Friday News Roundup: Housing First stories, elderly homelessness and our latest Take Five! interview

written by naehblog
October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween, everyone! We’ve got tricks and treats for this week’s Friday News Roundup!

A great editorial from the New Sentinel in TN about the Housing First approach (don’t know what Housing First is? Check out our blog archives!). Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett threatened to withdraw $50,000 from the county’s Ten Year Plan unless housing units banned alcohol. But, as the editorial thoughtfully points out, “To demand abstinence or psychological treatment before housing is like having your doctor tell you that you can’t have life-saving heart surgery until after you’ve changed your diet and started exercising.” Stable housing is the foundation – the very first step – to recovery of all kinds for people experiencing chronic homelessness. Kudos to the News Sentinel Editorial Board for recognizing this important fact.

You know who else knows this fact? The good people of Bergen County, NJ. In Bergen County, advocates are embracing the Housing First model to help chronically homeless people find permanent housing. Despite barriers – including, as the writer points out, alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, or physical disability (and frequently a combination) – housing is the number one priority for advocates working to end homelessness. And of the 102 homeless people the county has helped house since March 2009, not a single person has ended up back on the street. Hip hip hooray!

A hop, skip, jump away from New Jersey, our friends at Hearth in Boston are working to end elder homelessness – and it’s a good thing, too. According to our demographics brief, elder homelessness will grow by a third in ten years; double by 2050. Between the size of the baby boomer population and the current rate of elder homelessness, we’re looking at an impending crisis. Hearth can’t do it alone – we’ve all got to do our part.

And finally: the illustrious Rosanne Haggerty! The brains behind Common Ground New York and the new 100,000 Homes Campaign (and MacArthur Fellowship recipient!) shares with the Alliance her vision for ending homelessness in this month’s Take Five! interview. Take a minute to check it out!