Can downtowns serve homeless & business too?/CCNV lease expiring

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 15 Nov 1998 22:51:01 -0400


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Can downtowns serve homeless people & business owners too?

Do collaborations between businesses, providers and advocates generally
serve homeless people's interests?

What do you think of the approach outlined in the article below, to wit:

"Programs that fed the homeless outdoors are joining with downtown
businesses to establish comprehensive indoor service centers, where men and
women are offered case management and direction, as well as food and
comfort."

Good idea?  Bad Idea?  Why?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1998-11/15/157l-111598-idx.html
FWD   Washington Post  Sunday, November 15, 1998; Page C08


BEYOND FOOD AND SHELTER

Robert L. E. Egger, director of D.C. Central Kitchen


On Dec. 31, 2000, the lease on the city's largest homeless shelter, the
Federal City Shelter, operated by the Community for Creative Non-Violence,
will expire. The future of this aging complex adjacent to Washington's "New
Downtown" -- as well as the future of the 1,400 men, women and children who
reside there daily -- lies at the heart of a debate that is being played
out in cities across the country.

Can those who seek a "clean and safe" downtown work toward a common purpose
with those who serve the "down and out" who often live there?

Historically, these two groups have been at odds. Those who would develop
the downtown have been depicted as unconscientious profiteers who would
sweep the street of the homeless rather than deal with the larger issues
their presence demands. Those who serve the homeless have been dismissed as
anti-business activists whose outdated social agendas have left people
panhandling, drinking, using drugs and, all too often, freezing to death in
the streets.

Thankfully for Washingtonians with or without homes, the temperament and
leadership of both sides are changing.

Realizing that the times demand a broader vision, representatives of both
movements are attempting to create real change in Washington. They are
unfettered by stereotypes, challenged by innovative public-private
partnerships in other cities and led by a new generation of pragmatic
for-profit and nonprofit leaders.

These leaders are responding to the men and women who live and work in our
city, pay taxes and donate, generously, through their churches,
associations and the United Way/Combined Federal Campaign. These are the
men and women who "answered the call" and volunteered by the tens of
thousands over the past 12 years. They have served meals, distributed
clothing, delivered blankets and opened their houses of worship to provide
shelter.

During this time, we have learned firsthand about the roots of
homelessness. We learned that the homeless are much more than men and women
who "missed two paychecks." We have come to understand that, for all our
best intentions, we aren't helping those who sleep outside by bringing them
food night after night. We have seen how few programs address core issues,
such as substance abuse, mental illness and lack of job skills. Most
important, we have concluded that neither answers nor opportunities exist
in warehouse shelters.

In what is a testimony to the largess of our community, this knowledge has
not led people to quit volunteering and donating or to lose faith that
solutions do exist. Instead, many have sought and found -- and some founded
-- a new generation of nonprofit programs that are run like businesses.
With aggressive leadership and front-line staff committed to
entrepreneurial approaches, these programs focus on long-term solutions to
create an integrated network of services that addresses not just the
symptoms but the roots causes of homelessness.

For example:

Programs that fed the homeless outdoors are joining with downtown
businesses to establish comprehensive indoor service centers, where men and
women are offered case management and direction, as well as food and
comfort.

Traditional overnight emergency shelters now offer structured daytime
programs for those individuals ready to begin addressing the issues that
keep them separated from family and society.

Public and private job training programs are working with substance abuse
programs and transitional housing groups to identify those ready to commit
to full-time schedules. Employers are actively helping design and teach
courses that give people skills they can use, for jobs that exist, at wages
that afford independence.

Groups that supply independent living support are developing partnerships
and strategies for people whose limited experience forces them to accept
jobs at minimum wage. These programs now link child care, food and
transportation services, so that the newly employed have the resources to
make ends meet until their skill levels command higher compensation.

Washingtonians of every creed, color and income level want to address
homelessness in a meaningful way, and they want to do it now. Yet they are
equally clear about the future: They know that neither Band-Aid approaches
or status quo programs will solve this problem.

It is now time for city leaders to convene an independent planning
committee to evaluate the existing Federal City Shelter, review examples
from other cities and develop a plan that not only ensures continuing
services when the lease expires but also details comprehensive new programs
that will truly help the residents -- our neighbors -- make the most of our
city's many opportunities. It must be a plan that upholds the highest
ideals of the nonprofit tradition while at the same time incorporating
business strategies that demonstrate that, in Washington, we are committed
to fighting homelessness with our heads as well as our hearts.

-- Robert L. E. Egger  is director of D.C. Central Kitchen, which provides
meals and job training

END FORWARD
-
** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page
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Can downtowns serve homeless people & business owners too?


Do collaborations between businesses, providers and advocates
generally

serve homeless people's interests?


What do you think of the approach outlined in the article below, to
wit:


"Programs that fed the homeless outdoors are joining with downtown
businesses to establish comprehensive indoor service centers, where men
and women are offered case management and direction, as well as food
and comfort."


Good idea?  Bad Idea?  Why?


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1998-11/15/157l-111598-idx.html

FWD   Washington Post  Sunday, November 15, 1998; Page C08



<paraindent><param>right,left</param>BEYOND FOOD AND SHELTER


Robert L. E. Egger, director of D.C. Central Kitchen

</paraindent>


On Dec. 31, 2000, the lease on the city's largest homeless shelter, the
Federal City Shelter, operated by the Community for Creative
Non-Violence, will expire. The future of this aging complex adjacent to
Washington's "New Downtown" -- as well as the future of the 1,400 men,
women and children who reside there daily -- lies at the heart of a
debate that is being played out in cities across the country.


Can those who seek a "clean and safe" downtown work toward a common
purpose with those who serve the "down and out" who often live there?


Historically, these two groups have been at odds. Those who would
develop the downtown have been depicted as unconscientious profiteers
who would sweep the street of the homeless rather than deal with the
larger issues their presence demands. Those who serve the homeless have
been dismissed as anti-business activists whose outdated social agendas
have left people panhandling, drinking, using drugs and, all too often,
freezing to death in the streets.


Thankfully for Washingtonians with or without homes, the temperament
and leadership of both sides are changing.


Realizing that the times demand a broader vision, representatives of
both movements are attempting to create real change in Washington. They
are unfettered by stereotypes, challenged by innovative public-private
partnerships in other cities and led by a new generation of pragmatic
for-profit and nonprofit leaders. 


These leaders are responding to the men and women who live and work in
our city, pay taxes and donate, generously, through their churches,
associations and the United Way/Combined Federal Campaign. These are
the men and women who "answered the call" and volunteered by the tens
of thousands over the past 12 years. They have served meals,
distributed clothing, delivered blankets and opened their houses of
worship to provide shelter.


During this time, we have learned firsthand about the roots of
homelessness. We learned that the homeless are much more than men and
women who "missed two paychecks." We have come to understand that, for
all our best intentions, we aren't helping those who sleep outside by
bringing them food night after night. We have seen how few programs
address core issues, such as substance abuse, mental illness and lack
of job skills. Most important, we have concluded that neither answers
nor opportunities exist in warehouse shelters.


In what is a testimony to the largess of our community, this knowledge
has not led people to quit volunteering and donating or to lose faith
that solutions do exist. Instead, many have sought and found -- and
some founded -- a new generation of nonprofit programs that are run
like businesses. With aggressive leadership and front-line staff
committed to entrepreneurial approaches, these programs focus on
long-term solutions to create an integrated network of services that
addresses not just the symptoms but the roots causes of homelessness.


For example:


Programs that fed the homeless outdoors are joining with downtown
businesses to establish comprehensive indoor service centers, where men
and women are offered case management and direction, as well as food
and comfort.


Traditional overnight emergency shelters now offer structured daytime
programs for those individuals ready to begin addressing the issues
that keep them separated from family and society.


Public and private job training programs are working with substance
abuse programs and transitional housing groups to identify those ready
to commit to full-time schedules. Employers are actively helping design
and teach courses that give people skills they can use, for jobs that
exist, at wages that afford independence.


Groups that supply independent living support are developing
partnerships and strategies for people whose limited experience forces
them to accept jobs at minimum wage. These programs now link child
care, food and transportation services, so that the newly employed have
the resources to make ends meet until their skill levels command higher
compensation.


Washingtonians of every creed, color and income level want to address
homelessness in a meaningful way, and they want to do it now. Yet they
are equally clear about the future: They know that neither Band-Aid
approaches or status quo programs will solve this problem.


It is now time for city leaders to convene an independent planning
committee to evaluate the existing Federal City Shelter, review
examples from other cities and develop a plan that not only ensures
continuing services when the lease expires but also details
comprehensive new programs that will truly help the residents -- our
neighbors -- make the most of our city's many opportunities. It must be
a plan that upholds the highest ideals of the nonprofit tradition while
at the same time incorporating business strategies that demonstrate
that, in Washington, we are committed to fighting homelessness with our
heads as well as our hearts.


-- Robert L. E. Egger  is director of D.C. Central Kitchen, which
provides meals and job training


END FORWARD

-

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink.net>

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