[Hpn] HUD Secretary Focuses on Chronic Homelessness;Washington Post;7/21/01

Morgan W. Brown morganbrown@hotmail.com
Sat, 21 Jul 2001 17:16:27 -0400


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Saturday, July 21, 2001
Washington Post <http://washingtonpost.com>
[Washington, D.C., USA]
HUD Secretary Focuses on Chronic Homelessness

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 21, 2001; Page A15

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel R. Martinez yesterday endorsed 
the goal of ending "chronic homelessness" in 10 years and revived a federal 
panel aimed at improving services to the nation's homeless.

"It is time to commit the multitudes of talents and resources that bless 
this nation to the task of . . . finding homes -- permanent homes -- for the 
chronically homeless," Martinez told 600 members of the National Alliance to 
End Homelessness.

He announced the reactivation of the Interagency Council on the Homeless, 
created in 1987 to coordinate the efforts of numerous federal agencies that 
provide services to homeless people. For the past five years, the council 
had lain dormant because of budget cuts.

"It's time we reawaken this invaluable tool and put it back to work," said 
Martinez, who will chair the council.

The council will have a staff director by next week and a budget of 
$500,000, HUD officials said.

The panel's reactivation is a significant step in better coordinating the 50 
government programs that serve the homeless, from building shelters to 
offering services such as substance abuse treatment, job-training and child 
care, advocates said.

"It is a very important statement that says that homelessness is a problem 
of national proportions and it requires a national solution and that all 
federal agencies have a role to play in that," said Sheila Crowley, 
president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Martinez said he wants HUD to focus on its "core mission" of providing 
housing, and would like to see greater responsibility for support services 
assumed by other departments, such as Health and Human Services. But at 
present, no plan exists to do so.

HUD is also drafting legislation aimed at removing barriers to groups 
seeking homeless dollars, including reducing the local match requirements on 
homeless housing grants.

There are 200,000 to 250,000 chronically homeless people in the nation who 
live in shelters or on the streets, and most of them are disabled in some 
way -- because of mental health problems, substance abuse or HIV infection.


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Morgan <morganbrown@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA

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