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Updates for Everyone

by / Friday, 08 February 2008 / Published in Uncategorized

First

Quick preface, sorry for the delay in posting.  First that bug knocked me down for the count, which then meant trying to catch back up.  Onward!

Housing First!  Everything is pointing to the Housing First (HF) model as the most successful in helping t he homeless nationwide. 

Housing First is an alternative to the current system of emergency shelter/transitional housing, which prolongs the length of time families stay homeless. 

With HF the methodology is based on the belief that the vulnerable and at-risk homeless singles and families are more able to benefit from the social services support after they are stabilized in their own housing, rather than in a temporary/transitional shelter.

In the past month or so Carty sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal, Mike Badik with the city sent me this study, and other national and regional advocates point to housing first as a successful model.   Here is a quick overview of HF.  It is what is working. 

It is time as a community that we focus our efforts on a coordinated response.  A laser like focal point all of the community can buy into.  Let’s say it together, Housing First!

Giving Credit

I couldn’t make it, but I talked to some of the 50 or so people who attended an informational meeting this past Monday to promote the solicitation of new ideas to create Permanent Supportive Housing.  Sponsored by TLC, presentations by Mike Badik from the city and Scott Gary from the state helped identify needed areas to be funded and they worked to lead our service providers in the inevitable direction of true collaboration, and possibly mergers of redundant programs. Jane Moore said Deb Conklin did a good job leading the meeting.  

Good job Deb and TLC!  I’m serious, good job!  This is what is needed.  As I have said all along this has never been personal.  This has been about what is best for the homeless, nothing else, end of story.   As long as they are doing that I am totally on their side and have no complaints.

While We Are At It…

We have not heard a peep to date about the HMIS.  It is my understanding Kyle Grief is more worried about who was going to pay for a lawyer (FOCUS or TLC) to defend this rather than recognize the requirement and value of providing this documentation.

As with all federally funded programs the information we are seeking are public records.  There is no shroud of secrecy permitted.   We will indeed press this through the courts.  In the words of Mr. Byers, “We will get this information.”

If she wants to fight this, she will be doing the homeless an even greater disservice in not only preventing the system that can help the homeless from working fully, but spending a significant amount of money that should be going to the homeless on lawyers. 

I am told she will try to hide the information by claiming the “confidentiality” of the records.  The problem here is we are not seeking any client records or client data which should be protected as private. 

Instead we are seeking the contract between FOCUS and HUD, any procedure manuals, any evaluations of the performance of the system and the system manager from 2002 to present.  My hunch is there has never been evaluations of either, I hope I am wrong, but the Toledo Gospel Mission had not been contacted in 5 years by Carlin Abbot.  Guess he thought he was the Maytag repairman.

I have detailed earlier why this data is important for the homeless. 

Kyle reports to a board of directors, I hope someone on that board will see the wisdom of following the open records law.  

 Ohio Coalition for the Homeless

There was a group of homeless advocates statewide including Cinci, Dayton, Cleveland and Columbus called the Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (OCH).  They told me they have tried for years to get someone to be the representative from Toledo. 

1Matters has joined that group and we have a meeting in Columbus this Thursday to discuss the issues at hand and what efforts can be made to get resolution here, and in other cities.

Toledo had been invited before, but Toledo’s representative on COHIO (The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio) who represents TAAEH turned them down. 

She also turned down a VISTA volunteer that was offered to Toledo at no charge through the Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.  This volunteer is to be tasked to work on any project benefiting the homeless. 

We are happy to report that through the efforts of OCH they have secured the VISTA volunteer for Toledo.  The volunteer will be based out of Cherry Street Mission and will work on the 1Works program full time. 

Pretty Awesome! Let’s Rcok!

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