The Goal of Ending Homelessness
Isn’t the goal of ending homelessness in a democracy unrealistic?
The goal of ending homelessness in Miami-Dade County is shared by the Homeless Trust and the agencies serving persons who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. The goal of Camillus House is to end chronic homelessness in Miami-Dade County, while recognizing that persons who are chronically homeless are the most difficult to treat/rehabilitate and return to productive roles in our community.
Reducing the prevalence (total number of cases) of chronic homelessness
First, the additional capacity will allow us to treat more persons who are chronically homeless, thereby systematically reducing the prevalence, or total number of cases, of chronic homelessness.
Reducing the incidence (number of new cases) of chronic homelessness
Second, as the number of existing cases is systematically reduced, our additional treatment capacity will also allow us, over time, to reduce the incidence, or number of new cases, of chronic homelessness once we admit and treat persons who, although they meet the disability criterion, have not been homeless for a year or longer or had four episodes of homelessness in the past three years (i.e., have not yet met the duration condition).
Advancing in this way, we will achieve our goal of ending chronic homelessness when persons with the disabling condition are no longer homeless.
Addressing the larger question of ending homelessness (including chronic homelessness), requires a dual set of strategies:
Closing the front door
…which entails efforts to prevent people from becoming home-less in the first place. This usually involves addressing systemic issues, such as increasing emergency rental assistance programs, and working with institutions such as correctional facilities and hospitals to improve their discharge planning so that persons being released have a place to live and are not released to the street. Currently, Camillus House staff are actively involved in efforts to prevent homelessness in Miami, and are planning to expand our homelessness prevention activities beyond providing rental assistance to forestall eviction of housed persons to offering other forms of financial support to help individuals facing unemployment to keeping a job or get another job.
Opening the back door
…which entails getting people back into housing as soon as possible. The primary strategy here is to increase the stock of affordable housing, so that persons who have been homeless have somewhere to go when their situations are stabilized.
We recognize that the cure for homelessness is housing, and, over the next three years alone, Camillus House plans to open more than 200 new permanent housing apartments for formerly homeless persons at our new site, as well as on land we own across from our Somerville Residence, through community-based apartments and through home-ownership. We are currently developing strategies to make available an additional 300 scattered-site and Camillus-operated units throughout Miami-Dade County by 2013 to meet our Strategic Plan goal of housing 1,340 persons at a time.
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