Busy day ahead for HAMO, which includes running after toddlers, bringing home some bacon, and getting out our FIRST ever news release!
Several suggestions might move us further and faster in the right direction:
Ignore the “magnet effect:” This persistent myth only undermines our efforts to provide comprehensive, cost-effective and, yes, compassionate solutions to homelessness. Anecdotal evidence supported the mistaken view that Sacramento’s encampment was attracting homeless people from around the nation. However, research here and elsewhere is consistent with an extensive 2006 study that found more than three-quarters of the thousands of homeless people surveyed were still living in the community where they became homeless.
Avoid so-called temporary responses: Trailers on school playgrounds were called “temporary” classrooms before they became “portables,” even though they never move. Likewise, emergency shelters and tent cities that are presented as temporary inevitably become permanent. Approaching homelessness as if it were a short-term catastrophe like a flood is itself a recipe for disaster; yet a primary funder is none other than the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Say good-bye to Horatio Alger: His rags-to-riches stories from the late 1800s shaped our society’s view that achievement results from diligent effort, and failure from the opposite. But examinging the circumstances of latter-day cultural icons from the Beatles to Bill Gates, Malcolm Gladwell debunks this model of personal success. His latest book,Outliers, cites researchers who tracked highly intelligent people for decades. Their conclusion: accomplishment is “less about talent than about opportunity.”
Change the rules: Federal policy and funding concentrates on the chronically homeless in a way that denies homeless parents with children the equal protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Another misguided regulation makes homeless people with addictions who do not pursue residential treatment eligible for long-term housing programs and rent subsidies; those who do seek such treatment are denied access to those resources.
Thoughts on these suggestions? Post your comments below.
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