Today’s article in the Savannah Morning News comes after the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless (known as the CSAH & Homeless Authority) Board Meeting held yesterday, Tuesday, 2/19/2013.
We were in attendance & are pleased to see this meeting reported however we’re taking a broader view of the meeting with some issues that still remain to be considered.
We start by referencing a quote published at the very end of the article! We hope you read that far or you go back & read the entire article if you didn’t before. (Link below)!
While we see progress being made with the appointment of new Board members who are active & challenging the process that’s going on there, we feel that there are fundamental issues that must be addressed. We’ve written about them before.
These issues we’ve written about have not just gone away with a balanced budget (we still don’t get to see how the money from the City will be used though & that’s an issues for us).
How this newfound balanced budget operates is critical. What items they take on that are new & outcome focused are extremely critical.
We get to comment usually at the end of the Board meeting, time permitting, but the engagement stops there for the most part.
This issue that the Assessment Report highlights of accountability to the community MUST be addressed at a much higher level than blog posts!
Here’s the quote & we’ll go on from here with the points & issues it doesn’t address!
“Union Mission is a very important ally of the homeless authority,” Lee said. “All of us have seen people under the bridge and we want that to stop.”
Here are a couple of major points to consider:
- How will they address people living under the bridge(s)?
- Where’s the plan & is it a suitable plan?
- How will Union Mission be involved in that plan for ending chronic homelessness?
We’ve laid out our plan & vision & are just waiting for engagement with the community to bring it to reality! Our plan & vision is not theirs, we’ll talk more about that later!
While they may be singing a tune about Union Mission being a “very important ally of the homeless authority” we know for a fact that both of these entities, charged with a unified CoC (Continuum of Care, a structure required by HUD to funnel dollars to our City), with a strategic plan (10 year plan to end homelessness) needing to be viewed as a set of marching orders, monitored for meeting targets & subject to change in almost real-time are seriously out of sync with the rest of the country on addressing chronic homelessness.
Housing First is NOT in their plans, stated publicly at a City Council Public Hearing (watch the video, don’t read the minutes from the 11/1/2012 City Council Meeting!) by both the Interim Executive Director & Dr. Carter from Union Mission.
While a new “Strategic Plan” has been promised (in the 2014 timeframe as that’s when it’s supposed to be filed with the Feds from a HUD mandate), we can’t wait for that.
Neither can we wait for the Homeless Authority & their CoC “chronies” to build one “for” the community! We MUST build one WITH the entire community at the table [participating & committing resources to end homelessness, not in the next ten years (we've already had 10 years under the current plan to do that haven't we?) but in five years maybe like Los Angeles has done]!
And a few other points (with less detail, as we’ve written about them elsewhere, links to some of these posts that deal with these issues are linked to below):
- The Assessment Report (articles written about it in detail on the Savannah Morning News website & commented on there by us) MUST be taken seriously!
- The recommendations made in the Assessment Report should be dealt with in whole & each one taken seriously as to how to implement it, but with the community deciding, not behind closed doors but out in the open!
- We recommend a Uber-Taskforce that looks at the recommendations as a whole & makes its own “report” with recommendations about how to go about implementing the recommendations or a negotiated subset!
- Housing First MUST be taken seriously by this community in the broadest sense possible
- The Interfaith Taskforce should be engaged with as it develops for those items in the Assessment Report (& the new Ten Year Plan) that the Homeless Authority in its resulting structure cannot implement
- We were encouraged by Mayor Pro-tem Van Johnson at our Exploratory Meeting to develop a single plan, community wide, taking into consideration everything we’re doing about homelessness in this community
- The Mayor should decide on a path that the City Council can support & be broad in her outreach to other communities & their Mayors who have taken various approaches (all should be considered) to deal with homelessness at the community level!
- And almost one last issue, Point in Time Counts (PIT) are NOT equitable to develop a total plan to end homelessness in a community, there are many under-served populations not counted by the traditional PIT approach. This is a recognized issue & problem by forward thinking advocates & those not invested in current organizations that provide homeless services – much more could be written about that topic!
- Toxic Charities considerations must be addressed in our community – more about that later but we’ve covered that somewhat here on the blog already!
- We must do a much more effective job of street level outreach, more can be written about that too!
So the links below share a broader perspective on the issues of helping the homeless out of their circumstance! Remember, the Captain of the Downtown Precinct, Captain Mike Wilkins, has stated many times, “It’s about behavior, not circumstance”!
Looking forward to engaging the Downtown Neighborhood Association tomorrow evening (Thursday, 2/21/2013, at 5:30pm at the Visitors Center on MLK & Liberty/ Louisville Road).
We’ll be fresh off of our presentation at Groves High School with a group of students who are learning a new way to do some critical thinking about issues in their community! And this class has chosen homelessness! That’s awesome & we look forward to that initiative expanding (the critical thinking thing in particular as it’s a master skill our youth MUST develop if they are to solve problems in this City & the world they will take over one day!
Stay tuned, we’ll write about the Groves experience, how we’re engaging the youth in a church group to do some amazing things with our homeless and other ways the faith community is expanding its role in getting out of the four-walled church to bring church out to His people! Won’t steal their thunder but we’ll be talking with the City this afternoon about the issue they’re willing to take on!
- No we need innovation, radical change, not a bandaid: Homeless authority: Mend it, don’t end it | savannahnow.com (housingfirstsavannah.wordpress.com)
- What We Do! (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)
- Are our homeless charities in Savannah toxic? | ‘Toxic Charity’ author helps Guiding Light Mission hold homeless clients accountable | MLive.com (housingfirstsavannah.wordpress.com)
- Our answer to the falacious point in time counts (for Savannah & beyond) | Homeless head counts help no one – SFGate (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)
- How do we help our homeless find meaning for their lives & escape hopelessness? | There’s More to Life Than Being Happy – Atlantic Mobile (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)
- Are you seeing Those People in our Parks & Squares? | Seth’s Blog: Those people (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)
- Are we truly a mecca for the homeless here in Savannah? Or, is this part of somebody’s Master Plan? (housingfirstsavannah.wordpress.com)
- Presenting Homelessness to Chatham Youth Commission (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)
- What Our Community Should Demand to Know about the Homeless Authority (CSAH) [being in disarray] & Homelessness in Savannah (housingfirstsavannah.wordpress.com)
- We support getting to know our homeless by name! | National Alliance to End Homelessness: Making Your PIT Count More Useful to Local Providers (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)