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Letters to the Editor

Homeless progress

January 31, 2012

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To the editor:

The Wichita metro area has seen a whopping 51 percent drop in its long-term homeless population since 2005. Nationally, there has been a 39 percent decline despite the recession. The reason for this encouraging trend is a paradigm shift among those who serve the homeless. Instead of just using the Band-aid approach of homeless shelters, social service providers have adopted the “permanent supportive housing” approach.

According to an article in the Christian Science Monitor (Jan. 30), this approach provides “immediate access to affordable rental housing without requiring participation in psychiatric or sobriety treatment, a common deterrent for many homeless people.” Once the long-term homeless are settled in and have a stable living environment, they are “offered a range of services to help them maintain their housing, including mental health and substance abuse counseling, health care and job training.”

It should be noted that permanent supportive housing removes the stigma of being homeless and it is also cheaper than alternatives. Other beneficial programs that provide emergency rent and utility assistance actually help to prevent homelessness. Combined these programs are solving a problem in America many thought was unsolvable.

Comments

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 2 months ago

They can clean parks or do something other than drink and leech off the taxpayer for their keep.

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 2 months ago

"permanent supportive housing" is defined as solving the problem?
I, for one, have a problem with the assistance being permanent. I do not see that as a solution at all. If this isn't an example of the social safety net being transformed into a trampoline, I don't know what is. They fall down, we pick them up, fall down, pick up, fall down, pick up.... We've completely insulated people from the consequences of their actions.

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Ragingbear 2 years, 2 months ago

Homelessness is a big problem in Topeka. Just because you don't see it does not mean it does not exist. Many are well dressed, well groomed and stay clear of trouble. If you want to know the truth, go to the Topeka Rescue Mission someday.

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grammaddy 2 years, 2 months ago

I've always wondered why there was only one "housing project" in Lawrence. It seems to me that another one would go a long way in fixing the "homeless" problem here. In Topeka, there were 4 or 5 and I don't ever remember homelessness being the problem there that it is here. I also understand that waiting lists have been closed and some may not be re-opened for a couple of years.Seems to me that more housing units are the answer.Bashing those who are homeless is not the answer.

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