Homelessness is one of the central problems in the United States, with Miami-Dade County not being an exception. There are more than 3,600 homeless people in the county, among which 35% are male, 46% have a disability, and 25% have no source of income (“Affordable housing,” 2019). Even though both sheltered and unsheltered individuals indicated their greatest need was housing (“Affordable housing,” 2019), there are other needs that this population has. In Miami-Dade County needs of homeless people hardly differ from those around the world (“Affordable housing,” 2019). Normative needs include adequate sheltering, access to healthcare services, education, affordable housing, and stable income (Bender, Yang, Ferguson, & Thompson, 2015). The comparative needs include psychological help to acquire self-sufficiency and knowledge about available resources (Bender et al., 2015). The felt needs include stability, companionship, and connection, while the expressed needs are food, clothing, raingear, pet food, and personal hygiene items. In short, the needs of homeless people are diverse and complex.
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In human service programs, I believe it is best to address comparative needs. In comparison with the general population, homeless people lack self-efficacy and information about the available resource to change their way of life. Giffords, Alonso, and Bell (2007) confirm the matter in their case study about people transitioning to adulthood. The authors conclude that human service programs are vital for providing “independent resources and skills, empowering [the homeless] to make the difficult transition to self-sufficiency” (Gifford et al., 2007, p. 150). In other words, rather than providing people with their everyday needs, the programs should aim at teaching the homeless about ways to overcome their problems and become self-sustained.
Affordable housing critical to maintaining downward trend of street homelessness in Miami-Dade County. (2019). Web.
Bender, K., Yang, J., Ferguson, K., & Thompson, S. (2015). Experiences and needs of homeless youth with a history of foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 55, 222-231.
Giffords, E., Alonso, C., & Bell, R. (2007). A transitional living program for homeless adolescents: A case study. Child & Youth Care Forum, 36(4), 141–151.