As we rethink homelessness, after all of our compassionate machinations, and as our ten years to end homelessness plans take a dirt nap, we find that it all comes down to a test of will.
There is an element within our army, within our tactical team, that has a vested interest in homelessness not ending. I think that we all know providers who see the maintenance of homelessness as a career. People make money from the misery of others. They eat for these people, and misrepresent them while they have no reports about any progress on ending homelessness.
Indeed, which shelter has contained in it’s mission statement, that our goal is to decrease the numbers of people who enter our shelter? Or, that our goal is to ensure that the homeless have a voice in the conversations that are deciding their fate? I don’t think you’ll find this language in any mission statement.
I have been a member of the Pinellas County Florida Homeless Leadership Board,under its various names and and guises since 2008.Over that time, I’ve been ignored,talked down to, kept out of any financial considerations, and have been dealt with a steady stream of disrespect that I deal with up until this day. From Day One, I have been saying that if we don’t talk about housing, and put a halt to the destruction of affordable housing current housing stock,we would find ourselves in a position of not having the housing available to put the homeless in.
There is no current plan to link affordable housing with the homeless, although our very own information that we have embraced,The Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Test (SPDAT),states that”.” 60% of the homeless population need nothing more than housing assistance.”
“Indeed, which shelter has contained in it’s mission statement, that our goal is to decrease the numbers of people who enter our shelter? Or, that our goal is to ensure that the homeless have a voice in the conversations that are deciding their fate? I don’t think you’ll find this language in any mission statement.”
In the heyday of our homeless perpetuation, we embraced the philosophy of Dr. Robert Marbut, and turned a jail into a shelter replete with the guards. The only way that we could approve a jail/shelter, replete with guards, is if we ourselves would not have endure what we were endorsing for others.
If an architect was to design a house for you,and he would not share the plans of that house with you and he forced you to live there,or go to jail,what are the odds that you would find that house desirable place to live?
One of the greatest obstacles to the eradication of homelessness,hinges on the fate of the”Red Blooded” homeless people.
“There is no current plan to link affordable housing with the homeless, although our very own information that we have embraced, The Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Test (SPDAT) states that 60% of the homeless population need nothing more than housing assistance.”
Red Blood homeless people, as defined here, are people who do not have a mental health diagnosis, are not a couple with infant children,are not veterans in most cases, and are not disabled.They are the people who lost jobs, aged out of foster care,are jobless,and are, for lack of a better term,economic prisoners of the street.They are candidates for Safe Harbor,jail,and a perpetual life in revolving door shelters, on three weeks and out two.You see, even shelters perpetuate involuntary homelessness.
They make up a great part of what SPDAT research reveals, of the sixty percent of the homeless who need nothing more than a house.
These Red Blooded Homeless people,are the bed rock of homelessness.
“SPDAT also recommends that we should see “shelter” as part of the housing process,instead of the destination.”
Homeless myself I watched in real time, as the Torch and Pitchfork crowd, packed City Council meeting after City Council meeting,complaining about homeless sleeping in storefront alcoves, sleeping in yards,urinating and defecating in alleys, having sex behind dumpsters, selling newspapers on traffic medians,panhandling with signs at expressway entrances.
MAYOR!!!! SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE ABOUT THESE HOMELESS PEOPLE!
In response, the St Petersburg City Council enacted the most stringent homeless criminalization ordinances in the country
The subsequent mayor,for his part,labeled the homeless ” The Chronic”, hired the renown Dr Robert Marbut for advice and consolation,and in partnership with the County Sheriff,established the wonderful, innovative, totally modern shelter/prison Safety Harbor,replete with expertly efficient Geo Prison Guards trained in prisoner crowd control and little else.
Let me share a little secret with you all.
Red Blooded homeless people got the ball rolling in terms of national awareness of homelessness. They also loosened the purse strings for funding for homelessness.
Now, Red Blooded homeless people find themselves shutout of funding streams and left on the streets ,exposed to the elements,the sidewalks,and the criminalization tactics of which they are de facto guilty of merely because they are homeless.
Oh,those bittersweet compassionate machinations.
When money came, it created a false dichotomy among the homeless.Among the devise pens of the service providers, of course. ..Millions for veterans. Millions for homeless families,Millions for homeless people with mental health diagnoses.Not given to them, understand,they are not responsible enough to plot their own destinies,so we should pick the winners and losers.
For the red blooded- budkus-butt kiss. The jail diversion, where homeless people where held for over thirty days in solitary confinement , or until they signed themselves over to a corrective program, or agreed to go that homeless Mecca known as Safe Harbor
According to the Huffington Post,the average stay in Safe Harbor is Thirty days. The average housing placement is abysmal.
We explored the SOAR program ,a noble aim concentrated on efficiently getting SSI, and SSDI checks in the hands of vulnerable populations while reducing the waiting time and specter of multiple rejections, which is modus operandi of the Florida government subsidy programs.Now many homeless people get checks, but few can find places to live.We find people at the top of their earning potential, which the check represents, having to stay in a hotel for three weeks, which the check can pay for,and staying on the street for the fourth week,or terming out of the shelter, and staying on the street for two weeks.
In an effort to secure a place at the table for the group that matters most,we plan to form a homeless union revolving around three issues;The relationship between the homeless and the police.The relationship between the shelter/industrial complex and the homeless.and the critical issue of access and availability of affordable housing.
Top down solutions, solutions managed and devised by people who have no stake or skin in the game other than a hefty salary have been shown to be utter failures.
We must allow the people who are affect by homelessness to have a voice in the solution.Otherwise we will never find our way from Homeless Maintenance Information Systems, to Homeless Eradication Information Systems.
A little SPDAT