Posts Tagged ‘Utah’

Apartments not Jails…

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A to Z 2015 Badge

My theme this year is: An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America, which is the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger In My Recliner.

                                                                    Today’s Letter is:

a-z A

 

A-Z 2015 A Header

A couple of years ago my husband went out to a meeting and came home with an eighty-year-old homeless woman named Sophie. This woman spent the next two-and-a-half-years in our home and became part of our family.

He and I tried to help her and quickly realized that most organizations and referral systems that claim to ‘help’ the homeless actually do nothing to help anyone. They send those that need help from one referral agency to another.

hampster wheel photo

When I read about the state of Utah’s program, Apartments not Jail I was very curious. My favorite thing about the program is that it is working. Utah has reduced homelessness by more than seventy-eight-percent and is on track to eliminate homelessness in the state this year.

While Columbia South Carolina was telling its homeless population to move or get arrested; Hawaii’s State Rep was walking around smashing homeless people’s shopping carts with a sledgehammer; Philadelphia, Pa. was banning the feeding of the homeless and Raleigh, N.C. was asking religious groups to stop feeding the homeless the state of Utah under the leadership of then Governor John Huntsman realized that the cost of jailing or hospitalizing the homeless and or mentally ill was more expensive than simply providing them an apartment and a case worker. A caseworker that actually helped them to become self-sufficient, acquire services for mental health or addiction issues if needed or employment assistance. Utah’s model is now being used in several other states and I am going to do my best to make it happen in my state of Pennsylvania.

John Huntsman

John Huntsman

 

“Utah is on track to end homelessness by 2015. And it’s all down to one ingenious premise put forward by ex-state Governer Jon Huntsman eight years ago. Ending homelessness, said the one-time Republican leader candidate, could be achieved by giving those on the street one simple thing: a house.”

I encourage you to write, e-mail or call your state leaders and encourage them to bring this model to your state.

For my friends in other countries, does your country have a homeless problem?

Happy A-to-Z kick-off Day!!

Doreen

 

 

 

 

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