Monday, June 16, 2008

Family inns combat homelessness

There is no shortage of ideas about how to end the never-ending cycle of poverty, crime, homelessness and despair that entraps far too many Americans.

If anything, those who have studied the problem agree that they can’t all agree, although many have come to accept the fact that there is no single answer for a huge and complex problem.

Among the many solutions that have been offered, Ralph daCosta Nunez has promoted the concept of the American Family Inn as a way of addressing the problem of homelessness in this country.

In his book The New Poverty, Nunez explains family inns as residential education-based facilities, which he says have helped break the cycle of homelessness as well as the cycle of dependency.

Among the main features of family inns:
  • Education. Education programs are designed to meet the individual education needs of each parent. There is a focus on basic education in the context of family issues to improve literacy rates.
  • Family preservation. Programs ensuring family unity and protecting children are emphasized. Domestic violence, child abuse and neglect are met head-on.
  • Job readiness and training. Job readiness, job training and job placement are paramount for preparing families for the challenges and responsibilities of independence and full-time work.
  • Permanent housing. The independent skills of budgeting, health, nutrition and parenting are taught.