Essentially, a society sets for itself a level of acceptable existence for its member-entities. Currently in America, society believes it is acceptable to have prisoners and homeless people. What quality of existence is acceptable within a society is variable. For example, a society could put the infirm to death to preserve limited resources.
Laws against suicide and human euthanasia (we're completely fine with applying a different set of rules for other life forms such as cattle and pets) are reflective of a society's morality. We denote a society's level on this scale with terms like 'barbaric' and 'civilized'.
I would argue that we currently have the foresight to realize our current practices are barbaric in comparison to where we would like to be as a society.
Having recognized this scale and our ability to increase or decrease our positioning on it, I fail to see why we can't start some goal-setting in this regard.
Some would say we've done the goal setting, for as a matter of culture we've agreed upon where we would like to be by identifying things as 'problems' (crime, homelessness).
However, I'd say we've been approaching these problems as if they were the disease when they are in fact only symptoms. I believe its time we start examining the evidence for the root causes of these symptoms. What failure in the system results in homelessness? What failure in the system results in criminal behavior (including unnecessary laws like marijuana prohibition).
What parts of our society are having these discussions, which aren't? What are the reasons for parts of our society not working toward these solutions? Is it a symptom of a 'problem' that these discussions aren't taking place?
If so, how do I turn starting these necessary discussions into a living wage?
How do I help fix the system if I am unable to survive within the system? Martyrdom?