[Hpn] An End To Homelessness?

William Charles Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Sat, 02 Dec 2006 04:54:41 -0500


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      An End To Homelessness=20
    =20
            =
http://www.theday.com/re.aspx?re=3Db5a56755-8b21-4ab0-ac7f-bba8613872ef  =

          =20
            Published on 12/2/2006=20
            =20
    =20
            =20
      In his travels around the country marketing a Bush administration =
program to attack homelessness, Philip Mangano refers to the work of =
economist Malcolm Gladwell, author of the best-selling book "The Tipping =
Point."=20
      Mr. Gladwell looked at social epidemics and concluded that social =
policy failed most often when it attempted to address all the dimensions =
of a problem, rather than those aspects on which it could have a real =
impact.=20

      The administration's policy over which Mr. Mangano presides as =
executive director of the United States Interagency Council on =
Homelessness, attempts to follow that advice by focusing resources and =
energy on the most recalcitrant part of the homeless problem, the =
chronically homeless. Their plight is evidenced in the recent deaths of =
homeless men in this region.=20

      The solution, in a nutshell, is to provide housing, not merely =
shelter, and mental health, addiction and other services to these =
"customers," as Mr. Mangano likes to describe them. The federal =
government is now investing more than $4 billion a year in this plan. =
But as Mr. Mangano points out, the savings are substantial; society is =
paying a much higher price on the homeless without any significant =
impact on the problem.=20

      On Thursday, southeastern Connecticut joined nearly 300 other =
communities in the country in signing on to this approach, with the =
announcement of a 10-year plan to end homelessness. The plan calls for =
the development of 704 units of permanent "supportive housing" for the =
homeless, with 49 of these in place by next February.=20

      The plan would make available social services the tenants would =
need to recover from mental illnesses and substance abuse problems and =
find work.=20

      These steps would substitute for the status quo, in which the =
chronically homeless can cost upwards of $50,000 a year or more per =
person for emergency room care, police services, temporary shelter, food =
assistance and other high maintenance costs. For considerably less =
money, Mr. Mangano argues, society can return the homeless to productive =
lives.=20

      The policy calls for a large-scale collaboration among public =
agencies at all levels of government, the business sector and private =
groups. Many people have a stake in the solution, he points out, =
including even librarians and police, who often find themselves dealing =
with the homeless.=20

      To work, this promising effort must mobilize more than the usual =
stalwarts, the United Way, social-service agencies and faith =
organizations. It must be a full-scale engagement from all sectors of =
the region, including business and industry to bring this nagging and =
inexcusable social problem to its tipping point.
    =20




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    <TD class=3DbasicXLargeBloodNoBold>An End To Homelessness</TD></TR>
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          <TD class=3DbasicSmall vAlign=3Dtop>Published on 12/2/2006=20
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      class=3DbasicMedium id=3DarticleBody style=3D"FONT-SIZE: 14px">In =
his travels=20
      around the country marketing a Bush administration program to =
attack=20
      homelessness, Philip Mangano refers to the work of economist =
Malcolm=20
      Gladwell, author of the best-selling book =93The Tipping Point.=94 =

      <P>Mr. Gladwell looked at social epidemics and concluded that =
social=20
      policy failed most often when it attempted to address all the =
dimensions=20
      of a problem, rather than those aspects on which it could have a =
real=20
      impact.=20
      <P>The administration's policy over which Mr. Mangano presides as=20
      executive director of the United States Interagency Council on=20
      Homelessness, attempts to follow that advice by focusing resources =
and=20
      energy on the most recalcitrant part of the homeless problem, the=20
      chronically homeless. Their plight is evidenced in the recent =
deaths of=20
      homeless men in this region.=20
      <P>The solution, in a nutshell, is to provide housing, not merely =
shelter,=20
      and mental health, addiction and other services to these =
=93customers,=94 as=20
      Mr. Mangano likes to describe them. The federal government is now=20
      investing more than $4 billion a year in this plan. But as Mr. =
Mangano=20
      points out, the savings are substantial; society is paying a much =
higher=20
      price on the homeless without any significant impact on the =
problem.=20
      <P>On Thursday, southeastern Connecticut joined nearly 300 other=20
      communities in the country in signing on to this approach, with =
the=20
      announcement of a 10-year plan to end homelessness. The plan calls =
for the=20
      development of 704 units of permanent =93supportive housing=94 for =
the=20
      homeless, with 49 of these in place by next February.=20
      <P>The plan would make available social services the tenants would =
need to=20
      recover from mental illnesses and substance abuse problems and =
find work.=20
      <P>These steps would substitute for the status quo, in which the=20
      chronically homeless can cost upwards of $50,000 a year or more =
per person=20
      for emergency room care, police services, temporary shelter, food=20
      assistance and other high maintenance costs. For considerably less =
money,=20
      Mr. Mangano argues, society can return the homeless to productive =
lives.=20
      <P>The policy calls for a large-scale collaboration among public =
agencies=20
      at all levels of government, the business sector and private =
groups. Many=20
      people have a stake in the solution, he points out, including even =

      librarians and police, who often find themselves dealing with the=20
      homeless.=20
      <P>To work, this promising effort must mobilize more than the =
usual=20
      stalwarts, the United Way, social-service agencies and faith=20
      organizations. It must be a full-scale engagement from all sectors =
of the=20
      region, including business and industry to bring this nagging and=20
      inexcusable social problem to its tipping=20
point.</P></SPAN></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></DIV>
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