Friday News Roundup: Making Progress

written by Anna Blasco
October 15, 2010

This week we have heard some powerful arguments for Housing First and supportive housing.

Our good friends Rosanne Haggerty of Common Ground in New York and Martha Kegel of UNITY in New Orleans authored a fantastic piece in defense of supportive housing. A proposed project in New Orleans – a city still suffering the effects of a hurricane five years past – would redevelop an abandoned nursing home into supportive housing for people with disabilities and low-income working people is facing opposition from the local community. Rosanne and Martha do such a great job articulating the argument, I’ll let them speak for themselves:

“Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis, but it is bad for a community in many other ways as well. By converting abandoned buildings into beautifully renovated apartments, supportive housing offers an opportunity to help solve several of New Orleans’ pressing problems at once. Housing the homeless is good for everyone.”

In other news: Massachusetts is kicking butt in implementing and executing their plan to end homelessness; the state has helped place 376 people in housing and has helped prevent almost 11,000 families from becoming homeless through a Housing First model.  Even as the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance reports the numbers of new families and individuals seeking help continues to grow in the area, Boston’s Pine St. Inn claims to have eliminated 10 percent of their shelter beds due to successful housing placements – at an estimated savings of $9,000 per person. Way to go, MA!

A news bit: New York is getting its first government-certified residence for homeless women veterans and its sounds like a fantastic project.

And in news close to home (well, not geographically…) Our reporter friend Julia Lyon of The Salt Lake Tribune reported this week that homelessness among Utah’s school age children has jumped 48 percent since 2008. This is truly troubling, given what we know about the serious risks for young people experiencing homelessness. Living in shelters or on the streets, unaccompanied homeless youth are at a higher risk for physical and sexual assault or abuse and physical illness than their adult counterparts. Also, young people are at a higher risk for anxiety disorders, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicide because of increased exposure to violence while living on their own.

Troubling, indeed. What can I do to help, you ask? We have good news for you! We just launched a campaign to bring attention to this issue and encourage Congress to increase funding for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs. Get involved by telling us you’re interested – email Amanda Krusemark of our grassroots mobilizing team and she’ll get you started!

Happy Friday!