Mayor's Conference Report--Letter Nine

GMountain@aol.com
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 01:02:25 EST


Today we look at Part Two of a summary of Exemplary Programs to deal with
homelessness, as reported by the US Mayors Conference in their 1998 annual
report on Hunger and Homelessness (available, in summary form, free at
USMAYORS.org, the full report of which at the same site, for $15).

Denver: The state of Colorado has had a voluntary tax check-off program for
the prevention of homelessness for the last seven years. Denver is one of the
beneficiaries of this program through various community based organizations.
Detroit: The close partnership between the City of Detroit and the
Detroit/Wayne County Homeless Network is a coalition of over 230 organizations
which advocate for and provide shelter, housing and services to homeless
individuals and families in the Metropolitan Detroit area. The membership of
the network represents government, service providers, advocacy organizations,
homeless and formerly homeless individuals and concerned citizens. Various
committees of the network meet throughout the year to review continuum-of-care
plans in light of the ever changing reality of homelessness and the inventory
of services available to address the needs of this population.
Kansas City: In the past year, the Homeless Services Coalition of Greater
Kansas City (HSC) accepted the challenge to become the "lead agency" for
Kansas City's Continuum of Care a HUD driven model for communities to
coordinate their responses to homelessness. To more effectively address the
ongoing needs of homeless people in the Kansas City area, HSC recently engaged
in a strategic planning process. As a result, the coalition consisting of more
than 30 homeless service providers and government agencies, developed a
comprehensive and coordinated five-year plan. The plan is to develop the
Coalition into an organization that: 1) is clearly recognized in the community
as a leading voice for homeless issues; 2) facilitates a more effective
program and service delivery system for the homeless; and 3) enhances
community awareness and participation in breaking the cycle of homelessness.
Louisville: The 1998 Louisville/Jefferson County Continuum of Care Plan (The
Plan), developed by the Louisville/Jefferson County Coalition for the
Homeless, in partnership with theCity of Louisville and Jefferson County
County Community Development in 1994, is the collaborative effort of
government agencies, the shelter providers, and supportive service agencies
committed to ending the plight of more than 11,000 homeless individuals and
families in the area. The mission, goals, and action steps of the 1998 Plan
are discussed with shelter staff and service providers at various weekly
committee meetings, monthly Coalition board meetings, and at Resident Issues
Forums. Updating the 1998 Plan is an ongoing process with meetings scheduled
throughout the year to review, coordinate, and assess the comprehensive and
integrated services offered in the areas of prevention, outreach, intake,
assessment, emergency shelters, transitional housing, permanent housing, and
service-enriched permanent housing. The Coalition conducted its annual Needs
Survey; the results were presented to the community in a public forum and
analyzed gaps in the delivery of service were scrutinized and rated. New and
renewal projects meeting those gaps were reviewed and evaluated.
Miami: The Community Partnership for the Homeless and the opening of it's
additional center in the Southern area.
Nashville: Shelter Plus Care, a HUD-funded program, has brought to Nashville
critical rent subsidies for homeless people with three targeted disabilities:
chronic mental illness; chronic addiction; and/or AIDS. This provides to
agencies the access they need to affordable housing for the homeless people
they work with, while holding the agencies responsible for providing necessary
support services to assure that the people can remain stable and maintain
independent living.
New Orleans: April 21st marked the opening of a new transitional housing for
families and unaccompanied women in a beautifully renovated former elementary
school at the corner of First and Baronne Streets in the central city. Built
in 1879, this 30,000 square foot building now provides housing and supportive
services for up to 18 families (including intact families, single parent male
headed households, and families with teenage boys.) Catholic Charities
Archdiocese of New Orleans operates this program on the second floor. Lindy's
Place provided transitional housing and supportive services for 36
unaccompanied women, occupying the third floor. Both agencies share space on
the ground floor, working in a true collaboration to provide quality, cost
effective services. The building was renovated by First Commerce Community
Development Corporation in partnership with UNITY housing and Chevron. The
Freeport Foundation provided $1.25 million for this project.
Norfolk: Last year the Mayor appointed a Task Force on Homelessness which was
comprised of community leaders, homeless providers, non-profits, the faith
community, business leaders, the academic community and homeless persons. The
Task Force Report presented this fall made the following recommendations.:
1 The creation of an advisory committee to look at issues of homelessness on
an ongoing basis . 2. Support regional responses to homelessness. 3. The
implementation of a public education program about homelessness.Philadelphia:
In response to a recently passed Sidewalk Behavior Ordinance which restricts
sitting, lying and soliciting funds on the sidewalks of Philadelphia, the City
has begun an initiative to engage and assist those individuals who have
traditionally been resistant to seeking shelter, living instead on the
streets. The number of mental health and substance addiction outreach teams
working on the streets has been doubled. A new model in which the outreach
teams also function as case managers has been adopted. Teams are assigned to
specific clients and are responsible for establishing a relationship with the
client while he or she is on the street that continues even as the client
moves into a residential placement. All outreach activity will be coordinated
through the non-profit Outreach Coordination Center where a new management
information system to improve client tracking will be installed.
Several new residential facilities that are specifically designed for this
population have been developed. These relatively small (25-person) facilities
are low demand. Also, additional supported independent living capacity is
being added to the end of the services continuum which will free up entry-
level openings within the current mental health and drug treatment residential
systems.
A mobile behavioral health assessment team and a group of set-aside beds with
specialized behavioral health supports have been added to the City shelter
system. Also a day program has been established for walk-in and short term
clients at the City's largest shelter for males. Finally, the police, who will
be responsible for enforcing the new legislation, are being trained in
conjunction with the outreach teams.
Phoenix: Another Chance is a new program which targets housing and supportive
services to 120 alcohol and/or drug abusing single homeless people in downtown
Phoenix. Participants receive up to 4 months of intensive outpatient
alcohol/drug abuse treatment. Housing options provided through the program
include transitional, bridge, and scattered site permanent supportive housing.
Case management is provided through a five-phase model of survival, interim,
transitional, stabilization and follow-up.
San Antonio: San Antonio's Continuum of Care continues to identify gaps in
services for homeless families and individuals. This collaboration of homeless
service providers has successfully secured federal funding to address the
myriad of issues homeless persons face as well as increase the amount of
affordable housing. The Continuum strengthens its ability to combat
homelessness by creating linkages between homeless service providers and
mainstream service providers outside the community. The San Antonio Area
Homeless Action Coalition is a grassroots organization designed to address the
needs of the homeless by bringing attention to homeless issues in a forum that
includes a diverse membership, ranging from social workers to government
officials. The Coalition educates the public through various publications and
programs designed to bolster awareness regarding homelessness.
Santa Monica: The Santa Monica Police Department maintains a four-person unit,
known as the Homeless Liaison Program (HLP) team, who provide outreach to the
homeless, link them upwith community resources, as well as provide social
service interventions when businesses or residents have problems or concerns
with homeless people in their neighborhoods.
Seattle: Since 1994, the City of Seattle has coordinated a Continuum of Care
(C of C) system with King County to ensure a regional approach to
homelessness. A cornerstone is the partnership between our governments and the
Seattle-King County Coalition for the Homeless with strong community
participation of the C of C is a foundation for city and county budgets; joint
application for McKinney funds; distribution of CDBG, ESG and City of Seattle
funds; and development of both consolidated plans ranging from prevention
efforts, street outreach and emergency shelter to long-term support services
and permanent affordable housing, the C of C system allows homeless people to
move from street or shelters into permanent housing and to receive the support
they need to eliminate or maintain the underlying causes of their
homelessness. Our region's C of C will be jeopardized by an inability to renew
prior projects and flat or reduced funding.
St. Louis: The St. Patrick Center Employment Services Building Employment
Skills for Tomorrow (BEST) work training program is a supportive services
program which boosts self-esteem and facilitates the integration of homeless
persons back into the community through job development, job readiness, job
placement and follow-up. It is directed toward homeless individuals who reside
in the City of St. Louis and those homeless individuals with a history of
chemical dependency and/or mental illness. See attached "Monthly Activity
Report".
St. Paul: St. Paul Housing Inspectors, when called to a unit without basic
facilities such as electricity, water, heat, activate a special "House Calls"
team to work with the occupants and to restore the basic services and thereby
avoid a building condemnation with the subsequent "vacation of the building."
Trenton: DCA has 80 slots available for temporary rental assistance for three
year period for TANF clients who come off of assistance due to employment.
This is only for the months of October, November and December. However, if
they qualified it is a benefit to assist clients in maintaining their housing
while they adapt to employment and hopefully achieve increased salary over the
three-year period.


That concludes a pretty comprehensive summary of the 1998 mayors' report on
hunger and homelessness.  To repeat, the full version is in .pdf format and
available online at usmayors.org (for $15), or --for free--the summary report
is available at that website as well.


Ron Grunberg