Updates on Local Efforts to Curb Homelessness Progress

These reports from the field on efforts to end homelessness is form KnowledgePlex.

A $1.2 million initiative to move homeless people in Tacoma, Wash., into housing is succeeding, those behind the effort told The News Tribune. The City Council allocated $500,000 to the program, with the rest coming from county, state, and federal grants and hospital donations. Since last fall, city police and clean-up teams working with mental health, housing, and social service workers have cleared and cleaned the city’s top 14 homeless encampments. While some camp residents “drifted away” rather than face arrest or entreaties to move into housing, 50 people passed landlord background checks and have been placed in furnished apartments throughout Pierce County, sources said. However, 10 of those housed have lost or left their new homes, said a city official. To address the issues of homeless people in need of close supervision to remain housed, the Metropolitan Development Council is looking for funds and sites to add an apartment building to their program, an MDC official said.

Montgomery County, Ohio commissioners have approved plans to move 50 chronically homeless men and women into a public housing high-rise and provide them with supportive services such as addiction treatment, reported the Dayton Daily News. Support services would also be offered to the 51 public housing tenants living in the facility.

The agreement, which has also been approved by the Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority board, must still be approved by Dayton commissioners, the article said. Under the plan, the county would contribute $905,000 for renovations and two years of services; DMHA would pay $407,000 for architectural services and upgrades and maintenance; and the city would contribute $460,000 for renovations and security costs over two years. According to the county administrator, the plan is central to the community’s homelessness efforts. The per-person cost of services for 12 formerly homeless people participating in a pilot program decreased from $203 per day to $85 per day once they were housed, she said.

Participants in a nearly two-year old effort to end homelessness in southern Nevada hope an upcoming series of community meetings will spur further progress on the initiative, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal. According to most homeless service providers, the Southern Nevada Regional Homeless and Housing 10 Point Plan has succeeded in improving coordination among service providers who can be territorial. Other accomplishments cited include new shelter space for people during inclement weather, a shared Homeless Management Information System, and the impending publication of the region’s first comprehensive homeless census. During the upcoming community meetings, leaders seeking a more focused approach going forward will work with residents to set clear benchmarks and timelines for the regional plan. The region needs more affordable housing for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, most service providers agree.

“Los Angeles County’s much-touted effort to shift homeless services from downtown Los Angeles to other areas is beginning to take shape,” reported the Los Angeles Times. A year ago, the Board of Supervisors launched a plan to build five regional homeless service centers as part of a broader campaign to improve conditions on skid row, where services are concentrated. But some suburban residents said they were worried that the regional “stabilization centers” would increase crime and lead to blight. Now, three communities have expressed interest in hosting the centers. However, the locations “are all working-class areas,” the article said. It is unclear whether the county will succeed in placing centers in more middle-class or affluent neighborhoods, the article said.

Finding Homes for the Homeless is Just a Start
04/09/2007 | The News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington)

County, DMHA Join to Assist 50 Homeless
04/11/2007 | Dayton Daily News (Ohio)

Affordable Homes Seen as Key Goal
04/11/2007 | Las Vegas Review-Journal (Nevada)

Los Angeles County Plan for Homeless Taking Shape
04/10/2007 | Los Angeles Times