Mayor's Conference Report--Letter Eight

GMountain@aol.com
Tue, 2 Feb 1999 01:34:28 EST


Here's the first of two reports, based on the Mayors' conference's 1998 report
on hunger and homelessness, on Exemplary Programs around the country for the
fighting of homelessness:

Exemplary Programs
Among the comments from the city officials on an exemplary program or effort
underway which prevents or responds to the problems of homelessness:
Boston: Transitions to Work Collaborative was funded by the City using HUD
McKinney resources. It is a collaborative between family shelters and the Job
Training Alliance. Theprogram was Mayor Menino's number one priority for
funding to assist homeless families facing the welfare reform time limits.
Women in shelter are provided access to educational and job training programs.
The goal is to help women have the tools and skills necessary to acquire jobs
that will provide a living wage when their two year time limit comes up.
Clean Corners, Bright Hopes was also funded by the City using HUD McKinney
resources, Mayor Menino was able to raise additional resources for Clean
Corners, Bright Hopes by asking the Boston Red Sox to support this program.
The program provides homeless single adults with on the job training. There
are many homeless single men and women who are not disabled but do not have
the skills necessary to get jobs. This job helps them with counseling and
economic literacy. It also teaches them what employers want in a worker -- a
good attitude and reliability. This program has helped many adults get
permanent employment and housing.
Burlington: COTS Streetwork Program is a social service program located in
COTS Daystation. The program is closely linked with the Homeless HealthCare
Project, which provides primary medical care, maternal and child health care,
dental care, vocational counseling, basic education, and substance abuse
counseling. In 1997, we served 700 persons through the Streetwork Program.
WHBW provides many supportive services to women once they leave shelter and
establish permanent housing. Our goal is to help them maintain their housing.
Charleston: The Humanities Foundation is a private non-profit organization
which began a program called Shelter Net just a few short years ago. Shelter
Net provides funds to individuals and families in an effort to prevent them
from becoming homeless. Shelter Net will help a client catch up on back rent
to avoid eviction, or they will help a currently homeless family or individual
with the startup money needed to move into an apartment. They have also been
known to help with other needs such as funds for limited daycare, medication
and furniture, to name a few. The money to start the Shelter Net program was
raised by one person who went around banging on the doors of companies with
some pretty deep pockets. The Humanities Foundation is also responsible for
creating projects that have built affordable apartments for the working poor
and people with special needs.Chicago: The City of Chicago's continuum-of-care
concept offers a holistic approach to homelessness, providing a network of
services to strengthen the safety net and address the many factors that can
cause homelessness, including poverty, mental illness, lack of job skills,
etc. These services are essential in building the long-range skills that
enable the individual to achieve his or her potential.
Additionally, the Chicago Department of Human Service is in the process of
implementing several new initiatives which will further complement the
existing continuum of care. The indicated initiatives will include but are not
limited to: the establishment of a family assessment center, the merging of
supportive service centers and overnight shelter facilities into full
day(24-hour) program, the creation of mentoring programs for homeless and/or
formerly homeless persons, the creation of linkages with City Colleges to
promote educational activities among the homeless and the placement of
homeless individuals into vacant Chicago Housing Authority apartments.
Cleveland: The Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services was
formed to coordinate local homeless assistance activities and facilitate the
creation of a continuum of services approach incorporating prevention,
outreach, emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent housing with
supportive services. The Office of Homeless Services has worked to identify
gaps in the homeless services system and to develop resources to fill those
gaps. Much of its work has been on established supportive housing options
designed to allow long-term homeless persons to obtain and keep permanent
housing. The Horizons for the Homeless program has enabled 400 homeless
families, that have successfully completed a transitional housing program, to
obtain affordable permanent housing with follow-up case management. Over 670
homeless persons with mental illness, substance abuse problems or AIDS have
received permanent housing linked to services through the Shelter Plus Care
Program.


Tomorrow:  more exemplary programs, according to the Mayors.

Ron Grunberg