[Hpn] Closer to homes; Boston Globe Editorial; 7/20/2002
Morgan W. Brown
Sat, 20 Jul 2002 08:05:13 -0400
Saturday, July 20, 2002
Boston Globe <http://www.boston.com/globe>
A Boston Globe Editorial
Closer to homes
HE BUSH administration is tackling homelessness and the paradox that in the
world's richest nation, people still sleep on the streets.
Cynics may wonder why this effort is different from others. The answer is a
strategy to unite various federal agencies.
This week the Interagency Council on Homelessness met for the first time in
six years. Officials announced a $35 million plan to address homelessness -
part of President Bush's goal to end chronic homelessness in 10 years.
The money will help homeless individuals. Some are veterans. Some have
substance abuse problems. Some suffer from physical disabilities or mental
illnesses. Others have gotten out of jail or aged out of foster care and
found themselves with nowhere to live.
The federal dollars will support housing linked to social services such as
substance abuse and mental health counseling.
Three federal departments are joining forces: Housing and Urban Development,
which will invest $20 million, Health and Human Services, which will invest
$10 million, and Veterans Affairs, which will invest $5 million.
These agencies are also streamlining the paperwork so funds can be disbursed
quickly and efficiently. This should quiet complaints that getting federal
funds can be a bureaucratic nightmare.
Bush will accomplish a compassionate conservative victory if his
administration can pull even more agencies into the fight for the rest of
As the interagency council's executive director, Philip Mangano, points out,
the government targets $2 billion for homelessness. But even more can be
done by tapping some of the $500 billion in other federal programs.
''Why go to the sandbox when you can go to the beach?'' says Mangano, former
head of the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance. There are many ways
to use government money more effectively, he says.
Prevention and intervention are essential. So the Justice Department is
running a multiagency effort to help offenders who leave prison, providing
services that should, among other things, ease homelessness in an at-risk
As part of the No Child Left Behind Act, the Department of Education is
placing advocates in school districts to ensure that homeless children have
access to schools.
The challenge of all this work is to keep the agencies in productive
conversations and avoid the communication breakdowns that have plagued other
interagency efforts. Instead of protecting turf, officials should be finding
and spreading innovative programs to prevent and end homelessness.
This ought to be the land of the free and the home of the housed.
This story ran on page A12 of the Boston Globe on 7/20/2002.
---End of forwarded editorial---
Interagency Council on Homelessness:
-- "Congress established the Interagency Council on Homelessness in 1987
with the passage of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act. The
Council is responsible for providing Federal leadership for activities to
assist homeless families and individuals."
**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.**
-------End of forward-------
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
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