Monday, August 24, 2009
Solutions: ‘The Soloist’ and Housing First
Please take a moment to read these critically important quotes regarding the Housing First concept as a solution to long-term homelessness, from Casey Horan, Executive Director — LAMP (Los Angeles Men’s Project), in an interview from the movie, The Soloist:
“LAMP is a non profit, and we’re based in Los Angeles, and we exclusively serve men and women who are long-term homeless — often they’ve been living on the streets for three, five, ten, even twenty years — and also have a severe mental illness.
What we do is we quite literally just move people immediately from streets to real homes — an apartment of their own — and we do that with no strings or no barriers or no intermediary steps. And then what follows is what keeps people housed and healthy. So we then provide them with customized services right there where they live and in the community. And that might mean helping them set up the apartment and get a phone connected and reconnect with family; mental and physical healthcare; drug recovery services; job placement services; and on and on.”
“It costs just $16,000 a person a year to provide an apartment and social and clinical services. It costs much more — about $100,000 a year — if we leave people on the streets as they cycle through the public health system and jail. And, unfortunately, as they cycle through, they always land back on the sidewalk, and there’s been no resolution to their long-term homelessness and no improvement to their health.
We can end street-dwelling homelessness in about two years with the right investment, and, in the short run, it will actually save taxpayer money.”
“When we hand over that set of keys [to an apartment], you know, I wish that others could see… what happens. It’s close to a miracle…. people that haven’t had housing in their entire adult life… and they are off the streets, and they have a bathroom and a telephone and a studio apartment, and it really is the first step for them to transforming their lives.”
~~ Casey Horan, Executive Director — LAMP (Los Angeles Men’s Project)
From the DVD of The Soloist: Special Features, “One Size Does Not Fit All: Addressing Homelessness in Los Angeles”