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

Maddy Griffin 4 years, 10 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.

Ragingbear 4 years, 10 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.

Paul R Getto 4 years, 10 months ago

Good point; the Mission in Topeka does fine work for many homeless, including entire families. They have had 1,500+ school kids there at different times the past year. There is a retired principal who is the homeless coordinator for Topeka Schools, and he makes sure they get some help, get on the bus and get to school. The homeless are often invisible and many try not to draw attention to themselves. I agree, bashing is not useful and most people only need temporary help. Anyone with large debt and unsympathetic relatives who will not let you have the extra couch is 2-3 missed paychecks away from this tragedy.

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 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.

Paul R Getto 4 years, 10 months ago

"We've completely insulated people from the consequences of their actions. " === Could be; perhaps we need to return to Dicken's day? That was a pretty sight, not that Mullah Sam would mind. The poor deserve their fate and will get rewarded in the next life.

At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, 'it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.' 'Are there no prisons?" 'Plenty of prisons,' said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. 'And the Union workhouses.' demanded Scrooge. 'Are they still in operation?' 'Both very busy, sir.'
'Oh. I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,' said Scrooge. 'I'm very glad to hear it.' 'Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,' returned the gentleman, 'a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?' Nothing!' Scrooge replied.
'You wish to be anonymous?'
'I wish to be left alone,' said Scrooge. 'Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.' Many can't go there; and many would rather die.'
'If they would rather die,' said Scrooge, 'they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

jhawkinsf 4 years, 10 months ago

Is there nothing between a lifetime subsidy and what you suggest?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years, 10 months ago

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

Paul R Getto 4 years, 10 months ago

Not a bad idea, if you can figure out transportation, meals, insurance and liability.

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