Finn makes the case that ending homelessness is not impossible if the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness are put first and behind the needs of the network of organizations and infrastructure that has been set up to serve the homeless.
Every day, organizations across the nation are demonstrating that ending homelessness is indeed very possible. However, it does demand a form of hope that does not place organizational and institutional needs ahead of the individuals these organizations serve. Rather than rushing in with pre-formulated responses, these organizations listen to the needs being expressed by homeless individuals and ask the difficult question: what change is necessary here to produce a different outcome?
Providing housing first for chronically homeless individuals and rapidly re-housing homeless households employ best practices to keep the homeless out of the shelter system and end their homelessness.
Housing First has proven to be effective in ending veterans homelessness, including chronic veterans homelessness, in Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Washington DC as well as in Trenton/Mercer County.
“Years and years of sheltering have not ended the scourge of homelessness. Yet, many cling to the idea that emergency shelters are necessary, unavoidable, and the best we can do under the circumstances. To me, this is the voice of despair posing as hope.”
Concludes Finn, “We know housing works” and that the solution to homelessness is providing appropriate housing and services.
We agree with Finn. Working together we can and must end and prevent homelessness. One important step we can all do is to testify on March 25th at the Interagency Council on the Homeless hearing. Click here for more details.