Most discussions of homelessness, from media to nonprofits, focus on housing, treatment, or other downstream solutions. Consistent with humans' inability to think long term they focus on too-late solutions, not the upstream causes.
From one survey in The Lancet:
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The findings—based on 29 studies in the systematic review and 20 studies in the meta-analysis—emphasise the near universality of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) in the homeless population, as well as their association with poor outcomes in adulthood. Specifically, lifetime prevalence was 89·8% for one or more ACEs and 53·9% for four or more ACEs among people experiencing homelessness. These numbers are substantially higher than those reported for the general population globally (ie, in the general population, it is estimated that 38–39% have one ACE exposure and 3–5% have four or more).5 ACEs were consistently positively associated with suicidal risk, suicide attempts, major depressive disorder, problematic substance use, and adult victimisation among people experiencing homelessness.
What can we do to prevent homelessness?
Right now our family planning and child development systems - almost universally - are based on a lie, that the act of having children is more personal to the parents than interpersonal and relevant to the children born and the communities they comprise. That lie was created to ensure growth, which benefits just a few.
The best solution involves taking wealth from those concentrations and using it to fund Fair Start family planning reforms. Nothing has a greater impact, ensuring children are born into nurturing conditions that would avoid the trauma that causes homelessness and many other forms of suffering.