I struggle with people asking me this question all the time. Why do NGOs and other organizations have to pay staff? Why can’t they just use volunteers? Unfortunately, when people ask questions like that its usually because they do not understand the situation and certainly have never been in a situation to need those types of services before.
Hopefully this article by Inn from the Cold helps people understand the TRUE COST of homelessness. We are much better off investing in people than in letting them get to this crisis scenario. You need to have professionals who are able to cope with families that have addiction, abuse, neglect, and poverty issues among other things. I can assure you, this is not something that ordinary “volunteers” can deal with in their “2 hours of volunteer effort/week”. (This is not to take away from the value of volunteers… I myself do a lot of volunteer work but I have to understand where I can help and where I cannot. If I was paid to do what I do for volunteer work, I could make much more happen!)
People need love and support. They don’t just need a bed.
I hope society starts to read more research especially surrounding equality and how much is costs all of us to have so much homelessness. If the problem was really that easy, it would have been solved already!
PS Also check out the book Uncharitable by Dan Pallotta!