To many, the homeless are an unsightly blot that should be kept out of sight. But the homeless will always be with us, so we need to find another approach to them.
The principal causes of people drifting into homelessness are:
While many have the same issues, yet still find ways of keeping housed and fed, there is always a percentage for which the stressors are just too much, and send them reeling. There is just no way there won't be many in society who cannot cope. The old lower end of the statistical Bell curve! So, instead of trying to blame them, perhaps it is better to find a way to cater for them that helps them keep safe and fed, while allowing the rest of us to enjoy the stresses of our lives.
For most homeless, they only have a few possessions, so don't occupy too much space, as we have seen in their tent cities. Perhaps we can repurpose a lot of the current parking and office space that has been freed up due to more people working from home to be refitted for mass compact accommodation. For those who are living simply, a few square metres may be enough for them to feel safe.
Besides that, there is the food they need, and that can be simple, but still provide enough nutrition. The mass accommodation could provide such meals through economies of scale. Overall, the overhead per person on government expenditure would be minimal, compared to the full-service maintenance of trying to keep them in individual housing and employment. Many of these people need space to sort themselves out, and many may never break out of it. Placing societal expectations on them will not help any of them.
There will be some who many may think too many will take advantage of the free accommodation and food, but if they are willing to take up minimal individual space and food, then what is the problem? It will take a lot of pressure off the rental market, leaving more for those who want a home for their family and possessions.
It is interesting to see Finland's approach to homelessness that inverted the conventional thinking of relying upon people to solve their problems first into providing the housing first so that they had a stable environment with which to get their life together. The statistics showed that the participants improved their circumstances faster and at lower cost than the previous programs.
Sometimes solutions are about letting go of unrealistic expectations, doing what is really required, and just get on with our own lives.