Vulnerable. It’s a word we often use to describe the clients our programs target—individuals who have serious health, mental health, and substance abuse challenges; who are frequent utilizers of hospitals and emergency rooms; and who are at high risk of dying on the streets. Veterans, seniors, families, and youth also often fall into that category. But, when we’re talking about more than 650,000 homeless people in our country, what does “vulnerable” really mean?
Tag Archives: housing first
It took six years to get to this opening, from the formation of a vision task force in 2007 to the moving in of some of the city’s most chronically homeless citizens.
It seems to me that ending homelessness is more than just building apartments, filling them with furniture, and then moving someone in. Ask anyone who is housed, but lonely—a senior with no family support, a recent divorcee sitting in an empty new apartment, or a recently housed formerly-homeless person—if their house feels like a real, loving home. Without care and support, a home just doesn’t feel as warm and comfortable to its inhabitants.
I was on the top floor of a downtown highrise talking with a corporate executive about the strategic impact of placing homeless persons in apartments that are supported with physical and mental health care, what many call today “Housing First.”
“No longer will our homeless neighbors languish on the streets,” I explained to him. “Or for that matter, will even have to hunker down in a homeless shelter.”
The LA Times featured a pieces about efforts in Los Angeles to house chronically homeless persons. A group of community members and non-profit organizations conducted a survey of over 400 people living on the streets, applying the vulnerability index method popularized by New York based Common Ground. Even though the group originally lacked funding to [...]
For decades the business of addressing homelessness was based on simple, old-fashion approaches to charity that tugged on our heart strings, softened our compassion, or pierced our jadedness through guilt-ridden photos of hungry children. As a young adult, I learned years ago how charity raised funds the old-fashion way. The tattered, elderly homeless man sitting [...]
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 [...]
Some conservative analysts are comparing the federal government’s annual financial allotment for homeless services as an exercise in careless spending, similar to the 1980s movie, “The Money Pit.” Remember Tom Hanks and Shelley Long buying that million dollar mansion only to find out that they had to pump in their life’s savings to keep the [...]
Editor’s note: This is the second post by Reverend Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, questioning the wisdom of rallying around Housing First as the single answer to homelessness. You can view his first post on the subject here. Despite the fact that Housing First seems to be the way the [...]
Editor’s note: In this guest post, Reverend Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, questions the wisdom of rallying around Housing First as the single answer to homelessness. Maybe you’ve heard this recently: “We’d like to fund your program, but we are moving all of our resources to permanent supportive housing.” Or you’ve [...]