The future is homelessness service providers stepping up as the adaptive initiators that just might finally end homelessness, like so many policymakers and think-leaders set out to do ten years ago.
Tag Archives: 100k homes campaign
Securing one of the limited permanent supportive housing units in the U.S. is a bit like desperately trying to win that golden ticket in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Millions of people are in need of affordable housing, and only a handful of apartments are subsidized by the government.
If you are homeless, the odds of accessing an affordable apartment with support services are probably worse than winning a money lottery. Of course, some cities, like Los Angeles, set aside rental vouchers for people who are homeless, but with 50,000 Angelenos homeless, the vouchers are never enough.
So how should society determine who gets a coveted subsidized housing unit?
I remember sitting in a large meeting room in downtown Los Angeles with about 60 other community and political leaders who were all connected in some way to working toward addressing homelessness in Los Angeles, what many still call the “Homeless Capitol” of America.
The year was 2003, and most of us on this Blue Ribbon panel thought at the time that the buzz of excitement in the room signified a new era in solving L.A.’s dismal struggle to address homelessness. Our task was to create a “ten year plan to end homelessness” in Los Angeles.
In the darkness of early morning, the counting can be monotonous, an exercise that almost puts you to sleep. I have written before about the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandated homeless counts that occur throughout this country during the month of January. Municipalities have to count their homeless population at least every other year, or they will lose their HUD funding. Some cities count every year.
Counting how many people are languishing on our streets, however, is good. How can we address a sad human tragedy without knowing the extent of the problem? How can we know if we are successfully reducing the number of people on our streets without regularly assessing our work through counts?
As this year ends, the confusing tallies of homelessness in America persist. Take the Federal Government’s perspective on enumerating homeless people in our country, this past week their “point in time” estimate found a 2.1 percent decline in homelessness from a year ago. Not surprisingly, national leaders credited their efforts for the decrease.
Two days later, the U.S. Conference of Mayors released their survey of hunger and homelessness in American cities. They reported a 6 percent increase in homelessness, along with significant increases in people accessing food pantries and shelters.
The campaign to reach out to people hidden in the cracks of our society, sleeping in decrepit outdoor living situations not fit for our own pets, continues to expand in communities throughout America. The 100,000 Homes campaign is now in over one-hundred cities.
This past weekend, another community canvassed their neighborhood in search of people living outdoors. Three mornings in a row, just before dawn, one-hundred local volunteers interviewed their homeless neighbors in preparation to house them.
Last week a group of 100 community volunteers once again came together in the darkness of the early morning to canvass their streets, survey, and prioritize the most vulnerable homeless persons. Just south of Los Angeles, the beach city of Long Beach has struggled to address its homeless population for decades.
Back in July 2009, the same number of volunteers surveyed the city’s downtown streets and found 345 homeless persons. Of those counted, a third was vulnerable with years of homelessness and some type of disability or illness.
When I was a kid, I used to dream I would become a Navy jet pilot, while other times I hoped to be an architect. I used to even dream I would be tall. In sixth grade, I dreamed I would make the winning shot in our afterschool basketball games. None of these dreams came […]
Years ago, I stood in a dilapidated waiting room of a free health clinic in a northern town of Haiti, a country that many describe as the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. The sick patients were so deprived they barely earned a living feeding themselves and their families, let alone having enough resources to […]
If you were one of those compassionate Americans wanting to help resolve the sad state of homelessness in this country, you may have woken up hours before sun rise to help your local city count homeless persons. I know how it works. You drag yourself out of bed hours before you typically get up so […]