The solution is called "housing first" which means the homeless are given safe, clean places to live . . . before anything else: before they enter addiction recovery programs; before they have proper id papers; before they "clean up their act"; etc. Here's a news report about one coutnry which is succeeding in helping and resolving homelessness: (source: www.buddhistdor.net)
Finland is one country that has taken radical steps toward addressing homelessness, even though the crisis there is less severe than in many other nations, aiming to completely eradicate homelessness by 2027. This success has not come overnight. Since 2008, Finland has adopted a national policy based on a “Housing First” philosophy, advocating that providing permanent housing should be the first priority in solving the crisis. Therefore, over many years, homeless shelters have been converted into comfortable, permanent homes, with employed staff helping those with addictions, facilitating life skills training, and helping people to find work placements. Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper reports: “Housing First advocates say that research has shown stable housing for all people has proven to be the most effective remedy, both for improving lives and saving money.”
Finland’s Housing First model is based on a simple premise: give the homeless homes and there will be fewer homeless people. In other words, “All the work done for homeless people starts from the assumption that the first support measure should be the provision of housing. The work can be organized using different models and by providing different kinds of housing, but housing is always the top priority.”
Housing First not only reverses the cause and effect of homelessness, but takes a holistic, compassionate approach to offering a solution. This is the furthest thing from a simplistic or naïve aspiration.