Monday, June 4, 2007

Gainseville Tent City - guess who said this?


llenge for cities around our country has been to capture the [sense of] community and the camaraderie that often occurs in a tent city, that self-organizing principle that takes place. We need to ensure that we keep a good grip on ... the effectiveness of organizing that the homeless people themselves have done, but to then transfer that to housing that provides security they need."
It's Phil Mangano, executive director of the federal Interagency Office on Homelessness, and promoter of the Ten Year Plans to end homelessness that some 300 cities are now in various stages of designing and implementing. His statement is right on target with what I saw at Springfield's Sanctuary City. Thanks to the 13th Juror for finding this quote. Phil Mangano, in his trip to Springfield for our plan's kick-off, said we had one of the best plans he'd seen. Of course, I'll bet he says that to all the cities.

I talked to Gerry McCafferty today about the 100 vouchers (starting to take on a mythical nature, like the Hundred Blows or the Hundred Year War) that are supposed to make a serious dent in our homeless population and make the Warming Place shelter unnecessary.. Thirteen apartments will be ready to rent in July and another 30 are supposed to be ready between July and September. So we are way behind.

On the good side, Gerry says the city will now be looking for service providers willing to buy small buildings-- 6 to 8 units-- to provide both housing and services to the homeless folks who occupy them. The best thing about this is not the idea per se (great in theory, devil in the details) but that the city is willing to develop new strategies where older one haven't fit the bill.

Back to tent city-- The Gainseville Sun has done two excellent articles about why homeless people form tent cities, what they get out of it, their impact on the broader community and their future. Redjenny has a post about Edmunton, Alberta's homeless encampments. The photo is from her site.

4 comments:

Jacqueline Dowd said...

I haven't read everything on your blog yet, but I will. We're fightin' the same fight. Keep up the good work!

(And thanks for the link)

jackie
the 13th juror

Gerry McCafferty said...

Although the housing authority's vouchers have taken on a mythical quality, those 100 vouchers are not the full story. The City, the housing authority, and provider agencies are working to make 140 supportive housing units available this year for people experiencing long-term homelessness. Forty of those folks are now in housing, and the housing authority's 43 committed vouchers will bring us to 83.

We seem to be the first city in the country using project-based vouchers to provide affordable supportive housing, so we knew there might be hurdles. We will keep working to get those other 57 units. We're also looking to other models of producing supportive housing.

Anonymous said...

Michaelann...how do I email you?
Wendy Foxmyn

Michaelann Bewsee said...

you can email me at michaelannb@gmail.com