touting the end to homelessness in arizona or phoenix is very premature. the program only involved 222 vets. that is only 9% of the homeless population in phoenix. it's a sincere effort and it's an admirable effort. but the end to homelessness? far from it. it wasn't even all the vets who were rescued from being homeless. it was the physically and mentally disabled with a history of abuse along with long histories of recurring homelessness. the feds have set aside 1 billion dollars in an effort to end homelessness....among veterans. that's the money that phoenix used to implement and administer the program. how do you sustain this program over a long period of time. we all know money for programs such as these are subject to political winds and which way they are blowing at the present time. veterans just happen to be the currents of that wind at the present. what happens when the wars wind to an end and veterans aren't getting the publicity they are now. what happens when the federal gvt. decides that subsidies like this need to be cut even further? how is phoenix going to sustain the investment they have made over a protracted period of time?
what about the extended costs of this program. food, utilities, case workers, maintenance on the housing facilities, medical, administrative costs....where will the money come from....next year or the year after. will this be like so many other programs where the funding gets cut or eliminated and the veterans are at square one again? the figures they used for this program stated that it costs 605 dollars a month to house a homeless veteran. sure....that's possible....just for the apartment or room. which in alot of cases that's what it was....a room. but what about all the extended costs that i just listed above? you really think the cost is only 605 dollars a month? they also used a figure of 2900 dollars a month that it takes to service and meet the needs of a homeless person on the streets. i'm not even going to try to comment on that figure much except to say that's way out of proportion and inflated to meet the end justification they were trying to make to in order for the perception of this program to look cost effective.
what about the other 91% of the homeless population? is there 91 billion dollars more in the federal budget to house all the homeless in the same manner so you can say it is indeed a victory and they are on the way to housing the homeless? no....there's not. but yet the federal government declared a victory and said they were on the way to ending homelessness...in two years.
what about greyhound therapy? what are they going to do if they manage to sustain this program and people from other states come to take advantage of this program? what are you going to do with people experiencing homelessness for the first time...the new homeless? what about women and children and families?
it is a good effort and a morally correct one. it is more effort than most cities are making in dealing with the homeless. but make no mistake about it. it is not the answer to end homelessness. in my opinion it can't be sustained and probably won't be sustained. maybe for the small number of veterans that the whole report and enthusiasm was based on...but certainly not the entire homeless population. we still need to find a way to end the homeless problem and the suffering of so many people in poverty and experiencing hunger. but don't be lulled into complacency by an out of touch federal government that says we've found an answer. money and free housing have been tried before...unsuccessfully. you have to very realistic about the sustained cost....how much for how long....in order for any program to gain and maintain not only political support, but the support of the community. in the end, it's the people of the community that pay for and can make or break any program such as this. the citizens of any city or state become weary of programs that have a protracted cost with contracted results.
keep working...keep trying....but in the long run...this one isn't the answer. keep it local...keep it simple.
see you around town