Start your Memorial Day weekend by reading “Honoring our veterans can begin with housing.” Here, the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Deborah De Santis not only reminds us how important it is to end homelessness among veterans, but she also reminds us that we know how to do it:
The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Congressional Committees that authorize its programs should immediately consider how they can better utilize Housing First to move chronically homeless veterans off the streets, out of the shelters and into permanent supportive housing…
Creating permanent supportive housing for veterans, utilizing Housing First and other models, is not only the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.
For more on veterans’ homeless, listen to Housing our vets on Where we live.
Speaking of permanent supportive housing, check out “Shelter’s the fool’s gold in the pursuit to end homelessness”, a piece in Street Roots by Heather Lyons. In response to the announcement that Portland is planning to open a 100-bed shelter, she makes a pretty airtight argument for housing over shelter:
I just read that the city is providing 100 new shelter beds for individuals as part of “a campaign to strategically reduce the number of homeless people in Portland.” That’s like opening two new emergency departments because cancer is on the rise. Like emergency departments, shelters serve a very important purpose, but they do not end homelessness for very many people, unless they are connected to various types of housing and services.
I guarantee that opening new shelter beds will not reduce homelessness.
Individual stories are perhaps the most powerful argument for permanent housing. Rich and Elizabeth Lombino shared Gina’s story on Change.org’s End Homelessness blog this week. After struggling with incarceration and addiction, Gina finally had her own home for the first time at age 57:
After a few more months of apartment searching and jumping through some administrative hoops, the day finally came for Gina to move in. The next day, she came to see Elizabeth. Through tears in her eyes, Gina spoke of the pure joy she felt at having her own apartment. She felt truly free and alive. She had accomplished a dream that she never thought would come true for her. She spoke at length about the incredible feeling of having her own key and a door to open with it. She said, “I always hoped I would have my own key to my own home. Now I have it. Putting that key in the door of my apartment is the best feeling.”