Read last blog if you haven’t – then return here!
About the underfunding: Homeless people are probably the least valued members of society and when something is not valued, very little money is steered in that direction. Homeless services are vastly underfunded due to this. Whether the government sees the value or not, public sentiment ultimately determines where the money goes. I guess this could be debated in many cases (ie gun laws), but I think the stigma against the homeless (and mentally ill) is so strong that it has enough power to steer the funding.
What does this mean for the quality of the services provided? You guessed it – they are grossly inadequate. The people providing support and mental health services to the most mentally ill population are the people with the least experience or qualifications. Trust me, I do the hiring around here and it is slim pickings due to the amount that we can afford to pay. The clinicians working directly with the clients are generally right out of school or have struggled to find jobs in more high paying mental health fields (which means they just aren’t as good) and, as I said, they are working with our most mentally ill citizens!
This is a recipe for disaster– and I think we see some of this disaster presenting itself in the form of mass shootings.