"East or West, Home is Best"
A home for one is a basic need that everyone tries to achieve. Somebody whether with a decent job or no job will always want to have a place to call home. In an attempt to highlight how invaluable a home is, there is a common saying that goes, “east or west, home is best”. This tries to explain that no matter the condition one is in; home will always be the best and last place for him/her. Unfortunately, some people are not in a position to enjoy the comfort associated with a home. They actually do not have a place to call home. Such people are considered to be “homelessness”. Homelessness is a situation where people lack a regular dwelling place. As a result, they keep on changing their places of residence. Homeless people more than often are unable to develop and maintain a safe, regular and adequate housing. Since shelter is one of the basic needs, homelessness therefore is a concern of many professionals. The paper seeks to addresses how different models of service delivery can be used to solve the problem of homelessness.
Several human service models have come up in an attempt to explain service delivery to such issues as homelessness. They are concerned with the interaction of humans with the environment. The models advocates for the balance between humans and the environment. Examples of human service delivery models include: the medical model, the public health model and the human service model. The following paragraphs explain how each model can be used to address the problem of homelessness.
The Public Health Model
The public health model acts as a link between the medical model and the human service model. The model mainly deals with prevention of disease outbreak and training of paraprofessionals in managing them in case they arise (Woodside, 2011). It entails protecting the public health by containing and preventing epidemics related with infectious diseases. The mission of the model is identifying the cause of a given disease and instituting measures that will curb the outbreak of such a disease. In order to establish this, questions concerning the disease such as what is the cause of the disease? How is it transmitted? What condition favors its prosperity? What is its life cycle? What conditions make it become dormant? Can it be eradicated? Need to be answered (Woodside, 2011).
From the perspective of public health model, the approach can be employed in solving the problem of homelessness. Prevention is better than cure. The problem of homelessness can be better avoided if it is prevented from occurring. In order to achieve this, the root causes of homelessness need to be established. Once is done, necessary measures should then be put in place to eliminate the cause. For instance, if drug abuse is assumed to be the cause, efforts should be directed at combating drug abuse. Once this is achieved, there will be no homeless people. The influence of peer groups should also be eliminated in order to stop the homelessness from influencing those with homes to join them. This will stop the multiplication of homelessness problems. Public health model also seeks ways of eradicating the existing problem. Applying this approach as a way of eliminating the already existing homeless people should be set up. Such measures include providing permanent homes for the homeless people, setting up rehabilitation centers for the homeless drug addicts and sensitizing the public to accept their relatives even if they are mentally challenged. This will help in reducing the already homeless people (Woodside, 2011). However, in some situations, the homeless people would prefer staying homeless than being confined at a place. The public health model fails to take care of such a scenario. This will mean such people will remain homeless by choice. This a weakness associated with the model. This therefore calls for interaction of several models to manage such a case. One of such models includes the human service model discussed below.
The Human Service Model
The human service model is concerned with the way human beings interact with the environment they live in (Woodside, 2011). The model emphasizes the need of balance between human beings and the environment. The model perceives people, services and the surrounding social environment as an integrated unit. This view aids individuals, families and communities at large in addressing and overcoming issues and barriers that arise from different social problems and adverse conditions in the society. The efficient delivery of services using the model requires the services a human service practitioner (Woodside, 2011). The human service practitioner is an agent who assists or empowers individuals, families and societies to prevent, relieve or cope with a crisis in a better way enabling them to function in a more effective way in all spheres of life and living. He/she does these by interacting with other professionals. He assumes a range of roles with the aim of assisting individuals; groups or communities live a better life than the current life. He facilitates client change typically by either working directly or indirectly with the affected. The human service model helps in solving the problem of homelessness. One way of doing this is through counseling of the homelessness people.
Since the public model has helped in identifying the cause, this model will counsel the affected people basing in mind the cause. It will also counsel well wishers and the public at large in the need of perceiving the homeless people as normal human beings and accepting them. Through this, people may be ready to build homes for the homeless or even house them hence helping in solving the problem. For efficient working of the model, the service providers do outreach activities. This provides information concerning the homelessness and suggesting the best way of helping in solving the problem. The model also advocates for teaching services. Assuming the homelessness is as a result of drug abuse, once the affected are thought of the side effects and the harm associated with drug abuse, they might stop abusing the drugs. This will enable them come to their senses and perhaps go back to their homes and feel accepted. The services in the model also entail planning for the community. This will enable provisions for building communal homes for the unfortunate ones hence solving the problem of homelessness (Woodside, 2011). Other services provided within the model of human service model are researching on the existing problems and giving the necessary recommendations, advocating and mobilizing among others. All the discussed factors are the strengths of the model. However, the model has its own weaknesses. Since the model advocates for treating the homelessness as equal beings, it may make them to have that feeling that it is normal to be homelessness. This may deter the efforts they would have put in finding their permanent homes.
The Medical Model
The medical model is concerned with the laid down procedures that all doctors follow in their line of duty while managing patients (Woodside, 2011). It comprises of recording the chief complaint of the patient, history taking, doing a physical exam on the patient, making an impression, differential diagnosis, doing investigations, making a diagnosis, giving prognosis and formulating the treatment plan. The medical model recognizes the fact that the damage is already done and there is a need for a remedy to be found. The existence of a disease is vital to the medical model (Woodside, 2011). Disease is deviation from the functioning of the normal body. The model perceives the signs and symptoms as indicators of an underlying abnormality in an individual. The model advocates that medical treatment should be directed at the pathology. This is in an attempt to rectify the abnormality curing the disease in the process. Employing such a model in solving the problem of homelessness is of essence.
The fact that homelessness exists can be viewed as a “disease” in the medical model perspective. As the model advocates, the history of the cause of homelessness need to be established. In the model, eliminating the etiology of the disease will eliminate the disease. From the same perspective, if the cause of homelessness is eliminated, the menace will also be eliminated (Woodside, 2011). In cases where diagnosis cannot be made basing on the clinical history and examination, the model advocates for investigations, this should also be employed in solving the problem of homelessness. Investigations need to be done in order to establish the cause and make sure it is homelessness state. Once a diagnosis has been made, the existence of a given disease is eliminated by instituting the right treatment procedures. The case with homelessness is not different. The situation is already in existence and the only way of managing it is to provide homes for the homelessness people. This will help eradicate the vice. In the end, of the medical model, an individual’s normal body functioning is restored to normal. Same to the problem of homelessness, finding homes will be restoring the society to normalcy. The strengths of the medical models are discussed above. However, there is need to recognize that some diseases are incurable hence in such a scenario, employing the model in managing the problem of homelessness will not help alleviate the problem (University of Lincoln, 2010). The models discussed so far are integrated I one way or another. In order to implement the models, several organizations have come up as discussed in the subsequent paragraph.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (UDHHS) is a department dealing with the issue of homelessness. In an attempt to end the menace of homelessness, the department has formulated “Strategic Action Plan on Homelessness” (Jaber, 2007). Its mission is to achieve a society that is free of homeless people. The goals of the plan include: preventing the occurrence of homelessness both at an individual and family levels, helping bonafide homeless persons in receiving health and social services, and empowering the state and the community to improve on the way they respond to homelessness families. It does this by providing grants for them to build homes, provide free medical care, starting projects that help in transition from homelessness among other things (Jaber, 2007). The steps taken are important in solving the problem of homelessness and the organization should follow it to the latter for its success.
The Conrad.N. Hilton Foundation is also concerned with addressing the issue of homelessness. Its vision is to eliminate the issue of chronic homelessness in Los Angeles while the goals are to provide permanent homes for the homeless and limit the increase of chronic homeless people (Conrad Foundation, 1990). This is achieved through creation and operation of permanent supportive houses, ensuring that the more susceptible are housed in the houses and preventing the creation of more chronically homeless people. It is doing this by providing affordable houses with supportive care in preventing substance abuse, creating employment among others. The system restores stability and dignity and this help in solving the problem of homelessness.
In conclusion, homelessness is a vice that will continue increasing unless necessary measures are put in place to combat the problem. As discussed earlier, multidisciplinary approach will be the best option that can help curb the problem. From the perspective of public health model, preventing the emergence of homelessness is key in combating the problem. Since drug abuse has been cited as one of the causes of homelessness, government need to put in place strict measures that can help in preventing drug abuse. In order to reduce the levels of homelessness, the medical model will be employed. Providing homes for the homeless can be one of the remedies. The homeless people need to be counseled and the public educated on the importance of having a home. This approach can be done by using human service delivery model.