Why Policy needs to be developed
A reflection of the United States in the yester-years shows that homelessness was not as widespread as it is at the moment. Currently, close to 800,000 people are homeless and lack adequate access to sustainable livelihoods. Programs and organizations seeking to address the social concern of homelessness have attained little as evident by the fact that close to 2.3 million to 3.5 million people experience homelessness every year (Burt et al., 2007). In addition, federal investment of close to 2 billion dollars each year on the homelessness concerns has not made any significant difference. The homeless people continue to suffer due to ineffective strategies used to curb homelessness. It is on this basis that there is a need to develop a policy that will offer clear action plan on how homelessness problem can be addressed. Precisely, this paper will seek to advocate for a housing policy that would ease access to housing; hence, offer a comprehensive platform that would lead to a reduction in homelessness.
Issues, facts, the affected, defining policy in neutral terms
While much has been hypothesized regarding homelessness as a social concern, it is of the essence to note that several factors have and continue to precipitate its occurrence and its subsequent rise in the recent past. Inadequate housing access occurs as one of the most pertinent factors that have escalated the occurrence of homelessness. Various changes have contributed to the rise in housing problems. Since the 1980’s housing costs have escalated and outstripped the income of various populations in the society. In addition, the recent past has experienced a decline in rental assistance coupled with an accelerated loss of affordable housing stock. Finally, various social changes experienced in the modern world such as suburbanization and deindustrialization has resulted in the rise in urban poverty (Shumsky, 2012). The aforementioned factors have made it relatively impossible for everyone to access adequate housing; hence, rendering various populations homeless. Apart from housing problems, poverty contributes to the significant rise in homelessness. The poor often lack a sustainable means of ensuring that they have a sustainable access to shelter. On another note, substance abuse remains rampant in the contemporary world and this result in depression and mental health issues, which make its victims, live and sleep in the streets. Similarly, underemployment and unemployment equally contribute to the increase in cases of homelessness.
Type and Context of the Policy to be developed
As mentioned above, the proposed policy will focus on the need to enhance access to adequate housing by all populations. As such, the policy will be developed in the planning context. The urban planning departments will the most crucial context for the development of the proposed policy. In addition, the departments in charge of housing will be greatly involved in the efforts aimed at developing the proposed policy. In a nutshell, the current policy will not be developed in isolation or spontaneously. Instead, the policy development process will involve various stakeholders and players drawn from various organizations and departments.
What to do to Influence Policy Change
In order to influence policy change, my group will utilize a wider array of strategies. More importantly, we will develop a clear understanding of the homelessness issue. Besides, we will try hard to know our goals, the persons supporting our policy proposal, as well as those opposed to it. A clear understanding of the homelessness issue will enable us to know what we intend to achieve and allow us to strongly argue for our policy proposal. In order to clearly understand the homelessness issue, we will draw statistical evidence on the number of people affected, the impact of homelessness, and what will happen if homelessness is not addressed or resolved. Conclusively, we will develop a clear understanding on how policies regarding social concerns such as homelessness are mad and who makes such policies (Rocha, 2007).
The second way in which we will influence policy change is identifying and engaging various stakeholders with similar interests on the issue of homelessness. Through this, we will be able to develop networks with relevant policy makers and person who influence policy change, especially politicians. This will be essential in our quest to influence policy development in that we will be able to garner support from various avenues. Overall, our quest to influence the development of the proposed policy will entail having adequate knowledge in various steps adhered to when developing a policy (Jansson, 2008). As such, we will be seeking to know persons who are key players in policy development whereby we can approach them for support and advice.
Resources and Assets
The resources and assets that would be important as we advocate for the current policy will include anything that would be useful in curbing homelessness and its related problems. As such, the resources and assets will include individuals, institutions, and organizations engaged in activities aimed at helping the homeless. In terms of individuals, we will need social work professionals who have adequate understanding and experience working with the homeless. Such individuals will help us identify the greatest needs of the homeless (Rowe & Rapp-Paglicci, 2008). Organizations and institutions as our assets and resources will mainly refer to organizations rolling our programs aimed at helping the homeless. On the other hand, institutions will mainly refer to relevant ministries dealing with the homelessness problem.
Potential allies mainly connote to possible supporters of our policy proposal. As noted previously, we are advocating for a policy that will curb housing problem, which is a significant cause of homelessness. As such, our potential supporters will include community members affected or interested in the issue of homelessness, media, professional organizations and associations, university researchers working in the field of sociology, volunteers and non-profit organizations, and the government (Rocha, 2007). We will contact the above connoted supporters and inform them of our quest, and solicit their support.
Potential opponents mainly refer to persons who may be opposed to our proposed policy initiative. Therefore, potential opponents will mainly comprise of stakeholders in the housing industry who may develop a negative notion on the need to enhance housing access. In addition, some politicians may be opposed to our policy proposal because they may be having their own personal interests.
In order to counter our potential opponents, we will develop a concrete view of their position. Understanding the opposing views developed by the opponents will offer a platform whereby we can address their arguments. Therefore, the arguments that we will use to counter the opponents will depend on the arguments devised by the opponents.
Targets of Policy change Efforts
The proposed policy initiative will focus on various targets. The ministry of housing is the most crucial target for our policy initiative because our proposal mainly centres in housing matters. In addition, planners are the other target because the planners are the one tasked with the huge role of determining a wider array of housing issues such as the housing models to be adopted across various societal settings. Finally, our policy proposal will target the government. In fact, the government will be a crucial target in because it is the sole decision maker on matters regarding policy change (Rowe & Rapp-Paglicci, 2008).
Our core strategy will mainly entail creating awareness in the society on the homelessness issue. Through clear articulation of various issues affecting the homeless, we will be able to highlight the plight of the homeless whose lives are jeopardized by the mere fact that they do not have access to adequate housing. Through creating awareness, we will get the good will and support of various populations who will have realized that the homeless are suffering from problems that can be addressed at the policy level. Another strategy that we will employ is advocacy. As such, we will use various platforms to advocate for the adoption of a policy on housing that would do away with homelessness once and for all.
Action: Awareness Campaigns and Advocacy
Persons Responsible: the media, volunteers, non-profit organizations, researchers in the field of sociology.
The persons responsible for the above-connoted actions will mainly comprise of the potential supporters of the proposed policy initiative. The core action will mainly be creating awareness and advocating for the proposed policy change.
Duration (when will the campaign be complete)
The campaign aimed at creating awareness and advocating for the proposed policy will last for close to three months after which the target persons will be aware of the need for policy change.
The resources needed while carrying out these campaigns will mainly include human and financial resources. Human resources will be drawn from volunteers and supporters of the proposed policy. On the other hand, financial resources for the campaign will be drawn form well wishers and potential supports of the policy initiative.
Who should know about these Efforts?
Efforts made as we seek to develop a new policy should be known to various stakeholders. More importantly, the government should be aware because lack of government involvement may result in a stalemate in the process of adopting the proposed policy. In addition, social work professional drawn from the local and international levels should be made aware of the efforts being made. On another note, communities affected by homelessness should be aware of the efforts so that they can chip in and help in any way possible.
The quest to develop an adequate policy that will address homelessness issue will require a wider array of skills. One of the most important social work skills that will be needed is communication and people skill (Jansson, 2008). Advocating for the proposed policy will require innate articulation skills. This will allow for development of pertinent arguments for the adoption of the proposed policy. Another social work skill that will be needed is ability to relate with people from varied cultural backgrounds. The process of developing the proposed policy will involve interaction with potential supporters from different cultures. Therefore, social work skill on how to relate with people from different cultures will be important in advocating for mutual support of the proposed policy.
Burt, M. R., Pearson, C. L., & Montgomery, A. E. (2007). Homelessness: Prevention, strategies and effectiveness. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Jansson, B. S. (2008). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.
Rocha, C. J. (2007). Essentials of social work policy practice. Hoboken, N.J: J. Wiley.
Rowe, W., & Rapp-Paglicci, L. A. (2008). Comprehensive handbook of social work and social welfare: Volume 3. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
Shumsky, N. L. (2012). Homelessness: A documentary and reference guide. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.