P1. It seems counterintuitive that the wealthiest country in the world happens to be plagued with an epidemic of homelessness. Luckily, people like Rosanne Haggerty, the founder of the nonprofit Common Ground, take on this battle for a living. Common Ground transformed a condemned Times Square hotel into a home for 650 former homeless and low-income tenants and is now embarking on a nationwide campaign. Despite progress, Common Ground realized that the homeless epidemic was not going down without a fight. The number of homeless still wandering New York City made Haggerty question her next step. Her solution? A former U.S. Army special operations officer Becky Kanis, who excels at accomplishing missions.
P2. Together, they decided that Common Ground needed to take the fight to the people. Representatives from the group would go out and interview homeless citizens to give them a rating from 0-8. The higher the number, the more of a priority they would become for the nonprofit. The logic behind this is that those in dire need of shelter would be prioritized giving those more capable an opportunity to pick themselves up.
P3. Common Ground is not unique in that it has received some harsh criticism. Some say they are avoiding the real issue of unaffordable housing, others say that it’s not making a dent in the epidemic. While the dent may not be huge, it is clear that this organization is leaving its footprint. With its mission now going national, over 70 cities have agreed to participate in the program and about 7500 people now have a home nationwide. Common Ground has now embarked on a journey to house 100,000 people within the next three years and I have faith their mission will be accomplished!
P1. It seems counterintuitive that some of the most sophisticated cities in the world have the highest levels of homelessness since the Great Depression. The country has tried to battle this epidemic since its founding but to little success. Luckily, Sam Tsemberis pinpointed the problem and started Pathways to Housing, an organization to change how the homeless receive housing.
P2. Instead of forcing the homeless to become clean of all drugs and alcohol before they received housing, it was Sam’s idea to provide the housing first. He figured that once someone had shelter, they could start improving their own lives. Pathways to Housing started an initiative to provided housing to 242 homeless citizens as a test and results proved this could be the solution.
P3. The road block became convincing the government that it would be a good thing to provide the homeless free housing without a mandate for them to quit using illegal substances or drinking. Matt Minkevitch and Kerry Bate, both of who play a massive role in the homeless shelters of Salt Lake City, knew that this battle needed a higher entity. Lloyd Pendleton, an executive manager for the LDS Church Welfare Department, was then called upon. Pendleton was able to bring the influence of the church to the free housing quest. Church leadership was crucial in convincing the conservative government that this would work along with being a major supplier of food, supplies, and furniture.
P4. Pendleton then made it his mission to place all chronic homeless citizens into housing by the year 2015. With donations from the church and grants from the government, he was only 267 people away from achieving his goal with a year to go. The program proved a success as the cost for these homeless people proved a steady decline. Some say that if things are provided to people for free, others will stop working and cash in on the free stuff. Others say that the government has no place in giving other people money to those who didn’t earn it. I hope that the majority of America will look at this and see that Salt Lake City eradicated its chronic homelessness. The new mission is to share this solution with all of the cities plagued by chronic homelessness.
Make Homelessness History
P1. It seems counterintuitive that even in this day and age, homelessness is looked at as an inconvenience. Through this false narrative, a nonprofit, Common Ground, was born. The mission of this nonprofit along with 20 other organizations that focus on homelessness, is to house 100,000 chronically homeless people by 2013. 64 communities have now joined the effort and they are projecting to house 98,000 from their current position. But the organizers say they are just getting started.
P2. This mission not only assists those without a home, but also the community who pays for the homeless’s frequent visits to hospitals and shelters. Los Angeles, for example, has 4,800 chronically homeless people. This only accounts for 10% of the cities homeless people yet this 10% accounts for over 500 million dollars in money spent on the homeless. By putting these chronically homeless into housing, their cost to the community would be cut by 40%.
P3. Knowing this is the next step was made made clear by an organization called Pathways to Housing that used the Philosophy of “Housing First.” This meant that instead of expecting people to be free of drugs and alcohol before they accept the housing, the housing was used as a tool to free people of drugs and alcohol. Thanks to this approach, the solution to the countries homeless epidemic has a solution in sight. The new problem lies with the red tape of government. Jumping this next hurdle will require working with the several different agencies that the government has in place to properly channel the money where it’s appropriate. The level of confusion that followed the system made it difficult for those in need to receive the aide they deserved.
P4. Through battling misconceptions about how the homeless should be treated and trying to cut through the red tape of the government, a plan is in action to eradicate homelessness. Disagreements and negativity would have thought to have been prevalent during this processes but just the opposite has happened. The organization helped volunteers get to know the homeless as people, not as a nuisance. With that bond, people have been going out of their way to help a friend, not a homeless person. This has proven results. This push has taken major steps in eradicating the issue of homelessness and I for one, will support it every step of the way