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Archive for the ‘safe haven’ Category

In honor of Veterans’ Day, here is an article on CNN.com about how Pathways to Housing, a Housing First program that is ending veteran homelessness in New York City. More behind the jump.

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The Homeless Alliance and the WNY Coalition for the Homeless, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is proud to present a day-long symposium entitled Ending Homelessness.

The symposium will take place on Tuesday, Sept 16th. from 8:30am-4:30pm.

Our Keynote Speaker is Philip F. Mangano, Executive Director, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Breakout session topics will include
– homeless supportive services
– homeless housing funding
– accessing mainstream benefits
– implementing Housing First models
– preventing foreclosure
– grassroots economic development

This symposium is for executive directors, program directors, case managers, community advocates, policy makers, homeless housing and service providers, human service providers, homeless outreach workers, and community and faith-based organizations.

The symposium will take place at the Hyatt-Regency in Buffalo. Cost will be $45/person. Invitation and Registration Form will follow. Any inquiries should be directed to Irene Pijuan at 847-0655 x264.

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Philadelphia Mayor Nutter and the Philadelphia Housing Authority have teamed up to provide 700 housing units and beds to address the needs of the city’s homeless population.

At a cost of $8.3 million, 500 PHA housing units will be given over to homeless populations, including 50 safe haven beds.

The exciting part of this effort is that it is being driven by the Mayor and the Public Housing Authority, both of which have committed significant funds to achieve the goal transitioning street homeless and homeless in shelters into permanent housing options. Mayoral buy-in, coupled with a commitment from the PHA, is a great joint effort to see.

This type of effort is clearly a model that we should try to incorporate here in Buffalo and Erie County.

Read the full article here.

Read the pdf version here.

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Another article on Housing First – this one from the Washington Post.

Ready or Not, a Home of Their Own

Washington Post

By Marc Fisher

Thursday, December 27, 2007; B01

This is where Gregory Hart lived for most of the past two years: down an alley alongside Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW, next to a trash can, curled against a concrete platform. Here, gang toughs assaulted him with a baseball bat. Here, he raised rats in a box. Here, he relied on a dog and a cat — Bam Bam and Little Bam Bam — to wake him if danger lurked. Here, passersby called him “retard” and shouted at him to “get a job.”

And this is where Gregory Hart has lived since last Thursday: in a spacious, sunny, well-heated three-room apartment he has entirely to himself, with a stove where he can cook chicken and gravy, and with a blue comforter he chose at Target and a bed where he can sleep as long as he wants without fear of attack.

Hart, 53, has spent long chunks of his life on the streets of Washington. Mentally ill and in poor health, he has drifted through periods of drinking and drugging. Dismissed as mentally incompetent from an early age, he never attended regular school and couldn’t read or write until adulthood.

“My mother tried to keep me in the house when I was young because nobody liked me,” he says. “I was rejected by the population.” Hart would still be in the alley this week if not for a small but fast-growing nonprofit group called Pathways to Housing that puts chronically homeless people into their own apartments — with daily support from social workers– even if they’re not sober, even if they lack basic housekeeping skills.

Most plans for the homeless involve moving them through shelters and group homes until they prove they are ready for permanent housing by staying sober and going to treatment for a substantial time.

But under a model called Housing First, groups such as Pathways take people as they are, in part because housing is a basic right and in part because it’s cheaper. It costs $23,000 a year to care for people who have someplace to live vs. more than $40,000 a year to give the homeless the emergency services they require — hospital ER care, detox, hours of police attention, endless trips through the court system.

In four years in Washington, Pathways has taken 130 homeless people off the streets, about 90 percent of whom are still in housing. (more…)

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CBS News Documents Success of Housing First Programs

Click logo to see video

How To End Homelessness? Provide Homes

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2007


(CBS) Imagine your best day ever, and you’ll understand what Doretha Cotton is feeling, holding the keys to her first apartment in 20 years.”This is the key to my new mansion,” says Cotton.Until now, Cotton was homeless on the streets of Washington, mentally ill and alcoholic, and part of America’s unsolvable problem.Unsolvable, reports CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews, until Sam Tsemberis turned the approach to homelessness upside down with his “housing first” approach.

Instead of the old way, which required the homeless to get clean or sober first, before getting an apartment, Tsemberis starts with the apartment.

“The treatment for homelessness is housing, so we are simply (saying), ‘here is an apartment'”, says Tsemberis. “Housing is the cure for homelessness. It’s that simple.”

Cotton says she feels that having an apartment does change her in some way. “It makes me feel… that I can be independent and responsible, that I can be a good neighbor.”

Housing first also involves intensive in-home visits. Cotton will see nurses, social workers and drug counselors. They come with the apartment.

Tsemberis brushes off criticism that he’s made it too easy on the homeless. He argues that housing first works – for less. Chronically homeless people now cost taxpayers $40,000 a year each for shelters, jail time and emergency room visits. He says doing it his way costs just more than half that amount.

“Here’s a program for $22,000 that gives a person housing and services that end their homelessness and puts them on their way to getting better,” says Tsemberis.

Housing first has documented an 85 percent success rate, and is now the official policy in more than 150 cities, including the nation’s capital.

“It’s actually cheaper than it is to run the shelter system, and a lot better for the people who are in it,” says Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty.

“I don’t want to drink. I don’t want to solicit, panhandle,” says Cotton. “I don’t have to do those things anymore.”

When we left Cotton, her counselor was teaching her to use the intercom.

**Special thanks to The Homeless Guy and his Blog for the heads up on this piece.

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In honor of Veterans’ Day, here is a second post on innovative housing models serving the needs of veterans that are chronically homeless. Someone is defined as chronically homeless when he or she is an unaccompanied individual, has a disabling condition, and is homeless consecutively for one year or more or has experienced four or more episodes of homelessness in a 3-year period.

homelessvets

The New York Times published this article last week about a homeless housing project in Seattle that allows those with chemical addictions to stay in permanent housing (not an emergency shelter) and still be able to use. This model has been effective throughout the country in ending chronic homelessness.

Bill Hobson, director of the Seattle Downtown Emergency Services Center, provides a good response to those who are angry about the housing that, as some see it, rewards those suffering from addictions by giving them housing:

First, he says, the complaints reflect no understanding of the grip of alcoholism: “Do you really think these men and women would rather live on the streets?” Second, the cost to the public appears to have dropped as the number of visits to the emergency room, jail and the sobering center has plummeted.

Finally, he asks, “what kind of equation of humanity is this: Since you refuse to stop drinking, since you refuse to address your disease, you must die on the streets.”

“These guys have nothing going for them,” he says. “They could not be more dispossessed.”

It isn’t mentioned in the article but one of the reason this housing model is so effective is because it is low-demand. Often, housing providers using traditional models require that those who have chemical addictions discontinue their drug abuse and seek treatment. Yet, this expectation is a barrier to their ability to have stable housing; therefore, they are unable to access shelter and instead must go to the only other options available to them: jails or hospitals, which cost far more for taxpayers than stabilized housing.

Safe Haven housing offers housing first and allows one to maintain that housing even if he or she does not want to seek treatment. Yet, as this article demonstrates, there is a significant relationship between having stable housing and one’s willingness to seek treatment. Safe Haven models make available drug treatment, but do not require it for entry. Not only are Safe Haven models effective in offering an alternative to the street to those who are chronically homeless but also are working well to treat chemical addiction as it effects this particular population.

Safe Haven housing models work for chronically homeless individuals who are in need of stable housing without a lot of stipulations, taxpayers who want cost-effective homeless services models, and service providers who are able to provide the housing and services over a period of time that makes sense to the client while moving them toward greater independence.

Read the NY Times article here.

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