A Transformational Opportunity for Miami...
As the 6th poorest major city in the United States, Miami shares many of the same social ills that its neighbors to the north have been grappling with for decades.
Lack of education among minority groups, limited health insurance coverage and access to health care for hundreds of thousands of individuals, a growing level of poverty among the working poor, and declining opportunities for affordable housing are just a few of the many issues that our community must address.
For those who are trapped in the cycle of homelessness, the prospect for escape is even more daunting. This is especially true of those individuals who are considered to be chronically homeless.
Here in Miami, Camillus House estimates that there are between 600 and 1,000 individuals who are chronically homeless. While this number represents just under 25% of the total homeless population, it has been widely documented that, unlike the persons who are economically or episodically homeless, individuals who are chronically homeless require a much greater level of intervention and care to successfully overcome their homeless condition. When left untreated, this population exhausts scarce community resources with need for emergency healthcare, law enforcement and judicial involvement, and public/private support organizations.
To solve the problem of chronic homelessness in Miami requires an investment in people, programs and services.
The keystone project of this endeavor is the completion of a 340-bed multi-purpose campus that will permit Camillus House to:
• Provide a safe, dignified environment where highly trained clinicians will engage individual guests, building the trust needed for further intervention.
• Provide the diagnostic, medical, and behavioral health treatment needed to address the homeless condition.
• Equip guests-turned-clients with the educational and practical hands-on training necessary to secure and keep living wage employment.
• Provide viable transitional and permanent housing solutions.
The end result of the project will be the elimination of chronic homelessness in Miami, through two interrelated strategies:
1) Increased treatment capacity will permit the successful behavioral health treatment and rehabilitation of approximately 120 persons per year, thereby systematically reducing the current number of chronically homeless persons in our community.
2) The availability of additional treatment capacity will, in later years, permit Camillus to intervene at an earlier stage in the “life on the street” of persons who meet the disability criteria listed above and have begun to live on the streets.