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Author Topic: Human Life is Fragile but EVERY Life is Valuable  (Read 15979 times)

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Re: Human Life is Fragile but EVERY Life is Valuable
« Reply #180 on: November 22, 2021, 01:03:34 pm »

Nov 21 2021 By Kevin O'Connor

Vermont has a plan to end homelessness. So why is there still a problem?


“Homelessness has been a challenge in Vermont for years,” Angus Chaney, one of the report’s authors, said recently. “It’s usually an indicator of some other system — economics, mental health, substance use — that’s broken or overwhelmed.” ... ...

If we can house so many people to keep them from getting or making others sick during a public health crisis, then we should be able to house them for their permanent well-being and dignity,” the Rev. Debbie Ingram, executive director of Vermont Interfaith Action, said at a press conference this month. ... ...

“There has been an unusual fixation on what’s going to make somebody eligible for the state’s general assistance program,” Chaney said. “But unless there is a medium- and a long-term strategy, we’ll be dealing with the same crisis in another year.”

“Homelessness,” the council went on to write, “can be encountered across all age and demographic groups, and, like poverty, can impact veterans, workers in low-wage jobs, persons struggling with substance abuse or mental health crises, victims of domestic violence, and almost any other vulnerable population.” ... ...

... the state’s first problem: Although Vermont social service agencies annually count clients facing homelessness — 2,591 this past winter, up from 1,160 in 2012 — they stress that the federally required one-day survey misses many who are “couch surfing” or unseen on the streets.

Whatever the full number — advocates estimate it to be consistently closer to 3,000 — they know shelters can’t host everyone. That’s why the council has called for more prevention measures, economic and social support and, most importantly, long-term places to live.

“The state should reduce reliance on hotels and motels,” its 2012 plan said, “and move towards affordable permanent housing.”

But only months after the report’s release, the state ended its 2012-13 fiscal year with a $4 million bill for temporary lodging — eight times the $500,000 tab of five years earlier, when it relaxed its rules that once limited aid to those fleeing a fire, natural disaster or domestic violence.

State leaders, seeing temporary lodging applicants rise from 548 households in 2008 to 2,851 in 2013, have tried to curb the figure ever since. They argue motel rooms don’t offer incentive to find shelter with friends or relatives or a path toward permanent housing, but instead divert money from rental subsidies and support services to help with education, employment and health care.

Local social service workers, for their part, counter that without temporary lodging, they often can offer little more than tents and sleeping bags.

It’s a very hard job — we’re balancing limited resources and seemingly unlimited needs,” Dave Yacovone, former head of the state Department for Children and Families, said in 2013 at the start of the ongoing and often diversionary debate. “Wherever you draw a line, there are people who won’t be served.” ... ...

The pandemic has compounded the problem. Many people lack shelter not only because of economic pressures, experts say, but also because some can’t stay with family or friends or were released from prison early because of physical distancing concerns.

“We have some really good programs — financial assistance for security deposits, rental subsidies, case management — to help people move in and get started,” Chaney said. “But the immediate challenge for us right now is the supply of housing. There isn’t anything vacant to rent.” ... ...

What the pandemic has brought to light is the degree to which we have negligently underinvested in our housing system,” the Vermont Interfaith 🕊️ Action coalition of more than 70 spiritual communities wrote in a recent report. “We are now blessed with the opportunity to correct that deficiency. Not only is it the morally right thing to do, but it is also the economically right thing to do.”

Faith leaders argue that allocating money for permanent housing would cost significantly less than continuing the status quo.   

Providing stable housing reduces the downstream costs of poor physical and mental health, substance use disorders, educational support for students whose primary challenge is chaos and trauma, and ultimately, the costs in our criminal justice and corrections systems,” they wrote in their report.

Full article:

“This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” Titus 3:8
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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