Teaming up to end homelessness

An interesting piece on The New York Times Opinionator about an innovative program to end homelessness (targeted specifically at homeless vets).

A couple of key stats from the article: nationwide, there are 67,000 homeless vets; it costs society approximately $40,000/yr per homeless person (for temporary shelter, er, jail, etc).

Here’s some of what was attempted:

The challenge has largely succeeded. Four cities housed more than 100 homeless veterans in 100 days.  Others came close, and nearly all reported that they had found new ways of working that would speed things up in the future. Some of the changes were improvements to the process:  Atlanta, for example, had previously counted on the chronically homeless to go out and find apartments on their own.  Unsurprisingly, this strategy was not working. So the city hired a third-party provider to help the veterans find a place to live and to act as a fiscal agent for moving costs and security deposits. Veterans Affairs in Atlanta divided caseworkers into teams, which competed to house the most veterans.

But key to the success of the program were the relationships among agencies and homeless service providers:

“Relationships count from the very first touch with a veteran on the street, all the way through the system,” said Patricia Leslie, who is the chairwoman of a broad community group that focuses on ending homelessness in San Diego. “The more we know each other, the better troops we make.”

More on the 100,000 homes campaign here.

I wonder if something like this would work in Madison?

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