Welcome Homeless Home

At the start of the year (1-5-16) Rebecca McCray at Takepart.com headlined “One of America’s Poorest Cities Is Close to Ending Chronic Homelessness”. McCray writes “Advocates in Buffalo, New York, working to end homelessness in their city are crowing about an exciting new number: 22. That’s how many chronically homeless people are living on the streets as of early January, and the number is still falling, according to Dale Zuchlewski, executive director of the Homeless Alliance of Western New York.” A program entitled “Housing First” provides the homeless with, you guessed it, a permanent home. “By getting people into permanent, subsidized housing as quickly as possible with the help of grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Zuchlewski and other advocates have found that people are more likely to stay off the streets than if they are made to wait while resolving other issues. “There was an old belief that people had to be ready for housing—you had to be clean and sober, you had to be taking all your medication, you had to be seeing a primary care physician,” Zuchlewski said. “When you look at the general population, very few people are like that.” In other words, it’s easier to address problems like substance abuse and mental illness with the aid of a caseworker after the most basic need—shelter—has been met.” Analysis notes today’s The Independent headlining “One US city has found a unique solution for its homeless problem” by Feliks Garcia (4-6-16). At the other end of the country, in Texas, “Community First Village (CFV) opened in Austin on Saturday with the hopes of alleviating some of the capital city’s troubles with homelessness. The nonprofit organization aims to house 250 people in its 140 of its so-called “tiny homes” by the end of 2017.” “The initiative is run by veteran homeless advocate Alan Graham, who serves as CEO of the Christian organization Mobile Loaves & Fishes behind CFV.” ““I got the idea that we could lift a chronically homeless individual up off the streets into a gently used recreational vehicle,” he said. “I had this wild and crazy idea to develop an RV park on steroids.”” “The tiny homes will primarily function as bedrooms, while the community offers shared kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry facilities.” “Mr Graham, who was not immediately available for comment, believes that his efforts to help the homeless will relieve the economic burden placed on Austin taxpayers”. While at the other end of the country “In Buffalo, for example, supportive housing costs roughly $50 per night, according to Zuchlewski. Meanwhile, a night in jail or the emergency room—where many homeless people wind up—could cost $150 or $1,500, respectively.” Analysis can’t help but wonder if you couldn’t do that with a giant market basket? Welcome home!

Today Reuters reports “Voting rights advocates sue over Ohio’s voter roll purge process” (Brendan O’Brien, 4-6-16). “In their lawsuit filed in federal court in Ohio, the American Civil Liberties Union and advocacy group Demos accused Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted of breaking federal voter registration law. They want the court to order the state to stop using its current process to purge voter rolls, according to court records.” “The lawsuit said that over the past several years, Ohio voters were illegally removed from the rolls if they failed to cast a ballot in three consecutive federal elections or in the intervening local elections, or for failing to complete a change-of-address form and send it back to the state.” What’s the Secretary of State’s reasoning? “”This lawsuit is politically motivated, election-year politics, is a waste of taxpayer dollars and opens the door for voter fraud in Ohio,” Husted said.” And Husted should know a thing or two about fraud having survived a challenge regarding his own housing when he and his family lived in Upper Arlington while claiming to be residents of the district he represented in Dayton by “owning” a vacant house there (a homeless home!). Another good reason for Housing First – along with a slew of other things, you can’t vote without a home address.

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