Ending Homelessness

Ending homelessness through accountability? And without government funding!

Jay Goldinger of LA is on to something:

“His tough-love approach is one that works to motivate people to take responsibility for their actions. Participants start by sweeping the streets. A completed week then brings cards redeemable for food. Ten consecutive weeks brings greater incentives and rewards. For those who don’t miss a week, they can, during the course of a year, get help with medical and dental problems and even see a $3,000 bank account opened in their name while being provided with safe housing and help getting a real job.

What’s the catch? Accountability.

Backsliding is never rewarded. And there is another key component. Jay demands of everyone—random acts of kindness–like sharing some food, guiding a blind person across the street, helping an elderly person with their shopping…

Simple acts that remind us it isn’t how much you amass but what you are prepared to do for others that should define our worth as human beings.”

Keep reading: Could LA’s Jay Goldinger hold key to defeating homelessness?

GAO: “Better coordination of federal homelessness programs may minimize fragmentation and overlap”

A recently released GAO report, “Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue,” reveals costly fragmentation and overlap in federal homeless programs. Taxpayers are currently spending billions of dollars on these programs — including “ending homelessness” programs — and yet, homelessness is actually increasing in the U.S. So to hear about wasteful spending is not good news. Below are some quotes from the report, followed by a link to the full report.

from Why Area Is Important:

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD, approximately 643,000 individuals and persons in families experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2009. Multiple federal programs provide assistance targeted to those experiencing homelessness or more broadly assist low-income populations. GAO reported that in 2009 federal agencies spent about $2.9 billion on over 20 programs targeted to address the various needs of persons experiencing homelessness. Some federal programs may offer similar types of services and serve similar populations, potentially leading to overlap or fragmentation.

from What GAO Found:

GAO reported in July 2010 that at least seven federal agencies administered more than 20 programs that provide some type of shelter or housing assistance. Similarly, five agencies administered programs that deliver food and nutrition services, and four agencies administered programs that provide health services including mental health services and substance abuse treatment. This range of programs has resulted in a fragmented service system.

and

Without more formal coordination of federal programs to specifically include the linking of supportive services and housing, federal efforts to address homelessness may remain fragmented and not be as effective as they could be.

under Actions Needed:

The plan recognizes that collection, analysis, and reporting of quality, timely data on homelessness are essential for targeting interventions, tracking results, strategic planning, and resource allocation. As noted above, currently each federal program generally has distinct data requirements. The plan acknowledges that a common data standard and uniform performance measures across all federal programs that are targeted at homelessness would facilitate greater understanding and simplify local data management. Consistent with the plan, representatives with USICH noted that agencies are taking steps to improve and coordinate data, specifically citing the December 2010 announcement by the Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in Homeless Information Management Systems over the next 12 months.The formal coordination among agencies outlined in this plan may minimize fragmentation of federal programs and help address gaps in supportive services while linking housing and supportive services. The linking of these services is considered to be important for effectively delivering assistance to those experiencing homelessness.

» Read U.S. GAO – Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs

Guilford County homeless providers receive $1.4 million

HUD recently awarded renewal funds for existing homeless programs as part of the Fiscal Year 2010 Continuum of Care Grants. Homeless service providers in Guilford County received a total of $1,449,318 — a modest increase of $8,244 overall from 2009. Most homeless service providers received the same funding as last year. With non-profits scrambling to find money in a depressed economy, the HUD grant awards are welcome news.

Here is a list of the Guilford County providers who received renewal funding, along with the amount each received this year and last year:

HOMELESS SERVICE PROVIDER PROGRAM NAME 2009 HUD AWARD 2010 HUD AWARD
Alcohol and Drug Services of Guilford, Inc.

Project Home Front

SHP

$34,996

$34,996

Family Service of the Piedmont, Inc.

Clara House: emergency shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence in Greensboro

SHP

$70,218

$70,218

Greensboro Housing Authority

Grace Homes: housing program for chronically homeless single adults with physical, mental or substance abuse disabilities in Greensboro

S+CR

$0

$21,996

Greensboro Housing Authority Home at Last: permanent
supportive housing program for homeless people in Greensboro

S+CR

$121,548 $0
Greensboro Housing Authority

Housing Opportunities: permanent supportive housing program for homeless people in
Greensboro

SHP

$477,369

$477,369

Greensboro Housing Authority

Mary’s Homes: scattered site
single-family homes in High Point for homeless, substance abusing mothers in recovery, and their children

S+CR

$316,152

$423,948

Greensboro Urban Ministry

Partnership Village:
transitional housing for formerly homeless individuals and
families in Greensboro

SHP

$59,850

$59,850

Joseph’s House, Inc.

Joseph’s House Young Adult Independent Living
Program:
permanent, supportive housing program for homeless young adults in Greensboro who are: 1) chronically homeless, or 2) victims of domestic violence, or 3)
disabled

SHP

$43,730

$43,730

Mary’s House, Inc.

Mary’s House: transitional
housing for mothers in recovery from substance abuse, and their
minor children; located in Greensboro

SHP

$135,982

$135,982

Open Door Ministries of High Point, Inc.

Arthur Cassell Memorial Transitional Housing
Program:
transitional living facility in High Point for homeless recovering addicts and alcoholics

SHP

$48,919

$48,919

Open Door Ministries of High Point, Inc.

HMIS – High Point: homeless management information system

SHP

$13,750

$13,750

The Salvation Army

Case Management/After-Care

SHP

$19,274

$19,274

The Servant Center, Inc.

Servant House: transitional housing program for disabled homeless men in Greensboro

SHP

$47,586

$47,586

Youth Focus Inc.

Youth Focus Transitional Living Program :
serves homeless young women in Greensboro ages 16-21

SHP

$51,700

$51,700

$1,441,074

$1,449,318

NOTES (from HUD.gov):

  • S+CR: Shelter Plus Care Program provides rental assistance for hard-to-serve homeless persons with disabilities in connection with supportive services funded from sources outside the program.
  • SHP: The Supportive Housing Program helps develop housing and related supportive services for people moving from homelessness to independent living. Program funds help homeless people live in a stable place, increase their skills and their income, and gain more control over the decisions that affect their lives.

» Click here to see all 2010 grant awards of HUD’s web site.