WORDS OF THE WEEK: TOLERATING HOMELESSNESS
Round Table President Philip Mangano (pictured here) opened the NEXT PRACTICES Colloquy with a call to pronoia, the idea that the universe is conspiring for good, and we are all agents of that conspiracy in benefitting people who are homeless. He urged participants to use the colloquy’s opportunity of interaction and engagement with “new ideas, new approaches, new resources” to move their own thinking forward during the 2-day convening. Following are excerpts from his remarks.
“We have in this room the intelligence, the experience to engage in the competition among ideas. You don’t get there by quiet assent. Recent studies tell us that the conflictual approach to ideas offers the opportunity to refine and improve them.
“We’ve seen ideas that were not tested, not diagnosed, imposed in policy that had the iatrogenic impact, counter to what was needed, what should have been intended. For a quarter of a century we misdiagnosed homelessness and in turn offered prescriptions that were inadequate, that were not consumer preferred or informed. That drained resources from potential solutions.
“We’ve seen the result of preserving what’s been done, whether it works or not. Dissipating the resources to sate a status quo, but never to solve the problem. Confusing good intentions with great results. It’s a high all right. High numbers on the street.
“Wherever we are in this country, whether in the small cities of Maine or Skid Row in Los Angeles, our societal tolerance for the long misery and human tragedy of homelessness is too apparent. How long will we tolerate people languishing on our streets? Living in our shelters? Randomly ricocheting among health and law enforcement systems?
“In our modern episode of post-deinstitutionalization, we’ve been tolerating open sores on our streets and in our programs for nearly 4 decades.
“That’s too much tolerance of homelessness.”
- Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance – News & Events – Next Practices (housingfirstsavannah.wordpress.com)
- This is what it takes folks to get Housing First working in a City | New Orleans director of homelessness to step down for job with Make It Right Foundation | NOLA.com (homelessnessinsavannah.wordpress.com)