The Solution

30 Mar
The key to reducing homelessness and panhandling in our community is through addiction recovery and mental health recovery. You can put someone in an apartment, and then next year you’ll be helping that same person when they are homeless again if they didn’t treat the root causes. You can get someone a job, and six months later you’ll be helping that same person when they are unemployed again if they didn’t treat the root causes.
Addiction and mental health recovery is more than stopping the use of drugs and alcohol and its more than taking psych meds. It involves developing skills in life manageability and addressing the trauma that created the mental health issues and the need to self-medicate (numb) through the use of substances (or other non substance addictions).
Places like the Northampton Recovery Center and the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community can do more to help reduce homelessness and the panhandling in our community through supporting recovery than can be done through social workers whose goal is to get you a job or a place to sleep and then they walk away and wait for you to fail, so they can maintain their job security by helping you over and over.
It’s basically this. Social workers will give you a fish. Recovery teaches you how to fish.
The same is true for crime reduction in general. If there were more support for recovery, you would find less crimes downtown like vandalism, shoplifting, and fighting. In these cases, we tend to solve the problem by putting them in jail. But then they come back out and we put them back in jail again when they repeat. Again, this is great job security for the police and jails, but if we really want the problem to be alleviated, it’s recovery that will teach people a better way to live their lives and a better ways to behave. They will learn the life manageability skills and overcome the trauma that puts them in the situations that lead them to crime.

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