Ending Homelessness Today — Affordable Housing
Annual Conference - Day Two
July 30, 2009
The Secretary's entourage and his security detail came by at 7 a.m. today. Herds of the 1200+ attendees of the conference mingled around the doors of the ballroom for a half hour to get a peek of the Secretary. The day began in a VERY exciting way!
And just after 8 a.m. - Secretary Shaun Donovan himself.
His remarks were inspiring and thoughtful: an emphasis on creating more affordable housing, the relationship between health care reform and the homeless, a persistent theme of the moral responsibility of our country to care for the least among us. The necessity of cooperation between the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's Department of Health and Human Services in providing services + housing for the homeless. It was everything that the audience needed to hear: a federal promise to keep investing in preventing and ending homelessness.
It's no wonder he got a standing ovation.
We'll be posting the Secretary's remarks shortly, keep an eye out on our blog and website. But for the time being, a few pics.
Next up - in under an hour! - new White House Director of Urban Affairs Policy: Adolfo Carrion.
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Homelessness: A Brief History
July 01, 2009
So, to kick things off, here’s a nice, soft introduction into how we got where we are today: Homelessness has been around pretty much since there were more people than homes (read: a long, long time). A number of national and economic events (anyone remember the Great Depression?) prompted bursts of homelessness from time to time, but local and federal authorities usually answered the need. Homelessness as we know it today surged around the 1980s. Why the 80s? Good question. Perhaps the most sensationalized - and one of the more controversial - cause of modern-day homelessness is deinstitutionalization.
The 1950s and 1960s saw a wave of activism against mental health institutions as reports of neglect, abuse, and mistreatment in such facilities became commonplace. The goal of deinstitutionalization was to move people who are mentally ill and disabled from these institutions into community-based health centers, where they would be fewer restrictions on patients and a lesser financial burden to federal and state coffers. (Popular opinion seems to fault President Reagan for deinstitionalization, but my own research has not validated that opinion.) Many argue that the effort has been unsuccessful, and that people who are mentally ill are now housed in the criminal justice system or are homeless altogether.
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