Week 0: An Introduction to The Barriers to Overcoming Houselessness
Yo yo everyone! Welcome to my first senior project blog post. I will be dissecting the obstacles to overcoming houselessness in the bay area for the next couple of months. Stay tuned for updates on my findings through my research and interviews!
For the past two years, I’ve been traveling to San Jose frequently to build houses with Simply Shelter. This project has been fulfilling, as I’ve watched over twenty families get a roof over their head through our work. Yet, it’s also made me realize how prevalent houselessness is in the Bay Area. Though I have helped some families, that’s just a drop in the ocean of this problem. This is why through this project, I want to understand what the barriers to being housed are, and how we can address the issues on a larger level, to create an even larger impact.
So why houselessness? And why the Bay Area? Since the beginning of the pandemic, the houseless population has increased by 35%. That means that every night, 38,000 people in the Bay Area aren’t sleeping in their own bed. This issue is especially relevant to the Bay Area, as it has the highest population of houseless people in cities like Oakland and San Francisco.
I plan on approaching my project through interview-based research, as I believe directly speaking with houseless people will give me the most raw and unbiased data. After interviewing houseless individuals from three different shelters, to ensure my data is diverse, I will speak to social workers and understand what they are doing to help houseless people. Understanding what houseless people think they need, and what governments and grants are providing, will show answers to what the disconnect is. Afterwards, I plan on summing up this research in a paper, and then returning to social workers and nonprofit organizations to explain the disconnect. Then I will talk to people with power, such as government officials and local mayors to ensure that they are aware of this urgent problem. Following this, I will create a video for the students in my school as we are the future change makers, and once they are more educated about the houseless issue, they may be more motivated to do something about it as they grow up. There have already been so many projects in the past three years directed towards the houseless population, yet the number of houseless people keep on increasing. I hope my project is successful in the way that it will ensure that at least one less person is sleeping on the street at night.
To me, a roof over your head is a simple human right, and that’s why I will do everything I can in this project to ensure that my research can bring us a step closer to finding solutions to the houseless problem. Stay Fresh! And see you in my post next week!