I was on the panel of speakers yesterday at the Missouri Association for Social Welfare Free Friday Forum on Homelessness. Here’s the flyer for that event. While on the panel I recorded about 1 hr and 11 minutes of audio. Listen for yourself. Missing are the opening and closing comments.
9/16/13 Update: Here were my notes that I only scantly followed at the time:
Sept. 13 panel discussion
What do you and your organization see that is working?
It works to engage clients in constructive activities to prove
themselves in problem solving activities. It works to empower
clients by asking for their solutions to problems. If clients are
provided the means for their empowerment (eg., transportation)
and the tools (eg. Computer, phones) and encouragement
(kindness and patience), they do find and act on solutions.
What do you and your organization think should be added?
Immediate access to shelter, bathrooms, showers, laundry,
computers, phones, etc.
More privately funded rapid rehousing, utilizing the 100k homes
I believe that a PADS (Public Access to Deliver Shelter) program
like what is utilized in Illinois could be the template by which we
ensure immediate access to shelter in the region and enter clients
immediately into wrap around services.
What should be eliminated in the fight against homelessness?
Criminalization, harassment, discrimination
How can the rate of homelessness be lessened?
Better paying jobs, affordable housing, expanded Medicaid,
Interstate transportation (funding for Mullanphy Travelers Aid)
What can people do to help the situation?
Get informed, become advocates, volunteer consistently.
We need to understand the rate of couch homeless in this region.
A study provided by the National Coalition for the Homeless
is useful. Many clients do not stay consistently in shelters but
move around making it difficult for them to be outreached.
Utility bills, rent payments, underemployment, illness, substance
abuse, mental illness, transportation, and precarious housing all
contribute to cycles of homelessness. It is not enough to educate
the population about United Way and the Missouri Department of
Mental Health. We need a local population that are fully engaged,
educated, and empowered about facts on the ground.