Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Ten Year Plan?

I was curious when I first read of this Phil Mangano guy coming to town just what type of proposals he would float for ending homelessness. Nothing concrete was said in the first Times- Standard article. Apparently nothing concrete was said when he showed up either, according to today's story on his appearance, Friday in Eureka.

He's calling for a "ten year plan" to end homelessness. He says the Veterans Administration reduced homelessness among veterans 25% over the last ten years. Actually, he said the VA worked to reduce homelessness. One could interpret that to mean they just tried.

Did anyone attend this meeting? Did he give any concrete proposals as to how this is going to be accomplished? I'm all ears. Ok, since this is a blog, I'm all eyes.


At 4:29 PM, Blogger Matthew Owen said...

Fred - I was one of many in the full house at the Wharfinger on Friday morning for the full two hours. While Executive Director Philip F. Mangano comes off as a polished public servant with grandiose ideas, I think we can all agree that his ten-year plan to "end homelessness" has some huge holes.

First off, his #1 priority is for housing for the homeless. While I personally think that’s a great idea, lets talk about NIMBY (Not In My BackYard), neighborhood protests and money.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Eureka Multiple Assistance Center (MAC) took ten years to go from conceptual idea to having the first homeless person move in. I understand that it only houses 16 people.

At that rate, with the hundreds of homeless we have in Eureka alone, it will take hundreds of years, not 10 years to end the homeless problem in Eureka.

As “progressive” as Eureka citizens likes to think of themselves, the reality is no one wants a housing center for the homeless to open next door to them.

Eurekans protested, whined and complained for years even when the MAC was proposed to be built next door to the new Target (away from most R-1 residential homes).

Where would the local (city, county and state) politicians, social workers, and citizens agree to house another few hundred homeless people?

And who pays for this?

Mr. Mangano failed to discuss the issues of drug and/or alcohol abuse as a significant factor in the homeless problem. How do we address this issue?

What do we do with the mentally ill who are unable or do not wish to rejoin “society”?

Many of them as what Mr. Mangano refers to as “ricochets” or homeless individuals who bounce from community resources (ambulance, emergency hospital visits, psychiatric treatment, detox facilities, homeless shelters, law enforcement and the legal system) to community resource. Of course with zero ability to pay for any of these services, take a guess who actually pays?

Mr. Mangano touched on the issues of job re-training, but what good is that if there are no jobs in Eureka? It’s not like a homeless person can commute to Fortuna or McKinleyville for work.

I’m not a sociologist, but what is the percentage of high school dropouts on the streets?

If we don’t do something as a society to keep our children in school and off of drugs, then the numbers will only get worse with under-education, inflation, higher unemployment, etc.

Something more needs to be done, not just here in Eureka but around our country.

Let’s hear your thoughts and ideas.

At 6:04 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I'm at a loss as to how to deal with it. I do think it's important, as you have done, to not just use the generic label "homeless" when addressing the problem.

Nancy Abrams, to her credit, did the same thing when she ran for city council last time around. She mentioned that there are different kinds of homeless people: Those who choose to be homeless. Those just temporarily down on their luck and those who are unable to function well enough to earn their own way- the mentally ill.

I'm not sure those three categories of homeless all need to be dealt with in the same way.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the practical short term action to reduce poverty is direct aid. Homelessness is one result of poverty that has a negative community impact.

Why not pay $200 to a local property owner to reduce the burden of an unaffordable rent or mortagage payment as opposed to $2,000 to the welfare department's "special circumstance fund".

In the last ten years political policies have reduced direct aid at all levels (local, state, federal) dramatically.

The two immediate winners in this upside down policy shift locally were the Welfare Office and the Work Investment Board.

The welfare office gets more money than ever before they just get to keep it for themselves. That is why poverty is so much more visible the last few years.

The Workforce Investment Board recieves big federal money and then "invests" it the local economy in a variety of ways, including direct aid to local corporations. In other words, corporate welfare programs.

Most long term homeless are former foster youth, military vets, disabled, sexually abused, battered and non violent ex-cons and last but not least, children.

So from purely a taxpayers perspective direct aid is best, you pay a dollar for fifty cents worth of aid. Right now, with the way things are, you pay a dollar for a dimes worth of direct aid.

Another good thing would be to address unlawful behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, financial mismanagement, poor health practices, etc at the local level.

All of these problems are rampant among local welfare-to-work administrators and eligibility managers.


At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nancy Flemming showed up at the event, literally just long enough to say her name out loud, then left. 10 minutes, tops.

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For starters: There are those homeless people who do not wish to follow rules and would not partake of anything including a roof and clothes and warm bed if it entailed rules of any type.

No drugs? Forgetaboutit
No beating my girlfriend in front of your kids? Ditto. Gotta only touch my own stuff and not everybodys? What???? No passing out drunk, naked, pissing on myself in public? What kind of charity is in that kind of rule?

No wonder Nancy left shes already seen enough of the charity we have bestowed on the homeless with our free housing on the Balloon Trackt.


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