Taylor Timms – Homelessness in Tempe According to the Homelessness in Arizona 2011 Annual Report there were 25,000 individuals who experiences homelessness in 2011 (Homelessness in Arizona 2011 Annual Report, pg. 3). I personally, along with other students and faculty of Arizona State University, take the valley light rail to campus every day to class and often at night. As a result, we have become accustomed to seeing and interacting with the homeless community; whether by choice or they [homeless individuals] come(s) up to us.
I have nothing personally against the homeless but they do create hostility and ause students such as myself to feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Another thing that can come into play when dealing with the homeless people of Tempe is the fact that they travel on the light rail from all over the valley. We as a community are exposed to so many different people, who are homeless for different reasons. An issue I have myself encountered is that there are a lot of intoxicated homeless people around campus and near the light rail, asking for money or simply harassing us students.
Someone could say to Just ignore them or to call the police but I feel as if something an be done to one, lessen the amount of homeless in Tempe, and two, prevent further homeless individuals from venturing to Tempe. I think that ASU should find a way to end homelessness in Tempe because it will be beneficial for the campus, students, faculty, and campus safety. Going into more depth on the homeless problem in Arizona, According to the 2010 U. S. Census, “Arizona’s population has grown to 6,392,017 and one of every 250 Arizonans experienced homelessness in 2011 . (Homelessness in Arizona 2011 Annual Report, pg. 10) Maricopa County, where Tempe is located, is home to 58% of the state’s population (Homelessness in Arizona 2011 Annual Report, pg. 12) In addition to this high rate of homelessness, the majority of homeless individuals suffer from some sort of mental illness or substance abuse. For example, veterans account for over 20% of the homeless population, and one in every five veterans suffer from PTSD (Homelessness in Arizona 2011 Annual Report, pg. 7).
What I’m trying to illustrate is that there is a large number of homeless individuals accounted for in the city of Tempe. Also, the majority of the homeless uffer from illness. As a result, they could possibly pose a threat to citizens, such as violent acts and crime. Although high, I feel as if the homeless “problem” in Tempe could easily be resolved. There is already awareness of the issue but it is going to take some action. There have been project in the past that have been created to end homelessness; such as AZCEH (Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness), who leads the state in its efforts.
AZCEH works with local communities to observe policies that affect the homeless community provide information about homelessness at conferences in he state and organizes initiatives to end homelessness. (Homelessness in Arizona 2011 Annual Report, pg. 13) I feel as if this is a great organization and it brings awareness to Arizonians about homelessness. Sara James of the State Press interviewed Tempe’s Homeless Coordinator Theresa James who stated that on any given day, there are 300 to 500 homeless males roaming the streets of Tempe. Smith, paragraph 5) Businesses on Mill Avenue have also reported incidents of homeless people taking products and running, and that customers ask questions about the population of homeless people seen on the street. Our current solution for prevent homeless individuals from soliciting and begging is to arrest them and put them in the system. One could say that this system is working and keeping them off of the streets, but by doing this it only increases the problem. As illustrated by Worsnop in “Helping the Homeless,” Cities who punish the homeless for begging are essentially punishing them for being homeless. (Worsnop pg. 87) In a graph presented by Triplett in “Ending Homelessness,” more people agree that homeless people sleeping in public places should be illegal. ” (Triplett, pg. 548) Not only are these people living n the streets, but they are victims of a bad economy and illness. Also, a criminal record only makes it harder for an individual to get a Job, create income, and get themselves off the streets.. James also says that “homelessness isn’t the kind of problem that Just one group can solve ??” it takes more than the service providers and the police department, it takes all of us. (Smith, paragraph 29) In conclusion, in order to reduce homelessness, putting homeless people in Jail for something they can’t help but do does not solve the problem What I propose, is that ASU tries to spread he word about the homeless issue even more than it already has been by other organizations. If we, the students and faculty of ASU, can lessen the amount of homeless individuals it will create a less hostile and more comfortable environment. By education students and faculty about homelessness they are informed of the actual causes and that it can be prevented.
One idea I had was to start a club of some sort; that will fundraise and advocate for the aide of the homeless and as a result the safety of students and staff. In order to end homelessness, it starts with nding substance abuse and providing help with the mentally ill. Arizona State’s psychology department is always looking for participants to help with research. The homeless community could be an asset to that department and vice versa. Another group who might also take interest in this problem would be the religious groups I see throughout campus.
As a whole, there are a ton of resources that we as a university have in order to fix this problem. All of these groups and organizations on campus working together would create a strong support system to start the process of ending this issue. By finding a solution to this problem, we can stop this city from going down the path of becoming a city such as New York City and Holly wood; cities that have a massive homeless problem far from fixing. In addition, crime rate would also decrease. There would be a drop in petty theft from stored and businesses in Tempe.
Finally, campus would be safer and more comfortable for students and staff. After asking a few students on campus, I got an answer from a student that vividly illustrates this problem and how it relates to students. “l try my best not to pay homeless people on campus any mind and they usually don’t bother me, but when I’m walking to the light rail station or my car late at night and I see a homeless man in the area, I get a little uneasy. They have nothing to lose, who knows if one night one of them will decide to harass me or even physically hurt me. Kaitlin Sigado, ASU Sophomore. One could argue that this too large of a project for the Just a club on a college campus to fix. I would say that this is true, but that with the right support; by the university, community, and government; it can be done. I think that the club would open the eyes of those higher up, to see that there is a demand and that eople on campus notice. As suggested by Rep. Julia Carson, in order to end homelessness, it requires the government I partnership with a wide range of government and private groups, but the government needs to play a leading role. Triplett, pg. 549) A complete [100%] end to homelessness would be ideal, but all I’m hoping for results, however small or big they are. I think that with the right mindset and enough support, ASU and its students and staff could lessen the homeless ‘issue’ in Tempe. Safety of students and campus should be enough incentive to end this roblem, and I think it can be done. I hope to one day get on the light rail and not have to walk a different way to avoid a stumbling, intoxicated homeless man.
I also hope to know that all individuals, homeless or not are taken care of and are getting the help they need. Arizona as a whole needs a solution to its homeless problem, but for now, we as a school should try and fix what we can around us. Visual Works Cited Arizona Homeless Coordination Office, comp. Homelessness in Arizona 2011 Annual Report. Rep. Phoenix: Arizona Departmenr of Ecominic Safety, 2011. Print. Smith, Sara. Homelessness remains ongoing problem in Tempe I ASU News I The State Press I Arizona State University. ASU News I The State Press I Arizona State University. The State Press, n. d. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.. Triplett, William. “Ending Homelessness. ” CQ Researcher 18 June 2004: 541-64. Web. 21 Apr. 2013. Worsnop, Richard L. “Helping the Homeless. ” CQ Researcher 26 Jan. 1996: 73-96. web. 21 Apr. 2013. Homelessness in Arizona Annual Report PDF Link: https://www. azdes. gov/lnternetFiles/Reports/pdf/2011 _homelessness_report. pdf Visual Link: https://s3. amazonaws. com/easel. ly/all_easels/122999/WP3VisualDraft1 /image. Jpg