[Hpn] Boston, MA - Closer to homes: goal to end chronic homelessness in 10 years - The Boston Globe - July 20, 2002

Editor Editor <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Sat, 20 Jul 2002 11:21:21 -0500


Closer to homes
part of President Bush's goal to end chronic homelessness in 10 years
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Editorial - The Boston Globe - July 20, 2002

THE 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 his presidency.

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 population.

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.
.
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source page:  http://makeashorterlink.com/?U33642F41
 Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

H. C. Covington, Editor
Homeless and Housing News
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HomelessNews