[Hpn] Advocates 4 homeless look 2 future:"It's time to end homelessness in 10 years"

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Fri, 26 Oct 2001 14:14:33 -0400


Note: Recipient list undisclosed

Below is a forward of an article which may be of interest to you and others 
whom you know.

Following it are Web addresses for those seeking additional information 
related to the article.

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont

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-------Forwarded article-------

Friday, October 26, 2001
Intelligencer Journal <http://www.lancasteronline.com/intell/>
[Lancaster, Pennsylvania]
Local News section
Advocates for homeless look to the future
<http://www.lancasteronline.com/intell_news/homeless.htm>

Friday, October 26

By Jeff Hawkes
Intelligencer Journal Staff Writer


A Vietnam-era veteran needed help. He suffered from schizophrenia and ended 
up homeless.

This is not a story with a happy ending.

The man did not get the help he needed, which is sad, but not the point. The 
point is that a lot of tax dollars your money and mine got wasted because 
the man did not get the right kind of help.

Dysfunctional people often end up homeless; homeless people often end up in 
a system that is dysfunctional.

The system, in this case, saw to it that the vet's disability was diagnosed 
and that he was put on medication. Apparently, no one made sure he took his 
pills.

That oversight cost you and me because when the vet jumped off a three-story 
building, the resulting hospital stay wasn't cheap.

The vet recuperated and went to live in a homeless shelter in Lancaster. 
That's good, except that a shelter costs taxpayers almost twice as much as a 
federally subsidized apartment.

He still didn't get adequate treatment. His mental condition deteriorated, 
and he assaulted a man, biting off a chunk of ear. The vet ended up being 
thrown in jail.

At taxpayers' expense. Ten-year plan    I'm not telling this story to get 
you mad and frustrated. I'm telling it because you need to appreciate the 
significance of something that is going to happen today.

We are going to be issued a challenge.

There's a group of volunteers who call themselves the Lancaster Interagency 
Council for the Homeless.

Last October, they documented 433 people living in local shelters and 
transitional housing. The count did not include the "invisible" homeless 
sleeping in cars or on the couches of friends.

Today, at a forum at the YWCA, the council is going to call on Lancaster 
County to end homelessness in 10 years. The council intends to write a 
10-year plan, Valerie Case, a paralegal at Mid-Penn Legal Services, told me, 
and lead the way in "ending homelessness as we know it."

Out of sheer compassion, that's a worthy goal. Who doesn't pass a street 
person and feel pity?

But beyond satisfying our humanitarian impulses, ending homelessness offers 
two benefits. First, Lancaster County would become a safer to place to live. 
Second, we'd waste fewer tax dollars.

"Today most American communities plan how to manage homelessness not how to 
end it," says the National Alliance to End Homelessness, which is promoting 
10-year plans. It says the means to end the problem are within our grasp. 
Focus on prevention    The national alliance says resources targeted at 
preventing homelessness among dysfunctional people are an investment.

A person with schizophrenia, for example, should be offered housing with 
support services a humane and less-costly alternative to the overuse of 
shelters, hospitals and prisons.

A family falling behind on rent might benefit from budget counseling and 
having an advocate to negotiate a new lease.

Dispersing low-income housing in neighborhoods with higher incomes, as a 
study in Boston suggests, might stabilize struggling families.

Case envisions a 10-year plan for Lancaster that prevents homelessness and 
shortens the experience of homelessness.

She would like to see more low-income housing, shelter-affiliated 
caseworkers who address the root cause of homelessness for each resident and 
a seamless system that gives every person a home.

Writing such a plan is an ambitious undertaking. Case today will call on 
experts in housing, finance, social work and government services to come to 
the table.

Lancaster County for years has helped the homeless, but the system, Case 
said, "costs a lot of money, and it's not working as well as it should."

It's time to write a plan. It's time to end homelessness in 10 years.

Or less.

E-mail is welcome at jhawkes@lnpnews.com.

---End of forwarded article---

~~~Related Web sites:

Lancaster Interagency Council for the Homeless:

http://www.lanccounty.com/servlet/community_ProcServ/GID=00001000000937315733421862

-- The Interagency Council for the Homeless is a voluntary coalition of 34 
organizations dedicated to addressing the needs of the homeless in 
Lancaster.


Mid-Penn Legal Services:

http://www.racc.cc.pa.us/socialservice/Agency%20Pages/c070.htm


Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness:
National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH):

http://www.endhomelessness.org/pub/tenyear/index.htm


National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH):

http://www.naeh.org

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**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**

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-------End of forward-------

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





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