Some years back, in the place where I lived (which will stay anonymous out of deference to the innocent), a homeless shelter was being built. This homeless shelter was being constructed for $50,000,000 for a community of about 70,000. In addition, the organization building the center received just over $1 million in donations annually.
At the time, the city's poverty rate was below 10%, meaning 7,000 people below the poverty line. Assuming that a generous half of those 7,000 needed the facility's services, that's just over $14,000 per person. Considering the facility had about 200 beds, however, and that 3500 people were unlikely to need shelter, this means thwy were spending $250,000 per bed. Good money if you can get it.
That's about the time I realized why poverty remains in a nation of affluence such as ours: because poor people have been commoditized, and it is big business.
If you have a birth certificate and a social security number, there are dollar signs attached to you (if you don't, in the United States, you ironically do not have personhood rights. As a school administrator told children once in my hearing, "all you are is who you are on paper"). This is the reason for mandatory vaccines ($). This is the reason for early intervention services ($$), public education ($$$$), the school lunch program ($$$$$$), and the SNAP (formerly food stamp) program ($$$$$$$$$$!), as well as just about any other social program in America that you can think of.
It is also the reason for the often abused CPS system. While CPS was started with good intentions, you know what they say about "the road to Hell". Along the way, a system rightfully established to protect children from abuse and neglect began treating those children as commodities, using them for medical experiments (not a conspiracy theory, but proven through various sources...for reference, see here. I could mention other sources, but this thread is not about that). In some areas, they became "adoption mills", and as late as the 1960's, they adopted Indian children to white families so that they could teach them our culture and our heritage and to ditch their Indian culture.
I was asked about solutions to the homeless "problem" in America, with its myriad of causes, and I realized through mulling over the questions that all practical solutions required a fundamental change in how we see people. Homeless organizations have no vested interest in reducing homelessness; in essence, they would be planning for their own obsolescence. And if we became a drug and tobacco free society, think of the money we could no longer raise in taxes (for tobacco), and prison/treatment centers (for drugs). Think of the police we would have to fire if the financial incentive was removed from many criminal activities.
It's the same reason, in essence, that the health care industry has grown out of control. I don't think doctors fail to tell Type 2 diabetics that most cases can be completely cured through diet and exercise because they fear liability; it doesn't stop doctors from telling smokers to stop smoking, does it? No, the reason they relay this information to Type 2 diabetics is because they are bought and sold by big pharma. A "cured" Type 2 diabetic doesn't bring the bucks.
When we took our youngest child to a routine checkup, despite the fact that he was well above average weight and height, we were told by the resident pediatrician that "a child cannot get adequate nutrition from breast milk; they need supplemental formula and vitamins". This is not some older doctor that was doing the talking, this was a resident who was taking classes, so this was CURRENT information being taught! And this information could only have come from big pharma.
The more I examine the problems relating to homelessness and the poor, the more I realize that the system IS the problem. Not capitalism; there's nothing wrong with capitalism, but there IS something wrong with the system we have in place. It's closer to economic feudalism than it is capitalism.
It's amazingly simple to tell people to "get a job", or, "heal thyself", essentially. It's much, much harder to examine the root causes of WHY people are where they are, roll up your sleeves and get busy fixing it. But if we're going to find a SOLUTION rather than a quick fix, that is exactly what we need to be doing.