[Hpn] Washington, DC - We are faced with social evil: Our neighbor has no place to live - US Conference Of Mayors - January 23, 2003

HC Covington HC Covington <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Tue, 28 Jan 2003 03:32:05 -0600


We are faced with social evil: Our neighbor has no place to live

After 20 years of response, we now realize that homelessness
wonít go away on its own. If itís ignored, it only gets worse.

Weíre no longer satisfied with managing the problem or maintenancing
the effort, or accommodating the response.

We have a new standard. Abolishing homelessness.
________________________________________________________________
By Philip Mangano - US Conference Of Mayors - January 23, 2003

I had the pleasure of working with your President, Mayor Menino,
when he was a City Councilor and Mayor. One thing I learned. Heís
can do. His emphasis on housing means that there will be movement.

 Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

And thanks to Mayors Brown and Purcell for their continuing
commitment and leadership.

Forty-eight hours ago I participated in a press conference in
Chicago with Mayor Daley. I had visited him and his staff several
times in the summer and we talked about the 10-year plan to end
homelessness that his administration was creating with the
business community and homeless providers and advocates. I
promised him that when he approved the Plan I would join him at
the announcement. He signed. I went.

Our nationís third largest city under the leadership of Mayor
Daley became one of a small, but growing number of cities
creating and implementing ten year plans to end homelessness. It
began with Mayor Menino in Boston and Mayor Bart Peterson in
Indianapolis and shortly thereafter the Mayors of Memphis and
others joined the list.

What was unthinkable just a few years ago is now emerging as
common sense. What seemed naÔve is now sound policy. What was
thought of as intractable is now subject to strategies.

After 20 years of response, we now realize that homelessness
wonít go away on its own. If itís ignored, it only gets worse.

Now, just a few years ago, such plans were thought to be risky
and naÔve. But with the new technologies and an emphasis on
ending homelessness, maybe the new naÔvetť is not to have a plan.
NaÔve to think you donít need a plan. The risk may be in not
creating a plan.

When we recognize a problem in our cities, we make a plan to
address it. So when Richard Daley in Chicago unveils a ten-year
plan to end homelessness, that makes sense. Thereís nothing naÔve
about it. Thereís a recognition that what weíve done so far
hasnít given us the performance outcomes weíre looking for.

Plans in Philadelphia and Miami reduced the street populations. A
street ordinance combined with increased street service, an 800
number, rapid response, and sensitized police made a difference.

Why are such plans more viable now? Why are the CEOís of cities
adopting what once seemed like an orphaned enterprise?

There are reasons.

First, we have new research not available just a few years ago
that tells us that most homeless people move out of homelessness
with only a small amount of assistance. But there is 10% of the
population, those who are experiencing chronic homelessness, who
have mental illness or addiction or physical disability and who
have been homeless for over a year, often inhabiting the streets
or encampments.

That 10% consumes more than half of all homeless resources.
Thatís why the President and Secretary Martinez have
made this population a priority. The research sent them there.
And thatís why Mayor Menino and this Conference have endorsed
that effort. And why the Interagency Council is finding the
strategies that work for that population.

The research helps us to be strategic in planning and investment.
And weíre going to support the research and data collection
needed to equip us to create policy that makes sense and is
strategic, including policy focused on discharge planning
failures that leave many with no place to go.

Second, we have new technologies in housing and street engagement
that give us new tools to bring in people off the streets. From
New York to San Francisco and places in between these new so
called "housing first" strategies are moving people off the streets
into supportive housing that provides the services needed for
stable tenancies.

And the research tells us that 90% stay housed. The "housing
first" model is a centerpiece in Mayor Daleyís Chicago Plan.

Third, thereís a new spirit of partnership on this issue that
transcends partisanship. When Mayor Menino and Mayor Purcell
announced the hunger/homeless findings last month, they sounded
the chords of working together. We pledged that on this issue,
partnership trumps partisanship. Can I get an amen? Thereís no D
or R or I or G on this issue. Weíre all together.

Fourth, after the research, and technologies, and partnership, we
need new resources.

Anyone who studied the Presidentís budget for 03 knows that new
resources were on the table to help Ė new housing resources in the
Section 8 and HOME programs, new funds for re-entry of ex-prisoners,
new funding for those aging out of foster care, increases in nearly every
targeted homeless program including healthcare.

And soon, very soon, a $35 million funding initiative will hit
the streets. Unprecedented collaboration between 3 federal
agencies will offer housing and service funding in one NOFA
targeted to make a difference on the streets of our country.

Thatís why those street counts are so necessary.

Fifth, we are now interviewing to hire 10 regionally based
homeless specialists across the country to replicate the work of
the Council in bringing together federal agencies, state
agencies, and cities and community and faith based organizations
to collaborate in the effort to end homelessness. These
specialists will help cities and work with your regional housing
coordinators.

Finally, we have a new standard of expectation. Weíre not going
to be satisfied any longer moving homeless people from one side
of town to the other. From on city to another.

Our work together is to create that new standard of expectation:
we want visible, measurable, quantifiable change - on our streets,
in homeless programs, in the life of our neighborhoods, and most
importantly, in the lives of homeless people.

Weíre no longer satisfied with managing the problem or maintenancing
the effort, or accommodating the response.

We have a new standard. Abolishing homelessness.

Thereís not a person in this room who doesnít know that
homelessness is a disgrace. And whether itís systems failures or
personal failures, no one should be on the cold streets of our
country or our cities. No child should be consigned to a shelter.
No veteran should be eating out of dumpsters.

As the Indianapolis Plan tells us, such images are unworthy of
this great and affluent nation and not worthy of the cities you
govern.

There is increasing hope on this issue now, even in the face of
rising numbers.

Not illusory, ethereal hope spun on anecdote and conjecture and
one-dimensional plans. But a hope that is fashioned on data,
research, technology, performance outcomes, and resources.

Iíve asked the Mayors in the 100 largest cities in the country to
name a point person in their administration who will be our
contact person to disseminate information whether funding
opportunities, research, or best practices. If youíre not in the
largest 100 and want to be part of the network, just have your
staff person contact ich@hud.gov Thatís all the address you need
Ė ich@hud.gov

And Iím asking Mayor Menino to challenge this Conference. By the
next winter meeting of this Conference, through our partnership,
can we have 100 cities who have followed the example of Chicago,
Indianapolis, Boston, Memphis and others in creating a plan to
end homelessness in their city. One hundred cities.

The spirit of our work is this:

Partnership, not partisanship

Planning, not posturing

Solving, not managing

Preventing, not permitting

Abolishing, not accommodating

Like the abolitionists of old, we are faced with social evil: Our
neighbor has no place to live. For how long can we resign
ourselves to this disgrace before we stand as Americans to keep
the promise Ė to draft the plans and get the job done:
A Home for Every American.

________________________________________________________________
source page:   http://www.ich.gov/library/mayors.pdf

©THE HOMELESS NEWS   http://egroups.com/group/HomelessNews/