Thursday, April 22, 2010

Motels for homeless families: state trying to do better

I've said before that the only thing worse than housing a homeless family in a motel is leaving them on the street. Decently-run family shelters provide support in many ways. What homeless families learn from each other, however, can be very important. Every situation is different but the road each family travels to homelessness has recognizable forks in the road. Homeless families (like the rest of us) often either place the blame for their situation entirely on themselves and what they see as their mistakes, or take no responsibility at all for their situation. Understanding the combination of poverty, low self-esteem, lack of opportunity and the thin margin for error that combine to make a family homeless is not an experience you can have isolated in a motel.

Nancy Gonter of the Republican reported Monday on the state's efforts to reduce the numbers of families in motels, and there is some progress being made--a decline of about 20% since November, 2009's peak of 1078.  Read her story to get a picture of state strategy.  But a bad economy and continued budget cuts keep these strategies at risk.

Yesterday an old Arise member stopped into the office to check in and share news.  She was dressed to kill--looking for work, out of unemployment benefits and getting a little desperate though still picking up some part-time work through Stavros.  She's taken in two women who are basically homeless, one who's looking for a job and the other who has no income but, from what I heard, may be eligible for disability benefits.  All three of these women are over fifty years old.  And whether the three of them can manage to hang on to their apartment is an open question.

San Antonio, Texas is trying a new strategy-- a 37 acre campus for homeless families and single people which they think can become a model for the rest of the country.  Here's a link to a story about the campus and some CNN coverage.

Photo from Omsel's photostream at Flickr.

1 comment:

Eci si Cami said...

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