Archive for March 22nd, 2010
Although people often argue that ending homelessness is impossible, the truth is we’ve already made real progress. Consider chronic homelessness: between 2005 and 2007, the number of people experiencing chronic homeless dropped by 30 percent – 30 percent! – and this population tends to have serious, often debilitating disabilities.
Since then, progress has slowed and the economy has stalled. But in that time, we’ve learned a lot about what works.
And now is the time to finish what we started.
At our Congressional Briefing on Ending Chronic Homelessness tomorrow (Tuesday, March 23) at 10 a.m., we’ll advise and educate Congressional staff, local and national stakeholders, and others about chronic homelessness: what it is, how we fight it, and what the federal government can do about it.
Alliance president Nan Roman and Katrina van Valkenburgh of the Corporation for Supportive Housing will be joined by Thomas Gregory of the Office of the City Manager in Worcester, MA, and Paul Lambros of the Plymouth Housing Group in Seattle, WA. Plus, a DC resident and former client at Pathways to Housing – a DC homeless services program – will share his story.
Moving forward will require a serious federal investment, particularly through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs. President Obama’s FY2011 budget recommendations also include an exciting collaboration program between HUD and the Department of Health and Human Services. This integrated approach – housing + supportive services – is one of the key strategies to helping people out of homelessness.
Our latest research shows this approach – also known as permanent supportive housing – not only gives people a place to live, but provides significant cost savings to the public. That idea – the idea that permanent supportive housing is more cost-efficient than a system of emergency shelters – is one that never fails to compel and surprise those new to the issue. Not only is homelessness a problem with a clear solution, but that solution is both morally and fiscally sound.
If you’re in DC, you’re welcome to join us! The briefing is at the Capitol Visitors Center in Room HVC-200. You can RSVP to Amanda Krusemark, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday marked an important moment in American legislative history.
Last night (so late it was almost early this morning), the U.S. House of Representatives passed health care reform legislation. The hotly-contested legislation endured fierce debate up to the very end, and the final bill passed without any Republican support.
While it may not be readily apparent, the health care reform bill has a significant effects on the homeless population. Among many other things, this legislation expands Medicaid eligibility to include people with incomes of up to 133 percent of the poverty level, covering nearly all people experiencing homelessness.
Moreover, the legislation will also provide approximately $10 billion for community health centers for Fiscal Years (FY) 2011 through 2015. Typically, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allocates 8.7 percent of total community health center funding toward the Health Care for the Homeless program, which can be used to provide services to people in permanent supportive housing. The health care legislation also expands early childhood home visitation programs, which provide parent education, child development, and support services to low-income, at-risk young children and their families.
President Obama has said he plans to sign the legislation on Tuesday, March 23.
P.S. We made the video above last summer, when the healthcare reform debate was just heating up, but it still does a pretty adequate job of wrapping up how the two are related and why health care reform matters to homelessness. Let us know what you think…