Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Progress on helping homeless folk

Sadly, I couldn't find an agenda for the 1/31 Supes & City Council joint meeting and, thus, didn't go.

Nonetheless, I think that keenly interested folk, like me, have gathered the gist of what is going to happen to transport a small mountain of homeless folk into housing during the next couple years.

Homeless people are going to take a leap in being more-highly prioritized such that they will get an apartment (or, "a situation") that can boost them into -- what I often call -- "a life more ordinary."  That is, a life where instead of having to worry about bearing a very cold, wet night you get to -- instead -- go to the fridge and eat a ham sandwich and turn on the heater before putting on your pajamas and going to bed on a King-sized bed with a quite comfortable mattress and a quite lovely mistress.

This is good -- though I do worry more than a bit about those people who are poor, but not homeless, who will slide down the list to make way for homeless folk.

I worry about these others because I believe a part of the Grand Scheme of Things -- which will need to come, simply because the so-called "Homeless Problem" ain't gonna go away.

What is currently scheduled is for there to be a two-year period during which my homeless heroes and heroines are prioritized. After that, What?

Too, there are many things other than Mayor Steinberg's All-Important Plan that a joint session of the supes and council agreed to that need to happen, thus to create a pretty-much permanent pathway to get real live people out of the cold and the rain such that they can LIVE their lives instead of DYING while sleeping wherever they can -- such as next to City Hall.

Money that has been spent by the police to harass homeless people needs to stop and the expense for this enterprise of making homeless people miserable needs to be transferred into an account that will be used in the future to SAVE HOMELESS PEOPLE in the city and county of Sacramento.

A central idea of Housing First, you see, is -- importantly -- to do things differently. It is to give homeless people lives and NOT do other things. And the cost of these "other things" needs to be snagged and banked to fund the future project of aiding homeless people of the future. Keeping them alive, you see, such that THEY can have a life more ordinary.

We need to STOP paying the stupendous cost of portable toilets when the price is $9.00 a flush.

We can pay for fewer guards at the county jails and we can take THAT money to save lives.

And, as a county supervisor and the mayor know -- if they got my missive from a couple weeks ago -- we need to look for other ways to SAVE SAVE SAVE -- including looking to persons using Homeless World services who are doing so to buttress their bank accounts.

Of course, it sounds like a mighty rare thing for homeless people to be engaging in any significant way in the general economy. And yes, it is rare -- mighty rare, probably. But what can happen is that people can acclimate to homelessness, know how to use the services that are "out there" efficiently, and end up taking beds at shelters, for example, that they don't need -- thus denying use of a bed to someone who dearly needs it.

Too, there are "give aways" that happen in Homeless World of things like winter coats. And what can happen is that guys who go after getting just as much stuff as they can end up getting most of the winter coats at the expense of people who really, really need a winter coat. This, this is something that happened to me one winter. I had a very, very miserable few months for the lack of an appropriate coat. I had been second in line to get a coat one November -- and then the looters came -- and I ended up freezing my ass off for two or three months. And no doubt, there was a death of two or five -- or whatever number of folks -- that winter for lack of cover to protect a cold homeless guy from the rain and cold.

More on this issue of "the Homeless Economy" in a future blogpost.  Basically, the point is we need to do the Housing First thing with the throttle all the way out. We don't want to hurt homeless and other poor folk who are barely getting by or in new jobs or who have lots of problems they are attending. But we do need to get maximum use of what money comes in for Housing First and homeless services and examine how things are being done in Homeless World thus to do things better so that those most in need of help GET IT.


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