Homeless service observations

There are two kinds of homeless people: the ones who qualify for government funded programs and those who don’t. Homeless Service departments should not speak as though they are in charge of all the homeless, any more than any political appointees are in charge of any other human beings.

There is nothing simple about public human services especially where it concerns the homeless. So why does the Ten Year Plan to End Chronic and Veteran Homelessness presume to speak for the homeless to the public about housing everyone?

The only way to end all types of homelessness is with affordable housing that is locally made available. If cities rely solely on federal and state money to make affordable housing available, and they regularly foreclose and condemn other properties they can’t expect the problem to go away.

We can’t find solutions to homelessness by patronizing and demonizing faith-based organizations who feed and shelter the homeless simply because they won’t restructure their programs along federally mandated lines. The day a developer gets to tell his neighboring church that their services aren’t needed and that they should move is when it is clear that neighborhood is not for everyone.

Just a thought: what if every public planning and zoning meeting, every streets and sanitation meeting, every parks and recreation meeting, were attended by about 10 homeless persons? What if they wanted a say in all of it? What would happen if it were no longer assumed that every citizen of every city or county or township had a place to call home but wanted a say in public meetings?

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