More state budgets in the news again: Massachusetts estimates it will have spent $29 million in motel bills for homeless families by June 30, the end of their fiscal year. A new program called HomeBASE is slated to start July 1 which will provide 60 percent of families facing homelessness with housing rather than shelter. Hopefully, the program will prevent family homelessness in the first place, avoid the high cost of homelessness for both the family and the state.
California is considering redefining who is eligible for supportive housing assistance, to make sure the most intensive (and expensive) services are going to those who really need them. This is a great way to help more people with the same resources you already have – we call it “targeting.” You can find out more about targeting at our National Conference on Ending Homelessness – are you coming?
An article about a program taking the housing first approach to ending chronic homelessness in West Virginia included this great quote:
“This was a pretty radical philosophy when we first started because it was different from the way people had always dealt with homelessness. Normally, we expect people to get a job and get sober to get help. What they need is a place to live first and foremost,” said Corey Ingram, development and public relations manager for the Cabell-Huntington Coalition for the Homeless. “With this, we give people a place to live first and then place those support services around them.”
And finally, the Alliance made a little news of our own this week when we released a progress report on the one-year anniversary of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. While we applaud the U.S. Interagency Council for their bold ambitions, we observed a distinct lack of real progress in the first year. If we’re going to end homelessness, we have to commit to making the hard changes; investing in affordable housing, economic opportunities, and systems change. It’s hard work but together, we can do it.