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.