Let's change the subject

Dateline: Tue 28 Aug 2007

Away from Expo and back to homelessness. A post a while back on the latter generated an email from a man in the Midwest who runs a large program for the homeless, 16 beds in a 3,100 square foot facility. His non-profit helped 240 people last year, resettled 17 families and donated thousands of poounds of food. He's been at it since the late 1990s.

He asked me not to use his name or his shelter's name, but gave the OK to share his views relative to federal programs, etc.

"The federal programs are basically a joke. The new homeless initiatives where millions are being spent are bolonga for the most part. Housing first puts people in houses that will be completely trashed in five years. The politicians will have moved on to something else long before then. Millions have been spent on the HMIS (the Homeless Management Information system) which is to help track and help homeless clients. Supposedly the computer systems are to be connected to each other nationwide. They are not and the money has been wasted. Ironically you must participate in the HMIS or you don't get federal funds. There are tons of conferences, seminars, expensive hotels, and speakers etc. but most of the money is wasted.

"The homeless population we see breaks down like this. Physically sick mentally ill, riminal, addicted and drunks, lazy, attitude problems,

promiscuous, abused women, shattered vets, gamblers, educationally

deficient, pooooor money managers, other life controlling problems, with

less than ten percent down on their luck and victims of the Bush economy. A lot of people have three to five of the above. Many if not most of the

issues are issues of the heart, that is why many faith based programs are

the most effective if properly run. We are heavy into accountability and

productivity. We have curfews, zero tolerance for alcohol, drugs, fighting, theft, etc. We require work work work. We have a lot of success and lots of people who are not willing to change no way no how. All the opportunity is here, but people have to be ready to change.

We operate on 100 K a year and are 90% privately funded.

"I support anti panhandling laws and anti camping laws. People need to be confronted with disruptive lifestyles and not allowed to become a cancer on a community. We are tough but very compassionate and nurturing. We are teaching and modeling all the time. Family breakdown is a major cause of this problem and despite the glorious plans of the government this problem is not going to go away in the next ten years. The government plan in this sector will be no more successful than the War on Poverty. A permanent bureauacracy will develop and remain. They will display their charts and figures but it won't mean anything.

I am not a complete cynic, my wife and I are realists and Christians. That is my two cents worth."

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