Making Homelessness ‘Rare and Brief’ a Work in Progress

Without Adequate Affordable Housing
Homeless Still Live on Streets

Dan RodericksIn a July 24, 2105 column in The Baltimore Sun, columnist Dan Rodericks writes, “Making homelessness ‘rare and brief’ work in progress.”

Rodericks wrote or the reaction of the community of those working to end homelessness to a recent action by the city to “clean up” homelessness encampments.

Antonia Fasanelli, executive director of the Homeless Persons Representation Project wrote in the following statement:

“Baltimore City is destroying homeless encampments without ending the homelessness of their residents. These actions are inhumane and ineffective. Homelessness can only be ended through the provision of permanent housing and supportive services. Until the city is able to provide appropriate housing and services to encampment residents, [we] will not participate in any activities that further displace and disadvantage our homeless neighbors.”

Baltimore’s Mayor agreed to temporarily stop the camp closure that would have occurred on Saturday, August 8, 2015 but Rodericks notes,

“The ideal of making homelessness ‘rare and brief’ is wonderful, but apparently it is still wrapped in too much red tape — advocates say the voucher-and-placement process takes too long, up to a year sometimes — and the city’s chronic lack of affordable housing complicates the entire effort.

It’s good that the city backed off from another camp closure. But housing the homeless remains a long, if not permanent, work in progress.”

The federal Housing Choice Voucher program is helping to end homelessness through Baltimore’s The Journey Home “a public-private collaboration to get people into permanent homes with the help of federal rent-subsidy vouchers. About seven years into the project, hundreds have found housing through that good effort. But it’s not enough. There are still plenty of others on the street — an estimated 3,000 on any given night, according to The Journey Home.”

The 3,000 individuals experiencing homelessness in Baltimore on any given night is yet another example of the severe need for increased federal funding for affordable housing, including the Housing Choice Voucher program.

Click here to read the full column.