02/15/2013 03:35 pm ET

The Most Effective Way To End Homelessness

Homelessness. Poverty. Unemployment. These problems are usually seen as intractable, overwhelming, and hopelessly complex. They certainly can be, for those suffering their effects. But solving these problems is not a mystery at all. There is a nonprofit group in New York City called The Doe Fund that has developed perhaps the single most effective formula in existence for moving people from the streets to productive society.

Here is what they do: They take in homeless people, referred to them by places like Bellevue Hospital. Many of these people are fresh out of prison, with little safety net. They house them. They ensure they're sober and make them abide by a schedule. They give them a job for starters—cleaning up trash around the city, for a month. The men in all-blue jumpsuits you see pushing brooms and emptying trash cans throughout New York are Doe Funders.