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Operations of the Firehouse Shelter

Firehouse shelter was founded on 21st December 1983 by the cooperative downtown ministries as an outreach program to provide homeless men in Birmingham Alabama a nurturing and caring environment while at the same time empowering each man with competencies that would enable them to reach their full potential. Homelessness is a condition where people lack a regular dwelling place because of the inability to afford a residence since they do not have a fixed or regular income (Baumohl, 1996). Homeless people spend their night time in spaces that have not been designed for human accommodation. Homelessness is a common social problem in America especially among the African Americans in the south and the Firehouse shelter was founded to address this problem especially among the male population in Birmingham Alabama.

The operation of this facility is in line with the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance act of 1977 which is a federal law of the United States that provides federal funding for shelter programs for the homeless people in United States of America. This federal policy is the first noticeable federal response to homelessness. American response to the problem of homelessness for a long time has been very negative. In fact homelessness has been criminalized in the country where state laws and social practices have been executed to discriminate against the people who are homeless. There is a belief that homeless people are associated with most of the crimes that are committed in American society (Bassuk, 2006).

And that is why the society responds to this problem through prosecution and not through prevention.  The main issue here is that federal money that would have been used to help these individuals find a better and affordable housing for the homeless people is spent to incarcerate them. That is the problem the firehouse shelter was created to solve. To deal with the problem of homelessness among the male population it provides emergency shelter to the chronically homeless men. There is no limited length of stay for the guests in this facility which means that the firehouse is able to establish a deeper involvement with the guests. This involvement leads to mutual trust levels that eventually help in the establishment of the root of the whole problem. The clients in this guest house have very different backgrounds and very diverse problems.

Research conducted after interactions with the guests in the firehouse reveals that homelessness is directly connected with joblessness, poverty, unstable families, disability and substance abuse. Homeless people suffer several disadvantages including reduced access to healthcare, reduced access to education and privacy, high risk or high exposure to violence and physical abuse, rejection and discrimination, lack of interpersonal relationships due to loss of touch with the mainstream, reduced access to monetary opportunities and technology. Understanding the problems that these people are facing is very vital for the house because it helps in enactment of programs that will help address these problems so that the homeless men can be given the opportunity to enjoy the rights and privileges that are enjoyed by the rest of the American population. The most important thing is to equip them with competencies that will enable them to fend for themselves so that they can afford their own housing , food and clothing .This is my first placement and my role will be one of case management. I will work with each client to help him establish a life plan to ultimately live as independently as possible and also help him obtain the necessary community resources to do so.

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