[Hpn] ADRIAN, MI - HOMELESS AWARENESS: Homeless trapped in cycles - The Daily Telegram - November 22, 2003

HC Covington HC Covington" <hcc@icanamerica.org
Sat, 22 Nov 2003 15:49:53 -0500

HOMELESS AWARENESS: Homeless trapped in cycles

By Jennifer Burd - The Daily Telegram - November 22, 2003

ADRIAN, MI - Finding ways to break the cycle of poverty, despair and
homelessness was the theme of "Beyond the Continuum: 2003"
-- the second annual conference on housing sponsored by the
Lenawee County Continuum of Care, a consortium of local
agencies having a stake in housing issues.

This year's conference, titled "Ending the Homeless Legacy
of Intergenerational Despair," took place from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. Friday in Dominican Hall on the Siena Heights
University campus. The event was presented by the Lenawee
Emergency and Affordable Housing Corporation and the Adrian
Public Schools.

Keynote speaker Dr. Rosalind Folman of Plymouth, a
developmental psychologist who spoke at the conference in
the morning, told her audience that the problems homeless
individuals experience as adults are analogous to those they
faced as children.

But she said that whether they are impoverished or not,
children with "protective" factors, such as a close and
supportive relationship with their mother, will show
resiliency in stressful situations and grow up with a
greater ability to lift themselves out of poverty.

Folman said children's coping strategies after 18 months
"are very difficult to change," but said crises present
opportunities for change.

"What we really need at this time is a crisis intervention
team, but I suspect in this time of budget cuts, we're not
going to get that," she said.

Lenawee County Commissioner Karol Bolton, D-Adrian, said she
appreciated a point Folman made about keeping family members
together as a unit.

"A lot of these families (facing a housing crisis) are
larger families," Bolton said. "We need to find locations
where we can keep them together."

LEAHC Director Suzanne Keenan said the local area needs more
emergency and transitional housing, where families can stay
while stabilizing financially and seeking a permanent living

She said the Continuum of Care also has made a priority of
seeking funding for developing permanent supportive
housing, which would provide supportive services for
those with emotional, physical and mental disabilities.

Keenan provided conference attendees with data from a recent
LEAHC housing needs study, which showed that 11 of 50
respondents had been "couch homeless" as children and that
six of the 11 believed being homeless as a child increased
their chances of being homeless as an adult.

Twenty-five respondents said they had been couch homeless
as adults. The couch homeless are defined as those moving
from place to place on an almost-daily basis, seeking shelter
with friends and family.

Several awards also were presented at the conference, with
recognition going to Judy Osborne, co-director of
Interconnections, an adult day shelter in Adrian' APS
transportation coordinator Connie Sturtevant, for helping
coordinate transportation for homeless children to their
school of origin; and to several APS students for artwork
and essays on the theme of homelessness.

A buffet lunch was followed by presentations from an array
of local agencies that deal with housing and homelessness
issues through a variety of school-based, community-based
and faith-based interventions.

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