Thursday, October 16, 2008

New plan to help homeless find homes

Cincinnati City Council has passed an ordinance requiring development of a new plan for helping single homeless men and women move from homelessness to homes.

The ordinance, introduced by Councilmember Roxanne Qualls, directs the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care for the Homeless to deliver a plan to the mayor and council by March 31, 2009 that ensures that single homeless men and women have access to safe shelter facilities that provide the comprehensive services necessary for them to obtain and maintain housing.

Continuum of Care will be required to create a process that seeks the input of all key community stakeholders, including homeless providers, mental health and substance abuse providers, the business community, government representatives, funding entities, national and regional experts, and others.

The ordinance also requires the plan to use nationally-recognized best practices, and to insure that any new facilities are good neighbors to nearby businesses and residents.

"The new plan should result in a national model that guarantees the highest standards of care for the homeless, and includes case management, medical, mental health and recovery services, so that homeless men and women can successfully move from homelessness to homes and become productive members of society once again," Qualls says in a media release.

Qualls adds that the new plan is not meant to achieve minor reform, but to design a new system from the ground up that will substantially reduce the number of people needing shelter services each night.

In 2007, 3,604 single males and 1,139 single females were served through street outreach, emergency shelters and transitional housing in Cincinnati.

Only 413 emergency shelter beds are available nightly for single individuals, and many could be lost if the Mt. Airy Center is privatized.

The plan will be used to guide the City’s future resource allocation decisions for homeless services.

All service providers will be selected through an objective, competitive process consistent with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines.

In 2007, Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care was awarded $10.4 million in federal funds, which it disbursed among 39 different programs and 24 different non-profit organizations.

Photo credit: "Homeless" by Flickr user


JFD said...

The missing component in Quall's plan is a set distance separation between facilities. Hopefully this problem will be addressed in some new zoning ordinances. While I support good neighbor policies, they only work if enforced; and with the social service lobby as rabid as they are, I have to wonder if the political will exists to police these facilities. I would like to see a mechanism, built into the program, for a community to force change onto facilities that don't comply. Helping a few to the detriment of others is not how social services should work, especially in a City that is working as hard as we are to repopulate the Urban Core with taxpayers.

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