Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Ending Chronic Homelessness

Picked up the Nashville Scene last night while shopping for my wife’s birthday gift. I always get nervous when I buying my wife something not that she won’t like it, but I just get real insecure about stuff like that. The Scene covered a story about the homeless as well as Nashville’s Metro Council’s heroic attempt to end chronic homelessness in Nashville. The Council plans to stop homelessness in the next 10 years. While this effort might seem valiant, it could end up being another dimly light press story from the other agendas on the mayor’s to-do list. The final plan from the Council includes an approach that emphasizes on placing homeless people in low-cost housing they can stay in forever rather than a short-term stay in a crisis shelter. Services are brought to them like health care, substance abuse treatment and job placement. The plan also presents a list of other initiatives like reading with root issues of addiction and mental illness rather than incarcerating offenders, public transportation availability, job training, and available health care system. Sound great right? So…who has 40 million dollars that they want to invest in this plan? Forty million is just for the affordable housing idea alone, and that’s a low estimate. G.W. Bush has a plan, at least the Interagency Council on Homelessness does. They plan to focus on the people who live on the streets for more than a year and that will hopefully improve the situation. In the ICH eye’s, those who are chronically homeless use a large amount of resources dedicated to homelessness such as using the ER or veteran’s hospital too much or those that get sent to jail who really need treatment for mental illness. Philip Mangano is Bush’s appointee that runs the ICH. He knows that throwing more money at the problem will be a waste so he encourages others to view the situation afresh. I hope the Metro Council is able to implement their strategy and the community will be educated and engaged enough to support the efforts.

While reading the article, they highlighted a man named Kevin Barbieux. Kevin is also on the Metro Council to end chronic homeless. As well he should be because he is homeless. Kevin writes on his blog and is trying very hard to earn a living. He recently learned how to knit and sells his homemade garments. If you want to check both of his blogs out, go here as well as here.