First we want to share some quotes from the linked article so that we can share what we feel it takes to get it right & get everyone working in Savannah toward Housing First!
“Stacy greatly accelerated the city’s work to end homelessness by providing leadership on moving homeless people into housing,” said Martha Kegel, executive director of Unity of Greater New Orleans, a homeless advocacy group. “She brought to this work a great passion and an ability and willingness to go right out on the front lines to talk to homeless people and listen to their concerns.”
The initiative and the city’s overall goal to end homelessness have been successful because all of the different agencies and nonprofits have “broken down their silos” and started to work together, something that never happened in the past, Koch said.
“They stepped outside of their comfort zone and have been willing to make changes in the way they do business and provide services,” Koch said. “I think having a mayor make homelessness a priority was something essential that’s been missing prior to this administration. I think as long as the mayor continues to make this a priority and these extraordinary people from these extraordinary agencies keep the fire in their bellies we’ll keep moving forward.”
New Orleans is losing a leader of their effort to implement Housing First but she has set them on a path that should remain focused, diligent & on task!
But the reason we’re sharing this is because of the quotes above, not because what it takes is a leader to leave!
This attitude, conviction & determination, changes in people’s level of commitment & most importantly addressing the silos that exist in a community that keep this focus from happening is what we must get to in Savannah!
It also takes a Mayor (like in New Orleans) to commit to new approaches & attitudes towards homelessness, bringing together forward thinking & multi-agency stakeholder funding sources with a commitment to be BOLD, setting targets & managing towards those goals with heavy levels of accountability & collaboration!
That’s exactly what we were prepared to discuss (the silos & sense of urgency in Savannah that’s lacking) in more detail at the Public Hearing last Thursday (10/17/13).
But instead we netted it out & asked the Mayor & Council to consider creating a “homelessness roundtable” or other designated forum for addressing homelessness & give it as much attention as they have other issues, modeling it possibly after the Business Roundtable seems to be proper timing.
We look forward to a soon-to-be-scheduled meeting with the Mayor (& possibly City Manager) on the subject as she indicated would be happening!
Give us your input & let us know if you’d like to be involved along with the other stakeholders we expect to be at the table!
Another point we were planning on making in more detail at the Public Hearing for the 2014 Action Plan is the nature of the Community (Strategic) Plan we were encouraged to make by Alderman Van Johnson many times last year (at last years Public Hearing for the 2103 Action Plan, in the press, at the Exploratory Meeting for the Savannah Area Interfaith Taskforce on Ending Homelessness & that we were encouraged was going to happen when the Steering Committee was named (had our first meting in June only to be sidetracked) but is now “dumbed” down to a CoC (Continuum of Care) Plan.
We just shared another article through Scoop.it on the Housing First Blog & Facebook page that addresses the expectation of the USICH that we commit to Housing First & address the silos, using “best-practices” in the government sector & in communities to bring our homeless population counts down more dramatically & in a focused manner with BOLD goals!
- SF gets a C for progress on homelessness – San Francisco Chronicle (housingfirstsavannah.wordpress.com)
- “Housing First” Approach is Saving Money and Providing Homes for … (housingfirstsavannah.wordpress.com)
- Our view of homelessness in Savannah on World Homelessness Day 2013 (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)
- Two Approaches to Homelessness (housingfirstsavannah.wordpress.com)