Leaders Meet to End Homelessness

Leaders Meet to End Homelessness

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Jed Boal ReportingWhen hurricanes hammered the Gulf Coast last month we all saw how quickly thousands of Americans can lose their homes. But tackling homelessness every day of the year is a challenge. Federal, state and local leaders met today at a Homeless Summit to plan the end of chronic homelessness in every community.

Here's the goal: if public officials, service providers and citizens work together, we can end homelessness in ten years.

On any given day, as many as three thousand Utahns have no home. The chronically homeless represent 20-percent of Utah's homeless population, but use half of the resources available for the homeless. Nationwide, communities are rethinking the way services are provided.

Philip Mangano, Exec. Dir. U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness: "From the President to the homeless person, there's a new sense that we can get some work done on this. We've chosen the most disabled to end chronic homelessness."

President Bush's top man on the problem is Philip Mangano. The Interagency Council on Homelessness bases its solutions on research. Mangano says pessimists always raise their voices when our country tackles social problems. He insists leaders at all levels are committed.

Philip Mangano: "All signed on to the same strategy, the same objective--to end chronic homelessness, not to manage it or maintain the effort."

Mangano says we have funded programs to care for the homeless indefinitely. The new idea is to invest in the end of homelessness. New York City moves the homeless into houses rather than trying to deal with symptoms.

Gordon Walker, Director of Div. of Housing and Community Development: "They have a very high success ratio. If we can do the same thing here, we can end our chronic homelessness."

Another recent lesson? During hurricane response evacuees went to one location for emergency, health, housing and welfare needs.

Philip Mangano: "That's working for evacuees across the country. Let's take that technology and put it to work for people who've been historically homeless."

Services for the homeless add up to a lot of money. Mangano says many potential solutions are less expensive. Salt Lake City and County will release their ten year plan tomorrow.

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