[Hpn] Cuts hurt the homeless

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Wed, 18 Jul 2007 08:35:10 -0400


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http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-homeless18jul18,0,2843495.story=
?coll=3Dla-opinion-leftrail


Cuts hurt the homeless
Eliminating money for integrated homeless services would be a step =
backward for California.


July 18, 2007


COUNTIES GET state money they can use to house the homeless. They get =
money they can spend to treat the mentally ill. But the quirks and =
aggravations of government being what they are, counties can't spend =
homeless dollars to treat the mentally ill or mental health dollars to =
house the homeless. Sound reasonable? Not if people living on the street =
need mental health treatment. Which, obviously, many do. How smart is it =
to bring a person in for treatment, then send him back to the street =
until his next appointment?

In a rare fit of common sense, Sacramento launched a pilot program in =
1999 to make tax dollars smarter by allowing them to be used for real =
people grappling with more than one problem at a time. In Los Angeles =
County, where the homeless crisis is most severe, aid for a few homeless =
became integrated - housing, drug treatment, healthcare, the works. This =
is the model for finally making progress on the homeless problem. We =
need more programs like this.

So why did Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decide earlier this year to cut =
the $55 million that now goes to 34 counties for integrated services? He =
does have to cut something, because a chasm of about $3 billion gapes =
between a balanced budget and his vision for California. But his =
solution was an age-old political shell game: Kill the program, then let =
counties duplicate it with money from the Proposition 63 "millionaires' =
tax" that voters approved three years ago.

Nice try. The initiative is supposed to expand service, not provide a =
fig leaf for eliminating it. Besides, a clause barring counties from =
using the new tax for existing programs makes that solution look legally =
dubious.=20

A legislative conference committee restored integrated services, but the =
past-due state budget puts the cut back on the table, even if just as a =
bargaining chip. Democrats say they won't let the program go, and good =
for them; but they're anxious to get a budget deal. Republicans say they =
want fiscal responsibility, and good for them; but they seem ready to =
slash just about anything.

This is a place where slashing would be foolish. Cutting integrated =
services would put formerly homeless people, now finally getting =
treatment, back on the street. Or back into jail. Instead of turning the =
corner on homelessness, California would be walking back into a dead =
end.=20











William Charles Tinker=20
New Hampshire Homeless=20
Founded 11-28-99
25 Granite Street=20
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA=20
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.=20
1-603-286-2492=20
http://www.missingkids.com=20
http://www.nationalhomeless.org=20
http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org=20
newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com=20


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<DIV>
<H1><A=20
href=3D"http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-homeless18jul18,0,28434=
95.story?coll=3Dla-opinion-leftrail">http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/=
la-ed-homeless18jul18,0,2843495.story?coll=3Dla-opinion-leftrail</A></H1>=

<H1>&nbsp;</H1>
<H1>&nbsp;</H1>
<H1>Cuts hurt the homeless</H1>
<DIV class=3Dstorysubhead>Eliminating money for integrated homeless =
services would=20
be a step backward for California.</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorysubhead>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorysubhead><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybyline>July 18, 2007</DIV><BR>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody>COUNTIES GET state money they can use to house =
the=20
homeless. They get money they can spend to treat the mentally ill. But =
the=20
quirks and aggravations of government being what they are, counties =
can't spend=20
homeless dollars to treat the mentally ill or mental health dollars to =
house the=20
homeless. Sound reasonable? Not if people living on the street need =
mental=20
health treatment. Which, obviously, many do. How smart is it to bring a =
person=20
in for treatment, then send him back to the street until his next=20
appointment?<BR><BR>In a rare fit of common sense, Sacramento launched a =
pilot=20
program in 1999 to make tax dollars smarter by allowing them to be used =
for real=20
people grappling with more than one problem at a time. In Los Angeles =
County,=20
where the homeless crisis is most severe, aid for a few homeless became=20
integrated =97 housing, drug treatment, healthcare, the works. This is =
the model=20
for finally making progress on the homeless problem. We need more =
programs like=20
this.<BR><BR>So why did Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decide earlier this =
year to=20
cut the $55 million that now goes to 34 counties for integrated =
services? He=20
does have to cut something, because a chasm of about $3 billion gapes =
between a=20
balanced budget and his vision for California. But his solution was an =
age-old=20
political shell game: Kill the program, then let counties duplicate it =
with=20
money from the Proposition 63 "millionaires' tax" that voters approved =
three=20
years ago.<BR><BR>Nice try. The initiative is supposed to expand =
service, not=20
provide a fig leaf for eliminating it. Besides, a clause barring =
counties from=20
using the new tax for existing programs makes that solution look legally =

dubious. <BR><BR>A legislative conference committee restored integrated=20
services, but the past-due state budget puts the cut back on the table, =
even if=20
just as a bargaining chip. Democrats say they won't let the program go, =
and good=20
for them; but they're anxious to get a budget deal. Republicans say they =
want=20
fiscal responsibility, and good for them; but they seem ready to slash =
just=20
about anything.<BR><BR>This is a place where slashing would be foolish. =
Cutting=20
integrated services would put formerly homeless people, now finally =
getting=20
treatment, back on the street. Or back into jail. Instead of turning the =
corner=20
on homelessness, California would be walking back into a dead end. =
</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dstorybody><FONT face=3DArial =
size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>William Charles Tinker <BR>New =
Hampshire Homeless=20
<BR>Founded 11-28-99<BR>25 Granite Street <BR>Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 =
USA=20
<BR>Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights. =
<BR>1-603-286-2492=20
<BR><A =
href=3D"http://www.missingkids.com">http://www.missingkids.com</A> =
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.nationalhomeless.org">http://www.nationalhomeless.org<=
/A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"http://www.newhampshirehomeless.org">http://www.newhampshirehomel=
ess.org</A>=20
<BR><A=20
href=3D"mailto:newhampshirehomeless-subscribe@topica.com">newhampshirehom=
eless-subscribe@topica.com</A>=20
</FONT></DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
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